Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Little One @ Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea

Children's Season is here again! Since the school holiday is approaching, why not consider bringing your child here.

 Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea

14 May - 28 Aug 2016

Ever since 2012, we have been going to Singapore Arts Museum @8Q around this time of the year to visit their art installations. Their installations especially those on Level 1, never fail to amaze me. We paid a short visit on its opening and definitely will be coming back again. Sharing the 3 installations we love best!


Dimana Mogus? (Where is Mogus?), Level 1 by MULYANA
Mixed media installation with yarn, cotton, felt, synthetic fur, vulcanised copper wire and dacron filling

Here , you are suppose to find Mogus. One of the octopus 'floating' around in this sea.

This installation happens to be my personal favorite too. I love its vibrant colours. You can sit on the gigantic whale cushions or even jump on them. You may touch the fishes above your head but please be gentle on the corals and the octopus which are hanging around.  I was most awed by the corals! These were crocheted painstakingly and they looked real! The octopus are also crocheted but I feel more drawn towards the corals. I love its matching colours and its close imitation to nature.

Children loves this room because of its colourful sights and the interaction available.
A place full of fun
This school of fish looked like a submarine to me but a ship to Little One.

Crocheted corals

Colourful, aren't they?


(Left) On a corner of the room, lies are bed of dead coral and a dead octopus. Did you see them? Probably, the message is to remind us to take care of our ecosystem, otherwise, they may simply die and get wiped out.
ADA, Level 3 by KARINA SMIGLA-BOBINSKI

In this dark room, there is a giant luminous PVC ball, ADA, with protruding spikes all around its body. This creature is supposed to be one of the bioluminescence animal of the deep. Before you enter, the staff warns about the charcoal studs on its body. If you are not afraid of getting dirty, this is the place for you. You can move ADA across the room and tries to draw the ceiling, wall and floor using the charcoal studs but soon you will realise you cannot fully control it as effectively as a pencil or marker. These charcoal lines are only apparent when the giant sphere moves near them. It sheds light on them. This reminds us the consequences of visitor interaction and similarly, our relationship with the sea.

Little One spends the longest time here chasing after ADA and trying to draw something using her. She ended up with black hands and a strip across her forehead. 


Suara Muara (The Sounds of the Estuary), Level 4 by PAPERMOON PUPPET THEATRE 
In this room, it appeals more to your sense of hearing, check out the earphones. Below is one of my favorite too! It gives me a mixed feeling. The moving cloth simulates the moving sea. It give a peaceful feeling. The people on the sea seemed to be enjoying themselves. However, I also spotted half body people hanging from the skeletal ships which gives me creeps.



There are actually more to be offered by the rest of the art installations by various artists. Mainly the value behind the theme of the installation is the fragility of the ocean and how how interaction with it will in turn affect us. Besides these, there is also short film screening room and craft area , both located at Level 2.

Having interactive art installation allows children to see more clearly how they could affect the surroundings and at the same time, we take this as a very good opportunity to educate our children the relationship between the sea and us and on how we can learn to protect our environment.


Singapore Arts Museum @ 8Q
OPENING HOURS 
Mondays to Sundays | 10am to 7pm (Last admission at 6:15pm)
Fridays | 10am to 9pm

Visitors can also enjoy free entry to SAM every Friday from 6pm to 9pm and on Open House days.

ADMISSION 

Adults                                                              $10
Students & Senior Citizens aged 60 & above  $5
Children under six                                           Free
Citizens/Permanent Residents                         Free

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

HIdden Gem in Telok Ayer: Singapore Musical Box Museum

As a child, I have always loved musical box. The soft melody and the sight of a delicate little ballerina that would swirl and swirl around in a small jewel box that my mother used to own. I remembered winding the box up again and again just to listen to the music and watch the ballerina twirl. I believe no one can resist the magic of a musical box. My little girl was exposed to musical box in a form of a train 3 years ago. She , too, loves musical box.

Organised in conjunction of the Singapore Heritage Festival (SHF), we registered with Singapore Musical Box Museum to enjoy a free admission as well as tour. The trip was a truly eye opener! I did not know that they come in all sorts of sizes. The 2 wonderful guides explained to us the history and evolution of musical boxes. I am totally impressed! I believed those who are with us were too!

Singapore Musical Box Museum

The Singapore Musical Box Museum is the first of its kind in Singapore.  Although the museum was opened in Nov 2015 to the public, I was not aware of its existence until this SHF. Its founder is a Japanese collector Mr. Naoto Orui. He moved his collection from his Minamichita Music Box Museum in Mihama, Japan, to Singapore. Many of these exhibits are his collection. Currently, there are over 40 of them in the museum.

Music boxes are similar to the chime mechanism of old clocks.
The museum is not huge but nevertheless, it is fascinating! The first part of the tour is about cylinder music boxes. These are made of a revolving cylinder with pins on it. The cylinder would be spinned and at the same time, it plucks the pins of a comb to make music. Some of these have interchangeable cylinder to play different music in the same musical box. In the early days, only the super wealthy could afford to have musical boxes as they were expensive. The cylinders with the pins had to be man made.

Mandolin Tremolo Zither (Switzerland)  1880s.
Left: Roller Gem Organ (USA)1885 reminds me of a typewriter
Right:Musical box with storage drawers
Next session, we were introduced to  the disc musical boxes,  German music box artisan Paul Lochmann created discs instead of cylinders. Discs can be mass produced, unlike cylinders of the time, which had to be hand made. Thus, disc music boxes can be made for a much lower cost and be brought to more people to enjoy.

Below  is a Polyphon Table Model Style 45. (Germany)1890s

Doesn't this reminds you of a vinyl player?
Left: How a  punched disc looked like
Right: Other Disc musical box include a Britannia
Then, we explored the coin slotted musical boxes, these are giants! They are as big as a grandfather's clocks. They need antique coins to operate. Modern coins does not work on them. They are that specific.

"Atlantic" - an orchestral musical box
It was to go into the Titanic, but they wanted a larger box on it, and this went to the Atlantic instead. It has parts of a piano ,  bass drum, snare drum and even a triangle.

Giant cylinder of the "Atlantic"

Polyphon Giant Music Box

This is a precursor of the jukebox! Look at the number of disc it has! Yes, you can choose which song you want it to play.
"China" made in Singapore
Are you surprised to know that Singapore manufactured musical box as early as late 1800s? I am! The guide explained that as Singapore was under colonial rule, the British had taught Singapore craftsmen how to repair watches and clocks. Subsequently, when musical boxes were brought into the country, the same craftsmen would repair and maintain, eventually going on to make the musical boxes themselves.

I wonder what tune would "China" play. Unfortunately, it is still waiting for restoration.

If you wonder, why it was named "China", we were told, during the colonial time, any place in the East was considered China. Hence, this piece of work is consider that from China.

"China"

Limited edition scarf by Hermès made in 1996 and a musical cigar holder in front.

The musical cigar holder. It's mind blowing that people use musical for almost anything, not just for pure entertainment.

The guides even ask us to take a look at the architecture of this place. 

View of Chong Wen Ge Pavillion, Thian Hock Keng and Singapore Yu Huang Gong temples
 Chong Wen Ge was the first education institution set up by the Chinese community in Singapore. Thian Hock Keng Temple is Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple. Both gazetted as national monuments in 1973.

"Chong Wen Ge In the past, two institutions flanked Thian Hock Keng: Chongwen Ge (崇文阁, ‘Institute for the Veneration of Literature’), Singapore’s first Chinese school; and Keng Teck Whay (庆德会), a private Straits Chinese self-help association. In 1849, an outstanding Hokkien Peranakan merchant, Tan Kim Seng (陈金声), spearheaded the construction of Chongwen Ge. Besides the Hokkiens, members of the Hakka and Teochew communities also contributed generously to the project. Originally, Chongwen Ge comprised the Chongwen Pagoda and Chong Boon Gate. Chong Hock Pavilion was added in 1913.

Having outgrown its facility within the temple grounds, Hokkien Huay Kuan moved into Chong Hock Pavilion in 1915. That same year, it established Chong Hock Girls’ School (崇福女校), one of Singapore’s earliest Chinese schools for girls. The name ‘Chong Hock’ (崇福) was an honorary title given to Mazu in the imperial court during the Song Dynasty (960–1279).

Thian Hock Keng Today

The temple remains an important place of worship among local Chinese Buddhists and Taoists. Between 1998 and 2000, Thian Hock Keng underwent a major restoration which earned it an honourable mention in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage 2001 Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Thian Hock Keng and Chongwen Ge were gazetted collectively as a National Monument."
 - Roots ( NHB)

Thanks to SHF, both Little One had an educational tour on musical boxes. It is amazing that musical bozes that were 2 centuries old are still functioning today! A tip from the guides to maintain the music boxes is to play it often. 

Also in Chong Wen Ge is Peranakan Tile Gallery. If you are a tile lover, do check this place out! It opens daily from 12-5pm.

Look at those lovely tiles and the mirror , of course! My favorite is the peacock and plenty,  plenty more!


If you are in Telok Ayer, do consider paying this place a visit. They have a gift shop too!

Singapore Musical Box Museum
Operating Hours : 
Mondays, Wednesdays-Fridays:10am-6pm
Saturdays: 10am-5pm
*Closed on Tuesdays, Sundays & Public Holiday

Address : 168 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068619 - Next to Thian Hock Keng Temple

T: +65 6221 0102

Ticketing information:
Adults : S$12.00
Students (with valid student pass) S$6.00*
Seniors (60 years and above with valid ID) S$6.00*

*For Singqpore citizens and permanent residents only
For more information, visit their website.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Singapore Heritage Festival - Sights at Street Parties

Like a party animal, I roam down from Telok Ayer, to Bukit Pasoh to Keong Siak Street and even to A Taste of Heritage at National Museum. All thanks to the great Singapore Heritage Festival events organised by the NHB.

A Taste of Heritage
Did you know food stalls used to line the grounds of the National Museum in the 1960s? Several stall holders relived the good old street food culture were seen selling their dishes here, including my favorite Tong Heng.

Street vendors.
Paper Monkey Theatre Teochew Metal Rod Puppet show
Little One and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously at the performance, Web of Deceit, by the Paper Monkey Theatre. Web of Deceit is one of the episodes in Journey to the West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Bukit Pasoh Street Party

It was a  wonderful party. I had some chicken wings from the New Majestic Hotel while waiting for performance to start. It was yummilicious! Although we did not watch all the performance but we did managed to watch those that we like, eg the dance performance by Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre Limited. Not to mention lion dances! It is not easy to catch performance on such a street as it was rather flat road. It is not very child friendly. Hence, I saw many parents carrying their children while watching performances. I am not sure why but towards the end of the programme, many were seen sitting around the performers. Probably, many were tired from all the standing and walking around the road at the end of the day We knew we were.

Various performances
There are plenty to see! From olden days hawkers to mata (policemen) to majie (olden days domestic helpers who had taken a vow of celibacy before a deity on an altar, in front of a witness, to never marry)
Dragon dance by Kong Chow Wui Koon
We feasted our eyes on the first Northern Lion Dance by Singapore Chin Woo Athletic Association. They were playful and energetic! The emcee mentioned that the family members of the members of the Association had sewn these lions!
Northern Lion Dance by  Singapore Chin Woo Athletic Association.  Northern lions often dance as a pair. The pair of adult Northern Lions are made up of a female and a male.Their gender were differentiated by the color of the ribbon that is tied on the lions’ head.. The female Northern Lion has a green colored ribbon tied on, while the male has a red colored ribbon. 
Finally, we also get to see Singapore Hok San Association's performance! Theirs is a southern lion. Great cat-like movement! 

"Plucking the green" performance by the Singapore Hok San Association.
Chin Woo was spotted doing some warming up. A number of kids joined in to do stretching cartwheel and somersault
Urban Ventures at Keong Siak Road

Keong Siak Road, which is located nearby , had various activities organised for the public too! There were people practicing their yoga on the closed roads. A few crafts stalls and quite a number were drawing what they saw on Keong Siak Road, mostly the iconic building below, which used to house the Tong Ah Eating House.
The iconic Tong Ah Eating House. Potato Head had taken over now.

Potato Head

Temples like this can be seen in the midst of rows of shophouses. Pretty contrasting against the shophouses. 
Thian Hock Keng Ma Zu Dan Celebration

Hokkien Huay Kuan had organised various events to celebrate the birthday of the Goddess of the Sea. Some include lion dance, puppet show and Getai. Below are just some of the photos, you may want to read more on this post.

Devotees at Thian Hock Keng

Hokkien Strng puppet show. Probably it happened during the day, there wasn't any crowd.
A whole load of celebration
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