Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Journey to ArtScience Museum

My journey to ArtScience Museum is the premier museum destination in S'pore for major international touring exhibitions from the most renowned collections in the world, designed as a symbolic gesture to welcome guests and visitors across the globe.
Here how I managed to get a 'Free' pair of tickets that costs S$30/pax. A pair of 'Free' tickets that won from the contest in the quiz put under my hubby's name that was done by me. Marina Bay Sands sent an email to my hubby and he forwarded to me as he was surprised and had no ideas of my participating in the contest. Hahaha. So I replied to Marina Bay Sands stated in their email which they would to like to know the details of his contact that will send original letter to us. A few days later, this original letter was received and addressed to my hubby from Marina Bay Sands, and this letter stated one month for redemption of receiving it. I am authorised under my hubby to get a pair of tickets chose any dates & times of the our visits So I went to the Marina Bay Sands at ArtScience museum's counter on 14 Jun 2011 about 1.15pm to get a secure ticket without any hassles and chose the available date and slot ticket shown 'Time Entry' is 10.30am on 19 Jun 2011, that is 5 days later. This ticket indicated the time entry is 10.30am and we are allowed to come at any time after 10.30am but followed the same day that shown on ticket.
Tickets with no value
On the actual day on 19 Jun 2011, after I had toured Order Out of Chaos conducted by NHB's staff and volunteer guide in the morning till 11.30am which you may have read earlier in my blog which was on the same day but later in the afternoon at ArtScience Museum. The last destination tour was Subordinate Courts which is near People Park Centre. So I took a bus no.190 from People Park Centre to Dhoby Ghaut Mrt and transferred to bus no. 106 (cross the road) to Marina Bay Sands and reached there appropriate 1.30pm and waited for my hubby after his work half day. We had a lunch first at Bay Sands foodcourt that I had the Bay Sands's link card which can be used for discounts on F&B, before proceed to ArtScience Museum about 2.15pm, the ticket had shown the time entry started at 10.30am but this ticket can be used at any time of entry.

Short Description of ArtScience Museum: The ArtScience Museum is really three buildings in one. Large exhibition galleries are housed under a giant lily pond that lets in flitered light from above. The lobby atrium is a glass and steel structure located at grade that appears to float over the pond. And the giant cantilevering upper galleries are supported by an extraordinary system of "mega columns" and a stabililizing steel form called a "diagrid." The diagrid and mega-columns unite at the foundations of the building to efficiently overcome the massive push-pull of the larger building forces. There are 3 galleries spanning two levels with nearly 800 sq meters of exhibition space and a meditative path of Floating Stairs. And on the ground floor basement there is also a large evolving media canvas that celebrates the creativity of the ArtScience community. It is one of the attractions at Marina Bay Sands, an integrated resort in S'pore owned by the US Las Vegas Sands company - Tom Zaller. Opened on 17 Feb 2011 by S'pore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, it is the world's 1st ArtAcience musuem.

Photos above: Ticket counter (left) and slotcard machine beside the two lift
Upon entered the ArtScience Museum, we were greeted by s staff who helped us to slot the card into the machine card, and we walked to the lifts that can leveled up to 3th floors. So we decided to go up to the 3th floor before going down one by one using staircase that look like 'spiral' staircase instead using the lift.

A lotus flower or a human hand or a mangrove plant?
Desciptions of ArtScience Museum's lotus shape - Newest destination is a memorably shaped, three-storey, 6,000 sq meters (50,000sq ft) building designed by Israel-born architect Moshe Safdie and this complex geometry of the ArtScience Museum is shaped by combining and intersecting a variety of curving geometric shapes and raise associations. There is still a friendly debate on whether the shape of the building is an interpretation of a lotus flower, a human hand or a mangrove plant. This shape is one of the earliest created by Moshe Safdie for this unique project.

Inspiration's Gallery 2

Above photos in Gallery 2: Kongming Lantern(left) and a ball, L. da Vinci's flying machine
As I came across the word "Inspiration" on the board-stand inside the gallery with a large patterns of an ancient Chinese scroll have in common with a 21st century robotic fish? How does the invention of th sky lantern centuries ago relate to the creation of the ArtScience Museum? The objects on display in this gallery are meant to provoke debate about the conceptual barriers that have have erected between artistic and scientific activity.
Emanating from the diverse places and times, these six innovations - and others explored in the gallery-embody the essence of "ArtScience." They exist not in one world or the other, but at the intersection of the two.
Judging on the frontiers of ArtScience, the breaking boundaries on the norm: East meets West, Form meets Function, Nature meets Technology and Fiction becomes Real. Do you believe this?
Vincent van Gogh

Above: 3 Photos of Belitung shipwecked treasures - Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds
The 1st photo - A pair of lobed oval bowls with two ducks in repousse among chased flowers (China/Tand dynasty,ca 825-50/Gold)
The 2nd photo - Gold Cup is the most important Tang gold object ever found outside China. It is unusually large (and heavy) and the coat of its material alone would have equalled ten years' salary for a low rank Chinese official. The musicians and dancer on the cup are identifiable as foreigners by their long hair and billowing clothes and the ring handle with its bearded faces also suggests the influence of Central Aian metalware. The cup's precise place and date of manufacture are unknown, but it was most likely made in Yangshou.
The 3rd photo - A dragon with a long tongue.
Van Gogh's Quote: "To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one's fling from time to time, smoke one's pipe and drink one's coffee in peace".
One of the museum's major show, "Van Gogh Alive-The Exhibition," ongoing until 6th Nov, is an engaging revue of the Dutch artist's works, but the fact is that it does not display actual paintings. Instead, it uses 40 high-definition projectors to transform the ceiling, floor and walls of a cavernous gallery into one giant Post-Impressionist canvas that ever changing perspectives on this giant moving canvas.
Also I explored the astonishing shipwrecked cargo of some 60,000 objects carried by a ninth-century Arab dhow, ranging from exquisite ceramics to rare items of finely worked gold. Lying undisturbed on the ocean floor for more than 1,100 years until its discovery near Indonesia's Belitung Island in 1998 by Tilman Walterfand (Seabed Explorations NZ Ltd) and his team in Gaspar Strait (Connects the Java Sea to the South China Sea). It is one of the oldest and most important marine archaeological finds of the late 20th century. The find confirms for the first time the existence of a direct maritime trade route from China to the Persian Gulf and beyong. The artifacts on display are from the Tang Shipwreck Treasure: Singapore's Maritime Collection. The acquisition was made pssible by the generous donation of the Estate of Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat.
Interactive touch screen
The effect is dramatic and visceral on the screen, the 100-year-old masterpieces to marvel at colors and texture, not be in awe of what is essentially an expensive slideshow that has turned important works of art into a one-dimensional graphic design. You can create your own unique design projects on 40'HD interactive touch screen (that shares them with friends and friends over the Internet) which I sent you an email of "Postcard" through this screen with a touchscreen! Have you received it?
Dali's Theme Room
Salvador Dali: Mind of a Genius
Dali's Gallery
The museum has followed up with Spanish Surrealist "Dali: Mind of a Genius," ongoing until Oct 30, which boasts over 250 artworks which highlight the creativeness of Dali across different mediums, including bronze sculptures, rare graphics, furniture, gold jewelry and crystal pieces in three themed areas - Femininity and Sensuality, Religion and Mythology, Dreams and Fantasy. Highlights includ Dance of Time I(Dali's famous representation of melted Clocks). Woman Aflame (sculpture uniting two of Dali's obessions - drawer and fire). Spellbound (a huge painting featured in 's movie of the Alfred Hitchcock's of the same name) and the Mae West Lips Sofa (inspired by actress Mae West's sensual lips).
Mae West Lips Sofa
(inspired by actress Mae West's sensul lips)
Dali: His Melted Clocks

Above from Dali's artworks: Vision of the angel (thumb) and Space elephant
Vision of the angel: The strength and supremacy of God is here represented by a thumb from which life emerges, symbolized by the tree branches.
Space Elephant: Dali created the image of an elephant carrying an obelisk, a symbol of technological progress in the modern world. The almost invisible spindle-like-legs emphasizes the contrast between robustness and fragility, weight and lightness. This phantasmagoric creature seems to be coming out from a dream.
Both the Van Gogh and Dali shows are traveling exhibitions. The museum has its own small permanent collection-housed in three galleries on the top floor, called Curiosity, Inspiration and Expression-which contain interactive works that argues the connection between art and science.

"Back" of the entrance
From the outside of the 'back' entrance (no one enters without tickets) it looks like a floating flower with 10 petals-these houses 21 galleries, which all oddly shaped because they are meant to capture the natural light.

Photos above: Rainwater on the pond (left) and Bowl-shaped roof top (collects rainwater)
This bowl-shaped roof assembly is supported by ten-columns and tied down at its center by a basket-like diagrid (sculpture centered piece) that accommodates the asymmetrical forces that the building's form generates. And consquently in resolution of the structure forces for the building, giving it a seeminly weightless quality as it hovers above the ground.

The restrooms use rainwater which is collected from the ceiling that flowing through its bowl-shaped roof into a reflecting pond at the lowest level of the building, and drops down like a waterfall into a reflecting pond in the courtyard. The rainwater is harvested.and then recycled for use in the building's restrooms.
Spiral staircase facing the pond
There is a 'spiral-like' staircase that faces the lily pond along with tables & chairs on the floor with its surroundings.
At last but not least, I am looking forward for my write-up to the next chapter - Mint Museum of Toys.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Order Out of Chaos

As I was received on confirmation booking from NHB's email about Order of Chaos trails of the Old buildings was conducted by a staff from NHB name Joyce and one of volunteers named Ms Jill Wong on 19 June 2011 in the morning at 10am. As I managed to reach at the bus-stop at the entrance of the IT Mall building as early before 10am. The three visiting place are Central Fire Station, Hill Street Police Station and Former Ministry of Labour Building (now as Family & Juvenile Court).
Firstly, I was about to meet Joyce, staff from NHB who conducted the meeting place and trails for participants and myself. There are about 10-12 participants including me and the waiting time for the rest a little late.
Central Fire Station
On the 1st trip is Central Fire Station which stands opposite the bus-stop where I stand and a volunteer tells us about the history of the Central Fire Station and how the Firemen worked through during their ancient times. Members of the public learn more about of the SCDF, the role of functions of the fire stations as well as the capabilities of its firefighters. It was gazetted as one of S'pore's National Monuments in 18 Dec1998.
A watch tower
Short Brief history of Central Fire Station: Built in 1908-09 by the Municipal Council of S'pore, the Central Fire Station was the first headquarters for the fire brigade. This building marked the beginning of the modern fire-fighting services and the change from horse-frawn fire-carts to motorized fire-engines. The Central Fire Station is only in-charge of the CBD and Chinatown area. Year '1909' can be seen on top of this building and it has been 100 years of operations since. Being part of S'pore's early oldest history, Central Fire Station has undergone transformations and stayed relevant throughout the years. The Station's iconic presence in the heart of the city serves as reminder of the key role it plays in keeping S'pore's Central Business District(CBD) safe from fires and other emergencies.
This Civil Defence Heritage Gallery is officially opened by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs on 22 Nov 2001. Visitors to the Heritage Galley can learn about the civil defence's progression in S'pore through the years, with displays of antique fire engines and other firefighting equipment. There are customised interactive stations for a close-up experience of what fire fighters and rescuers go through during a mission.

Above photos: The exit doors and 110 ft watch tower

Above photo: Red & white building built in 1909 (as seen in picture)
The construction of the red and white of the fire station was built in 1909 (as shown in pic)The contruction also prompted a modermisation of the brigade's equipment with motorised fire engines being introduced, which is evident in the carious size of exit doors of the fire station. The station, with its distincitive red and white brick facade, a style described as 'blood and bandages', and also features a 110 ft high watch tower, which was the tallest structure in the city when it was built, providing a vantage from which a 24hr watch could then be kept over the city. It also served as a hose drying tower - a feature in many fire stations. The station was later expanded with a new wing added as well as quarters expanded on land pruchased at the corner of Hill Street and Coleman Street from the Chinese Girls' School which was then moved to Emerald Hill in the 1920s.
Statue of Firefighters
This sculpture (above) is proudly sponsored b the National Fire Prevention Council. In recognition of the fire fighters and rescuers who risk their lives and go beyond the call of duty in protecting and saving lives and property for a safe and secure and Singapore. This sculpture can be seen at the near Galley outside the building on the left.
Do you know that all fire stations across Singapore, except Jurong Islands Fire Station and Changi Fire Station, are opened to the public every Saturday from 9am to 11am as walk-in visitors and no registration is required.

Hill Street Police Station and MICA's entrance
Second trip is Hill Street Police Station (above), the Old Hill Street Police Station building is the site of Singpaore's first jail. and was built in Neo-Classical style which was still fashionable for the public buildings in England in the 1930s. The Neo-Classical style is commonly seen in municipal buildings in S'pore and has features such as symmetry, the use of columns and pediments such as seen over the main entrance of the former Hill Street Police Station.
The building was designed by the PWD when Frank Dorrington Ward was the Government Architect. The six-storey building has a thoroughly Italianate air with its corbelled loggias and balconies, arcades, stuccoed, rusticated surfaces and central courtyards. The building when built, was an imposing structure which was described as 'skyscraper' was in fact the largest structure in Malaya.

Brief history of Old Hill Street Police Station (1934): The Old Hill Street Police Station stands on the site of S'pore's first jail and was site began in the 19th century when the Assembly Rooms of the S'pore Town then, was built and Hill Street Police Station was redeveloped in 1934 as the police station and barracks. During the Japanese Occupation, it was used the holding area for the Japanese secret police, the 'Kempaitai'. After the war, the building once again was used as police station. The Arms and Explosives Branch of the Police Department operated there from 1949 to 1981. The S'pore Government had introduced a housing scheme to accommodate police officers and their families and barrack-like accommodation lost its attraction.
Today the Old Hill Street Police Station Building is occupied by the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts, MICA, and is therefore known nowadays as the MICA Building in 2004 (above pic). Also occupying it is the National Arts Council, National Heritage Board and the Media Development Authority that moved into in Apr 2000.

Above photos: The two courtyards
The building featured two open courtyards (now enclosed by a glass roof) and numerous windows that I can't help noticing that opened to the outside and inside of the building as well as the courtyards, giving the rooms in the building a airy and bright feel. Sources says that there are total about 911 windows but according to Ms Jill (volunteer guide) who says that this is not correct and what do you think? Shall we ask the historians who knew about this building or look through at NLB?

The once open-air courtyard of former Hill Street Police Station is now encased by a glass roof. A feature of Frank Dorrington Ward's designed building is the light and airy feel in interiors centilitre and brightened by generous windows which even in the less colourful days of the building, never goes unnoticed.
Last not least, below is the article, extracted from the Straits Times dated back 24 Sept 1890, the outbreak of fire occurred in 'Hocklam Street'.
About 9.30am, a fire began in a house No. 8 Hocklam Street, and a crowd immediately commenced to gather and found that they the pleasure of watching a fire work its own way without let or hindrance. Very soon Chief Inspector Jennings arrived, and pending the arrival of the fire engines did all he could, that is, watched the crowd. At 10 o'clock the fire had obtained complete possession of the house, and the flames lapped round the casements and mounted high into the air illumination the whole town.
The article goes on to describe how the crowd had admired the uniform of the uperinterndent as he watched on horseback as the fire made its progress, with water arriving only an hour after the fire by which time No. 8 & 9 were 'completely gutted' and added that the "organisation did not know where the nearest hydrants were situated" in spite of the "barracks of the Fire Brigade" being "in the same street as, and exactly opposite to, the unt houses".
Former Ministry of Labour
The last trip to Former Ministry of Labour, currently houses the Family & Juvenile Court of the Subordinate Courts of S'pore. This Building stands on the site of the former Chinese Protectorate Building which was established in 1877 to protect and control Chinese immigrants to S'pore. This building has been restored is now used as the Family and Juvenile Court of S'pore.

Above photos: Sign Board and Entrance to FCJC
Short Brief History: Was built as a grand Neo-Classical Building in 1928, the former Ministry of Labour Building is used by the judiciary and has been refurbished in 1930, the building housed the Chinese Protectorate which was set as an intermediary between the government and the Chinese community. Their role was to look after the welfare of the Chinese community, its work involved fighting the exploitation of prostitutes and coolies by their agents, the regulation of Chinese societies, and the control of triads.
In early 1877, the government set up Chinese protectorate and employed William A. Pickering who was the familiar with Chinese cultures and understood the problems of the Chinese community. William was the 1st Chinese protectorate to improve the welfare of the Chinese community and was popular amongst the Chinese. He retired in 1888 after a near-fatal attack by the secret society member. The Chinese Protectorate still functional until the outbreak of WWII and after the war, it was taken over by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and later, Ministry of Labour & Law.
Not long, the former Ministry of Labour was gazetted as the national monument on 27 Feb 1998.
Statue of Family

These sculptural figures, designed in the minimalist style and cast in bronze, represent an ideal family bound together by love, mutual respect, and concern. Intentionally abstract, they transcend racial identities. Each figure stands as an individeual. Together they reflect the harmony and balance of a family unit.
The mother figure, compassionate yet firmly grounded, is bending forward and looking towards her children. The father, slightly more formal, is bending his knees as an accommodation towards the viewpoints of the other family members. The growing boy is close to his father, reflecting the importance of paternal influence is the raising of youth. With his hands in his pockets, the boy appears to be saying. "I'm all right, ma and papa. I'm part of this family." A very cute figure, the little girl with pigtails has her arms raised as she is about to be picked up and hugged as affection is care to the family.
In portraying this family scene at the entrance to the family and Juvenile Court, they are conveying the high regard they place upon protecting family obligations, promoting familial ties and upholding the values restorative justice in their Family and Juvenile justice models.
Well, I have to pen off here and look forward to the next chapter,

Sunday, 12 June 2011

My Journey to Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple & Gopuram Tower (2nd pic)
I wonder if I shall go to the oldest temple in S'pore, in the heart of Chinatown when the private bus was passing by and I spotted the temple just opposite the road where newly bridgegroom was there. I quickly alighted at the bus-stop and saw the oldest temple named 'Sri Mariamman Temple, was built in 1827. It has played an important role in the lives of Hindus here. In the early years, it provided shelter for Indian Immigrants, and was the only Hindu temple whose priests were vested with the authority to solemnise the marriages.

Bridegroom at solemnise ceremony

Musicians on solenmise of marriage of a Bridegroom
I spot and captured the musicians standing on the left side of the hall facing the Sri Mariamman where the Bridegroom stands.
The temple is dedicated to the Mother Goddess Mariamman known for her power in curing epidemic illnesses and diseases. The temple attracted many devotees, who turned to her powers of healing. Sri Mariamman Temple was established by Narayana Pillai, who came to the settlement with Raffles' party in 1819. In 1823, Pillai requested for some land to build a temple, but it was only in 1827 that the 1st temple building was erected. The temples most outstanding feature, the gopuram or entrance tower (see top pic) built in the South Indian Drevidian style, dates from the 1930s. The gopuram rises above the main entrance along South Bridge Road. The present 6 tiered gopuram was built in 1925, was repaired and restored with an elaborate proliferation of scuptures in the 1960s. Sri Mariamman Temple was gazetted a National Monument on 6 Jul 1973 by PMB.

Above photos : Priests in prayer and Goddess Mariamman
The priest is holding prayer at the sanctuary of the bridegroom's marriage which is shown on top of picture.The Main prayer hall is the central shine of Mariamman, which is franked by the shrines of two secondary deities - Rama and Murugan. The main prayer hall is surrounded by a series of free-standing shines, housed in paviion like structures with decorated dome roofs, known as 'Vimana'. These are dedicated to the following deities: Durga, Ganesh, Muthularajah - also known as Mathurai Veeran, a rural Tamil deity, Aravan and Draupadi.
Painting (Frescoes) on the ceilings of the shrine as I look back towards the entrance. (pic above)

Above photo: Flagpole pillar and the bell & drum

The Flagpole pillar is on the side of the courtyard and in relation to the 'gopuram' tower entrance. And the bell is on the left side of the pillar.
Short Brief history of Narina Pilliay: He was the 1st Indian and Tamil Pioneer of S'pore; accompanied Stamford Raffles whom he found him(Pilliay) a dependable, honest and versatile person that Raffles brought him S'pore in 1819; the 1st brick maker and building contractor of S'pore, the earliest Indian community leader of S'pore. Pilliay opened a shop sold cotton goods and later was caught fire in his shop and was bankrupt in 1922. Raffles helped him to restore his fortunes and was clear evidence of Raffles's concern for the tamil pioneer. In early 1823, Pillay obtained his present site to build the Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road. Actually the 1st site was offered by the government for the Temple was in Telok Ayer Street but there was no fresh water close to the temple.
About Goddess Mariamman - Sri Mariamman can be traced back in 4000 years ago to the Indus Valley civiization of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in North West and it is believed to be a Dravidian civilization. Sri Mariamman nouishes and protects all beings and is assoicated with rain; she gives life, nurtures and sustains it. She is the source of all energy without which nothing moves in this world; she has various forms which describe her attributes in elopquent appearances.
Deities with sacred cows
The top of the boundary wall that surrounds the compound is lined with sculptures of cows (considered sacred by Hindus)Today, Sri Mariamman temple is best known for the fire-walking ceremony, or Theemithi, that is held every October or November. Devotees would walk on hot coals as a test of their faith and devotion. It is said that in Apr 2010, the temple was re-consecrated following the completion of a S$4M restoration project. A team of about 20 artists were brought in from India for the project, which included repairing all the stone deities.