No disasters so far today (but it’s still before midnight)

Well, I went off downtown and decided to ride the East-West Line to Boon Lay, as I’d never been to that end of the line. Very boring at the end, really. Nothing special. But now I can say that I’ve ridden the entire system except for the two stations toward Changi Airport. I doubled back to meet HWMBO and T.H. for lunch and a trip through the National Museum of Singapore. Lunch was at a cafe at City Hall that’s best forgotten. The service was slower than molasses running up a hill in January during a cold snap. I had linguini with bratwurst sliced on it. It was spicy and I enjoyed it. Had an apple tart for dessert and Macadamia Nut coffee. Figured I’d need the calories for the walking in the afternoon.

The National Museum is interesting. They have an exhibition by Bjork’s husband going on now. It’s movies, and one adapts the story of Hiram Abiff, the legendary Master Mason who supervised the construction of Solomon’s Temple. Hiram Abiff is beloved among all Freemasons as the first Master of the Craft, so I’m sad that I won’t be able to see it, as all the tix were sold out.

What we went through was an exhibition of Singapore history from the 14th Century to the present day. There’s certainly a lot of history about…it’s just lying on the ground, waiting for people to pick it up. You get a “companion” which is a rather large screen guide that has interactive video as well as audio in it. It also has (probably) a Bluetooth receiver so that when you get close to a video screen in an exhibit you hear what’s being said on the video. Very ingenious, and seamless.

There was a lot about the Japanese occupation, still fresh in many minds. Not a lot about Japan’s surrender to the Allies after the war. Quite a bit about the Changi concentration camp. Lots of household goods exhibits and the like. It gave you a flavour of what Singapore was like before it became so Westernised in recent years.

There was also a lot about Lee Kwan Yew, the father of modern Singapore, who is still alive and active more than 50 years after he first ran for the Legislative Assembly in the early 1950’s (he’s in Russia this very week, talking about trade and promising to come back yearly to review the state of trade between Singapore and Russia: he’s 84 years old or thereabouts and still looking toward the future). His current title is “Minister Mentor”; former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is “Senior Minister” and the current Prime Minister is Lee Hsien Loong, LKY’s son. There was a fair bit of information about Singapore’s joining Malaysia, but not as much about Singapore’s leaving Malaysia a few years later. Very very interesting. I recommend it, but save an entire day for it and go through slowly. We went through rather quickly, and I lost some of it in the rush.

I then went to Tampines (pronounced TAM-pin-ees, not tam-PEE-ness) in the East to meet LC, who is a member of Signel and who wanted to meet me and have dinner. We ate in a food court; I had the Chinese version of what I ate for lunch: spicy noodles with meatballs and chicken broth, with a Diet Coke. Very nice, and the company was good as well. Back home at 9:30, after having to stand on the North-South train from City Hall to Bishan. You’d think it’s rush hour at 8:30 pm. And no one has any respect. They jostle, push, and prod you to get into the train, but resolutely stand in the door when it’s time for you to get out. Back home to look at email ( is still going and really great too. You really have to look into this program if you ever travel away from home for more than a day or two.) and then, after concluding this entry, to bed.

3 Responses to “No disasters so far today (but it’s still before midnight)”

  1. porcinea says:

    Hey, are you reading Mr. Wang Says So? I’m so enjoying his blog. (Your mention of Lee Kwan Yew reminded me.) He’s a Singapore blogger.

    (There’s also an LJ feed, which is where I read him.)

  2. chrishansenhome says:

    Yeah, I’ve been reading him since he was Mr. Wang Bakes Good Karma, and I think I was the one who set up the LJ feed. He’s quite good, very articulate.

    Have you read Yawning Bread? . I know Alex personally and he’s one of the best bloggers in Singapore.

  3. porcinea says:

    Thank you! for the feed. I am so enjoying Mr. Wang.

    And also for the link to Yawning Bread. Is new to me, and v. interesting.