Happy 51st Birthday, Singapore!

Singapore is 51 years old today, which is remarkably young for a country. To put things in perspective, that makes it younger than Israel.  It’s wild to think that I live in a baby country.

There’s a huge amount of hoopla here for National Day.  I’ve been trying to compare it in my head to Independence Day in the US, but I’m not sure whether my memory is serving me well.  It feels like Singapore has a lot more in the way of decorations. In any case, the holiday means that everyone dresses in red, there are flags and banners everywhere, and I had another day off from school. Here’s a scene in red on the MRT:

Prescott and I spent the morning at a mall (don’t ask), and then we went to Tim Ho Wan, a dim sum, place for lunch. Here’s what we ate:

  • Steamed egg cake
  • Spring roll with egg whites
  • Tofu with special sauce
  • Spinach dumpling with shrimp

And here’s what we did not eat:

  • Braised chicken feet with abalone sauce
  • Pork liver vermicelli roll
  • Tonic medlar & osmanthus cake

Later in the day, we also turned down an opportunity to partake of lamb’s brain with meatballs soup. Just thought you should know.

We spent most of the afternoon at the Chinese Garden, a beautiful park not far from our neck of the woods. On the way there, we stopped to watch some guys playing cricket.

As we watched, I read all about how the game is played on a great website called something like “cricket explained for Americans.” I’m not sure I can tell you much about the finer points of the game, but I do have a basic understanding. The main idea seems to be: protect your wicket (and spend an awful lot of time in the sun while doing so).

The Chinese Garden is exactly what it sounds like, though it should be called The Chinese and Japanese Gardens.  They have pagodas and bonsai and statuary and neatly trimmed shrubbery.

I was excited that we were allowed to climb up to the top of the pagoda and lean out to see the great views (they’re not big on warning signs or protection here — you can do a lot, like leaning out of a pagoda, that would never be allowed in the US).

It was all really lovely, though our trip provided a good reminder of why one should only go visit sunny gardens early in the morning in Singapore. If you go in the afternoon, you need to be prepared to sweat profusely. Thank goodness you can almost always make your way to a juice stand at the end of the day.

I should note that the gardens were unusually crowded, in part because it was a national holiday, but in part because Pokemon Go was released in Singapore two days ago, and the gardens have a lot of important stuff (that’s my best gaming lingo). So you’d see crowds of people all huddled in the same place in the shade:

Prescott is playing, too…

This evening I went downtown to hear the Yale Whiffenpoofs sing at the Fullerton Hotel (they did a gig much like we did when I was here with Whim ‘n Rhythm in 1992).

Then I went out to watch the fireworks across the bay. I’ve learned that fireworks in Singapore are enormous in scale but tiny in length.  There’s no build-up — it’s just big the whole way through, and then they’re over.

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