Posted by: rarasrumanti | September 25, 2007


Visit Chinese Garden, watch a politically satirical play, and shop at Little India are a few examples of the many ways one can spend their weekend amidst the so-called kiasu and fast-paced Singapore.

Saturday night came and I was still unsure if there’s anything out there worth spending time and energy on. After much googling, S and I finally decided to go see the lantern festival at Chinese Garden.

The Chinese Garden in Singapore was built in 1975 by Taiwanese Yuen-chen Yu. It tries to capture the intricate details culturally specific of China. That night, visitors were presented by lanterns with an underwater world theme which created a rather awkwardly stark contrast with the supposedly ancient feel of the garden. S noted that there was nothing exceptionally special with the lanterns. “They’re nothing but paper with light inside. What’s the big deal?” Not having the luxury to go out that much, I actually thought, despite the cheap attempt at modern theme/traditional method (?) lighting effect, the whole atmosphere of the place was quite serene and lovely. One thing that caught my eye was a statue of the Chinese thinker, Confucius, with a caption of his idealism on public society placed not far from the entrance. Although it did seem slightly odd to see such a towering figure placed among the assemblies of penguins, oceanic fish, polar bears and the likes. I wonder if the place would’ve been more enjoyable without all those lights.

The next day, due to a class I’m taking, I went to catch a play titled “The Campaign to Confer the Public Service Star on JBJ“. As an amateur play-spectator, I was sceptical about what the play had to offer and worried that I might just fall asleep inside the theatre. It actually turned out to be better than expected. This play of two cast members was written by Singaporean Eleanor Wong. It used a lot of puns and draws on Singaporean political references some of which were unfortunately lost on me at the time. (Excuse me for not being particularly interested in the political history of Singapore). Double entendres reverberated on various different levels of the play. The fast dialogues between different characters were witty, smart and entertaining although many of the jokes required basic understanding of the political arena of Singapore. All in all, I and many other audience members were not disappointed.

For dinner, S and I went to Little India. A tourist attraction that once served as a segregated ethnic settlement of Indian immigrants. It was jam packed with people, well… men really. There was virtually no women on the streets. We had North Indian food which was divine and went to browse at the 24/7 (yes, 24/7!!) shopping centre, Mustafa. Much like its more famous and swank counterpart, Harrods, shoppers can get basically anything there. It’s truly a one-stop shop. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the neighborhood that night, as we elbowed our way along its sidewalk.

I must admit, this weekend made me feel somewhat worldly. hehe.

chinese garden


the play


 little india




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