I went on yet another episode of exploring Singapore on 1-3 December. This time, it was a short one, lasting only 2.5 days, but it was packed of activities!
Wednesday, 1 December
I ended work at lunch time and went out to Gillman Barracks for lunch at Burger Labo. I had lobster roll and it looked good, but the experience is underwhelming: the sandwich was too big to each in one mouthful. However, the truffle fries served as sides were really nice and the service was good too.
After lunch, I browsed the art galleries for a while before settling for the main reason I’m there: ice cream at Creamier! I had double scoops: “teh peng” was really nice and the tea taste was strong; butterscotch almond was also nice, although there were moderate amount of almond bits which I didn’t like.
After this, I moved on to Hort Park, which houses lots of mini gardens featuring plants of different themes. The weather was really hot and humid and I didn’t enjoy it that much.
I walked all the way till the end and reached Kent Ridge Park, climbing up a hill and reached Reflections at Bukit Chandu museum. It was a museum about the battle that happened there around World War 2 era, where a Malay regiment fought hard and never gave up till the order to surrender come as the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. From this museum, I also learned that the area was called Bukit Chandu as it was around the factory areas that used to pack opium. Opium sale was legal back then! Apparently it was seen as one profitable stream of revenue to the colony government.
I overestimated my time and initially I thought after this museum, I can go straight to dinner, but it was still too early. So, since I got nothing else to do, I went to Haw Par Villa.
Haw Par Villa is a sculpture garden that was built by conglomerate brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. The brothers were the founders of Haw Par Corporation, best known for manufacturing Tiger Balm.
I entered and was amazed with the size of the site. I went to Hell Museum, where it presented lots of information on various belief systems, graveyard, and how we remember the dead. The most famous part was the 10 levels of hell, where it depicts a sutra about the punishments that one may get in hell when they did something bad in this life. The depictions were in forms of statues and it was really graphic and gory. Definitely can get kids to get nightmares.
Outside this Hell Museum area, there were lots of gardens and a lot more sculptures. Some were really well-maintained but some have shown signs of age. The sculptures were really awesome, depicting some tales and the expression was well-captured.
I learned that “Haw Par Villa” used to refer to the mansion that used to stood there in the center of the sculpture garden named “Tiger Balm Garden”. It was demolished after the war, and the sculpture garden eventually become what people call as Haw Par Villa.
After exploring this garden, I went for dinner at White Restaurant at IMM before going back home. Although the bee hoon was nice, the special ingredients were just so-so.
Thursday, 2 December
I woke up early, initially planned to go for a morning swim, but saw that the sky was dark and the forecast was “Heavy Thundery Showers with Gusty Winds” so I decided to skip swim. However, it turned out that there was no heavy rain nor thunders. Apparently my swimming slot wasn’t cancelled and later that day I received warning about my no show. Feels bad man.
In the morning, after breakfast, I played some Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. The graphics were really nice, I’m amazed.
I went out for lunch at Lotus Vegetarian at Novena. Stir fried laksa was good and the spiciness really kicks! The chee cheong fun also was nice too.
After lunch, I went to Celine’s Gelato to try their ice cream. Another double scoop. I had Chai Latte & Yuzu Sorbet. Yuzu Sorbet was just so-so, but I was amazed with Chai Latte. The first bite was filled with lots of flavors and spices, and the spices really kicks. It was definitely masala chai and it was strong! All in one ice cream flavor, just amazing.
In the afternoon, I went to Takashimaya to kill time. I redeemed my free Chi Cha San Chen and browsed the shops there. I didn’t even know there are shops and cafes in the upper levels of Takashimaya as I thought it was only department store.
The time has come and I went to KC Arts Centre for Singapore Repertoire Theatre performance on “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”. I never watched or read any of Shakespeare work, so it would be an interesting play to go into. Indeed, it was quite funny to see 4 actors performed all 37 plays in around 1.5 hours. There were some serious bits of plays (like for Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet), but most of it was loose interpretation of his plays, like doing a snake dance for Antony and Cleopatra, rap song for Othello, and cooking shop for Titus and Cressida. It was amazing and entertaining! I felt that there would be more jokes that I could understand if I had already saw the plays beforehand; but indeed watching this whole performance made me curious to see some of Shakespeare’s work in full.
After the show, I went for dinner at nearby Keisuke Ramen Lobster King at Clarke Quay before going back home. The lobster broth here was much more flavorful than the other outlets’ broth
Friday, 3 December
I had bad sleep and only slept for 4 hours. Weeks before, I had thought that I spend my time in Jurong Bird Park this day, but as there should be nothing new since my last visit, I thought I visit some other part of Singapore, especially the north area.
After I woke up, I felt terrible and sleepy. I sought for a less intense activity for the day and I thought after having lunch, I could spend time in exploring Chua Chu Kang library as it was newly opened from renovation. During my bus trip to Jurong East, I curiously searched cinemas for show times and realized that there would be an IMAX screening of Dune very soon. I immediately changed my plan.
I went to purchase my ticket, went for a lunch at Aston’s, and then rushed to the movie.
The movie itself suffered from being adapted from novel: the character/places/tribes/nations names weren’t clearly introduced, and their background weren’t introduced too. I felt that if I were to read the book, these elements will make me appreciate the story more. Alas, we make do with movie format. Immediately I saw lots of similarities with Star Wars: “spice” in Star Wars world is a genre of controlled substance and here in Dune, it is of similar nature. The sandy world in Dune reminds me of Tatooine too. Another aspect of the experience is the picture and sound: the screen is so huge and more square-ish than the normal screen, and that makes me need to tilt my neck slightly up, which could be uncomfortable at times, even though I was seated at the 4th last row (i.e. at the middle section of the hall). The picture itself is really good. The best part of the movie is the audio: it felt that the sound travels through your body and you can feel it. Damn. Story-wise, I can get the overall theme, but I didn’t expect this to be a 2-part film.
After the movie, I went to library, browsing some books, but couldn’t find what I wanted, so I went back to Jcube, eating Gindaco takoyaki. It was a well done takoyaki, very even sphere and the octopus pieces were big.
After that, I went to Jem and do shopping to kill time. I ended the day having dinner at Pizzakaya, where the concept of Japanese pizza intrigued me. The taste was fine, but the UX wasn’t great as you couldn’t possibly munch both the toppings and base at the same time. Also it was definitely too large for one person.
I initially had plans for both days on weekends, but my friend cancelled the Saturday plan and I guessed it was good for me too, as I needed more rest too from the fallout of slept deprivation on Friday. On Sunday, I met friends over lunch at Kota88 and then we had ice cream at Birds of Paradise.
So yeah, that’s my week on leave. Spent quite a lot this week on food. Some food are definitely very nice. The most memorable was Lotus Vegetarian & Celine’s Gelato. It was also my first time watching a theatre performance by professionals and it was enjoyable; also first time watching movie in IMAX, where I got mesmerized by the stunning audio and visuals.