I’ve Never Quite Seen This Part of Singapore Before

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Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both “at one with” and “separate from” the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive. ― Roman Payne, Europa: Limited Time Edition

To wander is to be alive…

Long story short, I had to visit the German embassy to certify the authenticity of some of my copied documents. That meant that I had to visit the Civic District, more specifically the Raffles Place area. That also meant that I had the luxury of going on an adventure around one of Singapore’s most iconic areas. I mean, why not right? 😉

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This is the gorgeous Cavenagh Bridge.

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A common misconception about Singapore is that it lacks arts and history, but in reality, there are many beautiful bronze sculptures on this island. I quote: “Some are pure artistic creations, a couple of them are rich in their historical values, while others tell stories of the early days of Singapore.”

This particular one featured above is called “First Generation” — a brilliant piece of work by Chong Fah Cheong (born 1946). This sculpture depicts scenes of early days of Singapore. Singapore River was once the lifeline of our country in the past, when the first migrant communities settled around here. It was not an uncommon sight to see naked boys swinging from trees beside the river and jumping into the water with gutso.

The boys learned how to avoid the muddy depths and the dangers of bumboats crossing the river, and had no fear of the polluted waters that were sometimes filled with garbage. When the Clean Rivers project was launched in 1983, families, hawkers and bumboats were removed from this area, and the innocent laughter of the swimming boys were heard no more.

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This one is called “Singapura Cats”.

The Singapura Cat is actually not a local breed but a controversial case of mix-up in the identification of the cat during the seventies. Americans Tommy and Hal Meadows had worked in Singapore in 1975, bringing in their cats before exporting to USA. Back home, they presented the cats as a new natural breed. However, Singapura Cats resemble nothing like the local stray cats found here.

Also known as the Singapore River Cat, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) decided to use the cat as a national mascot in 1990, calling it Kucinta, which was derived from the Malay words of kucing (cat) and cita (love). The name was proposed by Madam Ang Lian Tin, the winner of the naming competition held by STB.

As many as 15 sculptures of Singapura Cats were placed along Singapore River, but sadly many were vandalised by the public; one piece was even stolen. Three of them still stand at the corner of Cavenagh Bridge.

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I spotted this while I walked across the Cavenagh Bridge. I read it as “Live lah!” even though it could have possibly been someone called Livla vandalising her name onto the bridge’s structure.

I ‘replied’ in a soft whisper, “Okay lah!”  😛

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About a 2-minute walk away is where the grand Victoria Concert Hall stands. A beauty, isn’t she? I particularly enjoyed the concert hall’s symmetry.

Probably the most famous sculpture in Singapore, the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles (left) was installed by the 14th governor of the Straits Settlements Frederick Weld (1823-1891) in 1887 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign. Initially located at the middle of Padang, it cost $20,446.10, an astronomical price during that era.

In 1919, during the 100th-year celebration of Modern Singapore, the statue was moved to its present-day location of the Victoria Concert Hall. There was also another statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, made of stone and white in colour, along the Singapore River!

While at the premises of the beautiful concert hall, I also spotted freakishly huge (taller than me!!) Javan Mynas (top right). They’re a trio of sculptures of the titular bird outside the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. They’re very well-known in Singapore. They’re virtually everywhere!

Oh and a few construction workers in the vicinity giggled upon seeing me take the selfie above (right middle). I reacted the only way I knew best: I giggled at them giggling at me. We ended up in fits of laughter hahaha. 🙂

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Architecture is a visual art and the buildings speak for themselves. – Julia Morgan

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This is part of the Living World Exhibition, which allows for the public to be brought closer to artworks and in being able to do so, hopefully develop their appreciation for art.

Sometimes, no matter how one looks at it, one just won’t understand what art is about. That was one of those times. In case it isn’t very clear, this was a metal sculpture of two carriers sparring with each other in very… awkward fashion, like in physical combat mode. Or at least that was what I could make out of it!

It is a pity to read that the public doesn’t seem to be respecting the artworks as much as they should.

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This is the Dalhousie Obelisk (Chinese: 达豪施纪念碑). It is a memorial obelisk not too far away from the Victoria Concert Hall and my oh my was it a cool structure which quite literally stood out from the otherwise landscape.

The Dalhousie Obelisk was built to commemorate the second visit to Singapore, in February 1850, of the Marquis of Dalhousie, who was the Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856.

The Dalhousie Obelisk is an important architectural element in Empress Place but somewhat neglected and obscured by trees. It was designed by John Turnbull Thomson when he was a Government Surveyor. He was obviously inspired by “Cleopatra’s Needle” on the Thames Embankment in London. 😉

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I turned around to find myself faced with what looked like the pulled apart version of the Talus Dome in Edmonton, AB, Canada, aka.the most expensive, the most exposed and the best public sculpture in the history of Edmonton. Not that I’ve ever been there/ seen it in real life, but I’ve read about it once. 🙂

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I decided to take a selfie with because that’s what I saw everyone else around me was doing. It was a cheeky moment! 🙂

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I thoroughly enjoyed that afternoon spent solo-adventuring.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. — Michael Althsuler

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Everything was beautiful. Trees’ barks included.

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The yellow yellow sun and the blue blue sky provided simply the most perfect setting to this very impromptu trip around the Civic District.

Singapore, You’re beautiful.



4 thoughts on “I’ve Never Quite Seen This Part of Singapore Before

  1. Pingback: Drops Of Youth With Miriam – Stefanie Natascha

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