quick views of Singapore

I was privileged to be flown to Singapore for a weekend to talk at a conference.  I was welcomed by a Singaporean doctor and his team and we lunched in a restaurant focusing on what I learned was Straits fusion cuisine.  My hosts were Peranakan, ethnic Chinese whose ancestors migrated to the Malay peninsula before and coincident with British and Dutch colonisation.   The restaurant was rich with artefacts and photographs of their history. I knew very little about Singapore before arriving and little enough now.  I understand this was a fishing village 200 years ago.  The colonial age, which built this city as a port serving British interests, seems to be viewed without rancour.  Raffles, the colonial founding figure, seems celebrated, with myths built on the hotel of that name and alcoholic drinks.  As well as the British, Chinese, Malay natives, Tamils and later other Indian peoples have made this place their home.

I was staying in the commercial district which is resplendent with soaring buildings boldly stating domination and decadence.  This was the view from my hotel window, drawn in the morning when I was supposed to be updating and revising my talk.

2015-12-20 Singapore (3)

I was fascinated by the ridiculousness of the Marina Bay hotel and casino, with three towers angled in relation to each other so the boat poised on top of all three is bent like a banana.  One evening I drew this from the side of the harbour as dusk fell and again later sitting at a café looking across the water at the buildings lit up in the dark night.

2015-12-20 Singapore (2)

2015-12-20 Singapore (4)

These were little sketches in a small book, drawn in pen and tinted with conte crayon, my smallest field kit which fits all in one pocket.  On my last day, I had time to walk around and good intentions to draw.  I walked through the stunning Gardens by the Bay, a new self-acclaimed environmentally sustainable landscaped park including two large glass domes housing  a vast hot-housed floral display and a cool highland rain forest respectively.

2015-12-21 02.12.38

I continued through to China Town but was so hot, I could not settle to draw anywhere.  Later, I wandered at random on the train to the area around Arab street and the Sultan Mosque. This is tucked away now amid sky-scapers and appeared to me cool, vibrant and visually interesting area with diverse small shops and cafes.  By then, I was on a tight schedule to get back for my flight, so my drawing was limited and incomplete, and not worth including here.



16 responses to “quick views of Singapore

  1. Good to see that you managed some sketching at least! I think that the top of the Marina Bay Sands looks like a surfboard. Sounds like your dinner was wonderful. I only managed to get to the Peranakan Museum which was close to where we stayed. It isn’t large but has a host of interesting objects ans stories in its walls.

  2. Gardens by the Bay sounds amazing. I’d love to see it. I played with an idea of going back to study to become a landscape designer/architect, but I don’t really know enough about plants/gardening/designing and not sure that if I really would enjoy studying/working in that area, but places like that seems magical and beautiful to me.

    • HI
      Of interest, my son did a one year course at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. He had studied 3D design at university. His aim is to become a landscape gardener / designer. He ahs been spending a lot of the last year in labouring jobs just learning the basics under a professional gardener. Its difficult to know where this all takes him yet.

      • I haven’t realised your oldest was that old. Good luck to him – somehow the meandering path towards his goal could be a better way to find the right work than straight pathway of school->university->job. I grew up knowing only of few jobs (you know – engineer, doctor, teacher, lawyer) – it is amazing to realise how many possibilities there are in the world and what strange things people make money from.

      • … He’s not my oldest!
        I have two lads who have left university. The older is traveling round South America right now. I have two step daughters of similar age, and then the two little ones who are growing fast – my son goes to high school next year. My daughter will stay a cartwheeling scrappity thing a few more years. I only really talk about the little ones in my blog because they are around all the time.
        Time races by.

      • How amazing that you get to experience seeing 6 people grow up and turn into adults. Since I had kids, it feels like every year goes by faster than the previous one.

      • P.S. for now I decided that I’ll spend next two years figuring out if it is possible to make any sort of liveable income from art, since there aren’t many jobs in IT where I live (i used to be computer programmer before kids).

      • Good luck with that project. I’ll follow with interest.
        No way to combine them? Make apps that unfold an artistic journey or create art in some way ….?
        Each app would be a unique piece of your art in itself, not a programme for others to paint a picture, but something that unfolded on the buyer’s iPhone and projected something of your artistic self.
        I wondered before about what a computer game might be like in which the background music unfolded like a symphony depending on what happened in the game – I don’t mean just selecting sequences according to the narrative, but a coding sequence which created a soundscape from first principles and from a composing structure using the interaction of player and computer to guide it. Someone must have done this.
        Could this be programmed visually instead?

      • 😀 I’ve been out of paid work for about 8 years now and wouldn’t have a clue how to write an app, though I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to learn.

        Your idea for the music dependent on user interaction is an interesting one. Last year I saw a piano player “play” a painting and I bet there must be someone(s) with visual, music and IT skills, who did something like what you describe. And maybe someone with medical knowledge could design a system that would react to the changes in the heart-rate, blood-pressure, etc to create music.

        There are so many amazing technological innovations happening in the world nowadays, yet living in a small country town I feel so out of tune with the world. I think it is part of self-protection to retrieve inwards when the kids are small and take up lots of energy (at least for me), now the time is coming to expand outwards and think up amazing ideas and learn new things like you do.

    • Further to last comment – there was a real mix of people on that one year horticulture course – a sixteen year old from school, my son just out of Uni and other older people with backgrounds in other professions.

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