And now for something completely different… some snippets from our recent visit to the city of Singapore, a modern but very ancient part of south east Asia. For many Australians, it is a stopover, breaking the long journey to Europe, as it was for us – a brief but memorable visit. However, with its layered past – so much older than much of continental European civilisation, its diverse cultural mix, and artistic and architectural delights, it merits a visit in its own right.
During the war years, my grandfather was interned in Changi prison so a visit to the prison’s museum was a must: a terribly sad place filled with memories of hardship, survival and comradery – a tribute to the human spirit against all odds. I wouldn’t have lasted a week…the heat alone would have done me in. But my granddad was one of the ‘lucky’ ones: he came home, but lost a leg to a tropical ulcer and endured Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for the rest of his life. I wondered what he would have made of today’s Singapore.
Back to the present day… here are some of the sights, among many, worth seeing. Singapore has many different cultural areas. We chose to stay in the Arab area near Hadji Lane with its grand Mosque, old shopping precincts, eateries and markets.
Nearby was the neo Gothic building – Parkview Towers, recently built, home to a number of consulates. A surprising array of Dali sculptures lined its courtyard – an unexpected delight to be sure, but Singapore is like that. Next time, I plan to dine out at the Parkview Café, superbly decorated in art deco style. Way to go!
With a night to spare, we headed down to the river, crossed over the delightfully quirky Helix Bridge and found our way to the Gardens by the Bay. If you like shiny things, this is the place for you!
The forest of man-made trees is lit up at night. Watching the colours change on the Super Tree structures to the booming Star Wars soundtrack added drama and texture to the futuristic nature of the park, with its great Skywalk and massive greenhouses. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see C3PO or R2D2 slide by….
Refreshed and ready for the long flight ahead, we left Singapore with fond memories of the distinctively different sights, heartened by the warmest of welcomes from the local people.
There is so much more to see. I can’t wait to go back.