Tuesday, June 15, 1999
from the Peninsula: 3. About Museums

Today we went to Sentosa Island, and again we walked everywhere. It was very nice, although it's also a very expensive place. Though expensive we decided to ride the cable car from Mount Faber. We wanted to try it. It's nice.

In Sentosa Island, I visited two amazing places: Images of Singapore and Fort Siloso, while my friends walked around other places Ė they didnít like museums and didnít want to spend money going into them.

Images of Singapore is like a museum where they have life-sized wax statues depicting the events in the history of Singapore and the many cultures in Singapore. There are three sections: Pioneers of Singapore, Chamber of Surrender and Festivals of Singapore. In the first gallery they show the history of old port town Singapore, how Singapore emerged as a modern city from a drab old port.

The second section shows the history of Singapore throughout the WW II. Very good. Complete with wax statues, audio visual shows and pictures. So it's a fast way to learn the history of Singapore. Of course this is the official version history. I wonder if there are other versions of the history. Must be. But whatever it is, it is way better than our historical museums in Jakarta. This one feels less of a propaganda than our history museums.

I like the next gallery which is the cultural section. It shows the different cultural backbones of Singapore society - the Chinese, the Malay, the Indians. They seem to live harmoniously side by side, unlike us. Or is it only at the museum that they do that? But outside on the street it seems that different kinds of cultural groups mix easily here. Unlike back home. Sad.

Fort Siloso is amazing. It is an old fort from the British era, a former port of defense, originally built to cover Singapore defense in the South from naval attacks. When the military handed over the fort it was turned into a kind of museum. It is a very big complex. It took me more than one hour to do the complete tour. And my feet were so sore after that.

I went there alone (because my friends don't like museums) and I explore the barracks, the tunnels, and all those look out posts. We can explore all parts of the fort, including the long winding tunnels and the rooms in its side. They have carronades and 6, 7 and 8 inch guns.

Inside we can find life-size wax statue depicting many activities used to be found in the fort. So we can go for example into a barrack and found there wax soldier reclining in bed and another cleaning his gun. As usual, the audio visual is amazing. We can hear an officer's voice giving orders. It was very quiet when I was there. Then I walked to a hill where they have a big gun and suddenly I was surprised by a voice who told me: "Attention!" And the voice went on and on letting out orders for us (me and imaginary soldiers) to prepare to attack with the gun. Suddenly the voice said: "Fire!" and "Boom!" a voice came out and the gun let out smoke. Great.

There's a place to do (mock) military training too. I bet children would love it here. It's a good way for them to learn too. History, of course, not military things. I don't like wars.

The most interesting part is the tunnel. Very long, with different side rooms that have shows. One dark room in the tunnel were suddenly lit by a lamp lit as soon as I walked in, then a voice barked some order and we could imagine a buzz of activity, preparing an attack. The dioramas here are way better than the dioramas in our museums back in Jakarta. More interesting.

There are other places here in Sentosa Island that I want to visit, but I have not enough money to see them all. Maybe next time if I have another chance to visit this place. And it would be nice too to have people to walk with who share the same interests as me. So I dont have to walk alone like this :(

The day after tomorrow we'll hop on a bus heading for Malaka and I'll get lots more of interesting things to see. But I still haven't gone into the museums here in Singapore (Asian Civilisation Museum, Singapore History Museum, and Singapore Art Museum), which is too bad. But, I can do that later in the two days after my friends all gone home after our Malaysia and Thailand visit. I also plan to visit Changi Prison and The Battle Box, a former Malaya Command Headquarter during WW II.

I finished two rolls of films already. So many pictures to take.

Tonight we got home late. We had to take a taxi from the ferry terminal but then we skipped dinner. I'm hungry. But I promised myself I will eat in Bangkok. They will have nice cheap food there.

Singapore, Tuesday 15 June 1999


Posted at 10:01 pm by koeniel

 

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