Because Every Park and Museum in Singapore Has “National” Status

Just as virtually every Buddha statue/temple/site seems to hold some sort of “the _____-est / most _____ Buddha ever” title (I visited one which was proudly dubbed “the most gigantic standing Buddha statue with alms-bowl in hands, facing east”, so while its almost 100m shorter than the actual tallest Buddha statue, that’s no reason for it not to get a “most gigantic” title), virtually every park and museum in Singapore gets a national title. Unlike Buddhist statues (of which there are about a million), these Singaporean sites basically earn their titles by default if they’re of considerable size. As such, this means hitting up a national park and museum really only requires you to pass through a doorway.

Not even close to the "real" biggest

Not even close to the “real” biggest

…If you’re not too directionally challenged to meet up with your friends beforehand, of course. One of my buddies from Thailand was stopping over in Singapore, so we decided to meet up and check out Fort Canning National Park and the National Museum. Although Fort Canning was located right beside a convenient MRT subway station to meet up at, my previous experiences in failing to be able to find people at these locations in Toronto made me wary of meting up here, so I decided the park entrance would be better. Little did I know, Fort Canning had about 500,000 entrances. So, I ended up wandering about aimlessly for half an hour, taking photos of dragon statues.

I'm not complaining, they were pretty sweet looking!

I’m not complaining, they were pretty sweet looking!

Eventually, we eventually met up and I was able to take more pictures of things other than dragon statues.

Finally made it to the official entrance point!

Finally made it to the official entrance point!

Wouldn't be a real national site without something named after Raffles!

Wouldn’t be a real national site without something named after Raffles!

After we had our fill of National Park-goodness, we moved on to the National Museum, which actually backs into the National Park. In addition to being super conveniently located, the majority of its exhibits are free everyday after 6pm! Score, free education! (This type of thing seems like a big deal when you compare it to university tuition, okay!?)

As it turns out, polygamy used to be the norm in Singapore before the 1950s, when the government suddenly decided to make the practice illegal. Since it couldn’t void any of the previously existing marriages, only outlaw new ones, this created an awkward phase where a once-normal family quickly became strange and even ostracized living arrangement. Although society began to look down on these families, females who had to share their husband often clung to their vows, stating they would rather share than be on their own. While I appreciate that these set-ups were formed out of love, they’re also a clear demonstration that women valued themselves significantly less than men in society, believing they were worth ½ (or less) than their partner.

After my feminist reflections, I moved on to the food exhibit, which featured (surprise, surprise) hawker centres. Back in the day, these stalls had pretty sweet delivery systems, with vendors inventing some of the first bike trolleys.

I've decided that these are going to by my next set of wheels!

I’ve decided that these are going to by my next set of wheels!

Some even convinced their regular customers in high rise buildings to install pulley systems so that they could send yong tou fu (a clear soup with veggies, noodles and seafood) or nasi lemak (coconut rice) up stairs without having to climb them. Now if only I could find a way to install this type of pulley system across campus..!