Familiarly Foreign in Singapore

Walking down the streets of Singapore feels familiar and foreign at the same time. You see, I spent 4 years of my teenage life in Singapore, those were some of the worst and most important years of my life. To me, Singapore is not a just a place, but a stage in my life. It was difficult, but ultimately a necessary stage for me to get to who I am today. So Singapore and I have a love-hate relationship. On my visit, I realized that I never really explored much of the island throughout the 4 years that I lived there, and I also noticed a few new things. For a very small island, there is much to do in Singapore.

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The National Gallery of Singapore is a place where the past meets the present. It was opened quite recently (November 2015) to showcase Southeast Asian Art. What draws me to the National Gallery is the building itself. The national gallery is a fusion of two buildings: the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, adding modern touches on the inside, but still maintaining the historic architecture of the buildings.


The Gardens by the Bay had been completed since 2012, and I had never been too interested to pay it a visit, but in the spirit of exploring new things, I decided it to give it a try. They had a Chinese New Year theme going on at the moment, and I chose one of the paid attractions, which is the flower dome. It is essentially a very futuristic, man-made garden, and if the people in the movie Wall-E were to have a garden, this is what it would look like.

Another stand out on this trip was Kent Ridge Park, it is quite a huge park, that is connected to several other parks in the area. There is a variety of plant and animal life in the park, the signs even mentioned that there might be monkeys in the area. It’s a great place for those who want to exercise, e.g. running, biking, rollerskating. I took the canopy walk, and unexpectedly discovered Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

Bukit Chandu is like a mini-museum to commemorate the battle that took place in the area during World War II (Battle of Pasir Panjang). I highly recommend visiting if you are around Kent Ridge Park. It is completely free of charge, and I think it’s a great place to learn about and reflect on the history of the area. Unfortunately, many of the things were copyrighted, so I did not get to take a lot of pictures in the museum. 

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Canopy Walk

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View of the city from Kent Ridge Park
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Display at Reflections at Bukit Chandu

Overall, this trip was very reflective, meeting old friends, visiting new places. We are still the same people essentially, yet we are so, so different. We have grown out of that rebellious teenager phase into this…. barely adulting phase. Just like the city itself is progressing into what it aims to be in the future, and yet sticks to its identity.

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