Diwali, Christmas and Genie are three words that are not normally go together in a sentence. But it seems to work in the context of Singapore, a multicultural country where people of different ethnicity and religion live harmonious next to together.
Who would ever believe Ganesha (one of many Hindu gods) would be hanging out with Jesus and his disciples at the last supper! Of course, Ganesha has to be accompanied with two ladies holding a magic lamp each!
Weekend getaway with a twist
So, Hayley and I decided to go there for a last minute weekend getaway a few weeks ago to catch with with our family who were touring Southeast Asia on a cruise ship. It was nice to catch up and we also took an opportunity to visit some of the places that we didn’t see eight years ago when we were last there.
River cruise and the Colonial District
So after we met up at the Cruise Terminal, we decided to head down to the Clarke Quay where we took a small boat to see the ‘touristy’ part of the city, including the merlion (a mermaid and lion roll into one body), which is a symbol of Singapore.
We also walked through the streets at the Colonial district to see the old building left by the Brits. Many of them were old government houses, an old court and I believe also a bridge where they used to hang people who were convicted of serious crimes.
Of course another things that was not to be missed was Little India. When we were there, Diwali had already happened. Nevertheless, the street decoration were still on the main street. Of course as a Singaporean thing to do, they also have Christmas decorations on the street that is perpendicular to the one with Diwali decorations. It was nice to see both culture blended so well together.
Another place that was nice to visit was the Arab Quarter. There was a massive mosque that looked very similar to the palace seen in Aladdin. (Now you know where disney got their inspiration from right?)
We were not able to go into the mosque because there was an event going on inside, but looking from the outside it looked very impressive and I can imagine the sultan is carried down the street by his foot men.
Walking down the street, there were many many shops selling perfume, frankincense and elaborate glass bottles that go with the perfume. (Maybe the wisemen from the east can buy some for Christmas!)
After we explored the streets nearby, we wandered into the Malay culture museum nearby. It was one of the palaces where Sultan of Johor Bahru live. Johor Bahur is a Malaysian city by the border of Singapore.
It was interesting to see how people lived, how the Malay culture spread across the region into Indonesia through trades and social interactions.
Before we headed back to Hong Kong, all of us enjoyed a lovely meal at a local restaurant. The waiter recommended us to some lovely salad, spiced rice with lamb and shish kebab. What a lovely end to our trip to Singapore.
Have you been to Singapore? Or have you experienced many culture within a small place? I would love to hear your experience.