Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Titanic's Hundredth Year Anniversary

We visited the new complex surrounding the Marina Bay Sands area today - a truly spectacular 60 storey pair of buildings supporting a boat-shaped park on the top. Part of the Marina Bay building houses the brand new Art and Science Museum where we planned to see the TITANIC Exhibition. Fantastically modern I took a few pictures of the entrance.





Then we went in.


This is the Art and Science Museum and this morning (before the monsoon rain pelted down) we visited the Exhibition. I've always had a great interest in anything about the Titanic so this one one exhibition I wasn't going to miss. The whole story of the incredible tragedy was unfolded there. Many original items recovered from 2 miles under the sea in 1987 were displayed there - and in one section we could even touch a 10 ft wall of real ice which replicated the iceberg which sank the mighty ship. A full size replica of the grand staircase was there too:


As we walked round the exhibition we saw how the passengers lived on board. The First Class staterooms were absolutely luxurious and every comfort considered, from satin counterpanes to silver-plated pendulum lamps, designed to remain level in the roughest of seas. From recovered clothes and crockery to jewellery, watches and musical instruments, so much was there to see. Especially sad was the water-stained jacket of one of the stewards and a little child's marbles. On a vast wall were the names of every passenger - both lost and saved. I found the name of Helen Churchill Candee (the lady who left the sinking ship clutching the miniature of her mother, which when recovered from under the sea - she'd given it to a man who had pockets - I was commissioned to make an exact copy for the owners so they could sell it at a Titanic auction for oodles of money).
Yesterday morning, it being our first day in Singapore, we made a trip to the Jurong Bird Park on the east of the island. It still being Chinese New Year here the entrance was suitably festive.


There were so many beautiful birds to see at the park that I'll just show a few of the scores of photographs I took. Before we walked around we decided to travel by monorail to get an idea of the layout and to have a bird's eye view from above.


And here are some of the sights we saw - in glorious sunshine:

















In the afternoon, as Haw Par Villa (or Tiger Balm Gardens) - being one of the oldest attractions in Singapore, was not too far from the Bird Park, we took a taxi to this most colourful of places. (I first went there while in the army in 1956 and as I only had black and white film then, coloured all the photographs I took there with photo tints). This is the entrance to the gardens.


So many exotic figures populate the place that I'll just give you an idea as to what has been made. Basically, legends from old China are recreated there. There's even a hall which graphically illustrates, by way of small horrifically made sculptures, all sorts of terrible tortures. But my young friend didn't want to see them - and I don't blame her. Who relishes the sight of someone being sawn in half - starting at the top of the head and working down? (At least Paul Daniels slices Debbie quickly and cleanly in the middle!) But to give a flavour of the place, here are a few of the sights we saw.























And to round up the afternoon I sat astride a tiger - which is about as near as I'm likely to get to a real one - although in a couple of days we will be going to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.


As the SMRT ( Singapore underground system) has a station right next to the Tiger Balm Gardens, we made our way back to The Tanglin Club, where we are staying, in a comfortable and highly efficient manner.

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