Monday, September 3, 2012

Camp Sharon - Satellite location

All good things have to come to an end.  The summer has been long and throughly productive....which included two solid weeks of exploring New York City, a trip back to Singapore to visit family and a vacation to India. While in Singapore, I failed miserably in conducting my "academic maintenance plan" for my kids.  Distracted by a retinue of movers, contractors and electricians, my kids slipped easily into a regime of swimming, television and car rides with their aunts.  Haunted by guilt, I made a desperate attempt at squeezing in a few events to break the monotony.  What good fun we had.

1. Singapore Night Festival
We finally managed to sneak away from the aunts (my sisters) for the last night of the festival.  We waited for 45 minutes under the mylar tent, enduring the bad imitation music (in my opinion) of The Great Spy Experiment.  Every riff was a U2 sound-a-like.  The patience and sweat (literally) paid off as we witnessed the performance 'Mylar' by Fuerza Bruta, a troupe from Argentina.  4 women slipping and sliding across the thick plastic platform in a shallow pool of water made for 'wet and wild' and underwear galore.  My kids are innocent enough but I am pretty sure the adult audience enjoyed the voyeuristic sensation, watching from below.

Bras Basah came alive and twinkling as projected images lit up the facades of our beloved buildings, the old SJI and the National Museum.  There was celebratory carnival noise in the air as Fuerza Bruta performed along Armenian Street as well - a crane that held up a woman who swung around and swerved in a flowing gown, resembling the lady from the Mooncake tale.  All this happening while a group of chanters and bangers whistled and drummed around the crane. We were mesmerized.

2. Gardens by the Bay
We beat Will and Kate to it!  Unfortunately, when we went one Saturday morning, we missed becoming the One Millionth visitor by a thin margin (the winner emerged that evening) and lost out on a bunch of prizes.  The two air-conditioned domes are well worth visiting.  I liked the Flower Dome for its colorful rendition of seasonal flowers - begonias abound at this time.  The olive trees reminded me of my wonderful time in the Garden of Gethsamane.  As for the other dome,  apart from the spectacularly high waterfall as you enter, the landscape was more concrete and less floral.  We went up to the 6th floor to the 'Lost World'.  The fact that I cannot remember the actual name of the dome off-hand highlights why I was not exactly enthralled with it.  It unveiled my fear of heights.  Considering that I live on the 25th floor of a high-rise, it is a different feel altogether when you are walking along an intentionally shaky ramp that spirals around a fake mountain.  The ramp is supported by metal rod beams and bumps along with every thump and jump of its pedestrians.  Yikes, I kept thinking I might fall over down to the hard concrete ground!  I froze a few times but was motivated to snap photos of my family before scuttling back down.  That perhaps was the thrill ride that the dome wishes to provide visitors.  

And by the way, it might take another 5 years before the outdoor trees are lush and can therefore provide leafy canopied respite from the heat!

3. Marina Bay Sands Light Show
I used to think that the brilliantly lit Hong Kong skyline was the best in the world.  The Singapore skyline, taking shape quite nicely, will give HK a run for that title.  Sitting with my kids and sister in the open air right outside the MBS mall, I pondered at how much the scenery has changed.  The OCBC building has been eclipsed by taller towers.  The Fullerton Hotel forms a tiara along the 'bund' .
The light show is free entertainment and copies the famous Bellagio fountain show but with a twist.  In typical Singapore fashion, it 'teaches' the audience about the value of water and the importance it is to life.  There is a montage of diverse Singaporean faces visually sprayed onto a water vapour screen (trust my attempt at describing a movie screen made of water).

4. The Arabian Nights (La Salle College of the Arts) until September 18
Performed by iTheatre with original score and lyrics and a creative storyline, my children giggled and listened throughout the 2 hour musical.  They came home repeating lyrics of the opening song. I came home with a refresher about the Arabian Nights and could finally put together the plot involving Princess Sherazade.  The costumes were beautiful, the King looked like he had borrowed the slicked back hair and high collared tunic look from the actual King of Bhutan.
My favorite was the sub plot "Merchant of Sinda' - I thought Faizal Abdullah who played the role of Hamid was most entertaining.

5. The Cat in the Hat (The Little Company)  until September 30
The Little Company's regular repertoire at its cozy resident theater along Robertson Walk is always short and sweet.  This play was 40 minutes and was first performed by the National Theatre of Great Britain.  It was brilliant and captivating - from the costumes and set which popped out of Dr. Seuss' storybook, to the acting (Thing 1 and Thing 2, played by local actresses excelled with their expressive gestures).
We bought a few Dr. Seuss books on sale on our way out.

The performances by our local companies get better and better each time we attend one.  Plus, there are several to choose from at any one time, particularly around the school holidays.  This is a privilege for the new generation, a far cry from my childhood where the first play I had been to was 'Winnie the Pooh' at the old Drama Center along Fort Canning.

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