Friday, April 9, 2010

Museums, Museums Everywhere!!!!

Hey all,

As you may know we are trying to see everything we can while we are living here in Southeast Asia. We've gone to Indonesia, Malaysia, and will be heading to Thailand to dive next week. We have a trip planned up to China and are hoping to squeeze in Japan and India as well.

And we have seen tons of things around here in Singapore, too.

We've seen temples, shrines, shopping meccas, little islands (more on that later), animal parks and zoos, and as you'll see today...museums.

Singapore has a lot of them. I showed you first the Civil Defense Museum which awesomely highlighted the brave men who have kept this country safe for decades. But that was only one of many. Today I'll give you an overview of several other museums in this country. And honestly, I've only seen about half that are around!!!!

What I'll do is put in pictures of each place I visited, then I'll give you a bit about it. I think that will be easier and more comprehensive. We'll start with the Teochew Museum. A small but very interesting museum that showcases a certain kind of Chinese and their contributions to Singaporean society. To learn more about this people, go to Wikipedia. They explain it far better than I ever could.

The museum was right around the corner from where Jonathon's apartment was, so it was easy and quick to walk to...less than five minutes. It's style is obviously Asian and inside it is well cared for and beautifully kept.

As I said, the museum was small, but it gave me a quick look at what this branch of the Chinese people did in Singapore. I was impressed by all the ways they built up the city.

They also had a wonderful photography exhibit upstairs. I didn't take pics inside--that seemed rude--but the photographs were wonderful. Beauty and color and imagination. There was one that confused me. Bikes up on a pole with a flag on top. Still trying to figure THAT one out! LOL

This next museum is one we just visited this week. The Singapore Science Center which is very like a science museum. It has all kinds of displays and interactive tables that are quite interesting for all ages. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy being here...but acting like one helps!

The Science Center is quite large and easily takes all day to go through. The WEBSITE says if you were to spend five minutes on each project it would take you a full seven days to complete the whole place! Add to that special exhibitions, gardens, outside activities and an IMAX theatre and you have a full day's fun!!!

This first display creates this really cool optical illusion with mirrors. It was so much fun we kicked the kids out and Jonathon gave it a try!

This was sooo cool. I want one for my desk. A chute spits out tiny bits of dry ice and when it hits liquid it simulates comets and how they fly. It was mesmerizing to watch and if I could figure out how to make one for when I write, I would gaze into it and dream all those great space dreams.

Okay...remember when I said these people enjoy talking about their bodily functions? Well in this exhibit about how CO2 works in our atmosphere and what it does, you push a button and this guy sits down and poops. I kid you not. Earlier, this poor piggy died so we could see that rotting flesh makes the same gas, but this...this made us giggle.

They had a special Pixar exhibition. It was interesting to see how they make all their storyboards come to life. A little spendy. We can see the same thing at DisneyWorld for free, but still, it was cool to see how they got from point A to point Z.

This last museum was my favorite. The Asian Cultural Museum. It showcases all the different cultures that make up Southeast Asia. Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and many, many more. It split them all up into different areas and showed the history, art, literature and what made each culture special in regards to their place here in Singapore and surrounding areas. It was fantastic and since we went on a Friday night, it was only half price. A bargain.

Sorry, this pic is so blurry. I took it at night so it was difficult for the camera to pick up what I was aiming at. But the building sits on the Singapore River and it is a pretty walk down to the marina where the Merlion sits.

They had so many statues, but this one was made of gold leaf and quite unique. I believe it is a statue of Bhudda showing his many attributes (arms). The explanation's picture was too blurry to see well. Sorry.

One of the things you see over and over here is the art. Literature, art, drama and music play a big part in all the cultures. This display was of the many different instruments used in special ceremonies. I'd love to hear one some time.

And this was fascinating. It is an art form called marbling. We watched a video on how to do it. You drop this special paint onto water and then draw through it to make your pictures. Once it's done you carefully lay a piece of paper on top and the art is transferred from the water to the paper. Amazing!

Jonathon and Jasiah love their weapons. As you know, Jasiah is my technical adviser whenever I have weapons and battles in my books. So, in return, when I see a cool weapon I take pics for him. These are a Malaysian knife called a kris, famous for their distinctive wavy blade. These were absolutely beautiful.

Well, I could go on and one, but that's enough for one blog. I hope you enjoyed a peek into the culture and history this area has to offer. I feel as though I've just tipped my toe into the water of all that I could learn. I know my imagination is sparked so that I think quite a few books will have the flavor of Southeast Asia!

I'll be back on Monday with the first of a two-part series on what I did on my writer's retreat. We will be heading to Thailand from Monday through Friday on a dive trip, so if you don't hear from me, you'll know why!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Stephanie said...

With all you've seen and absorbed being there, I don't doubt many of your books will have some sort of Asian influence in them CJ. I can't wait to see what you come up with! :)

Phylis said...

Cool museums! The art in the water sounds like fun! Have fun! (I know you are) *GRIN*

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ,
You two surely know how to make the most out of a 'working' vacation. Incredible.
You mentioned a toy museum at one point but said it was pricey. I'm partly a 'nostalgic' packrat. eBay feeds my addiction, lol. I've 'reclaimed' a Patty PlayPal and a Tammy doll among other toy items. I was wondering if you are considering splurging on the toy museum, hint, hint? [And yes, with all you've shared, I am being presumptuous and greedy! Hey, perfection is boring, hee-hee.]

Sara J. ~ : - ]