Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Singapore Days 3-4

Exploring the "Little Red Dot"

In 1998 former Indonesian President Habibie pointed to a map and said that Indonesia was "all of this green" whereas Singapore was just this "little red dot".

In the years that followed his snub, Singaporean's came to embrace his "little Red Dot" comment as a term of endearment or nickname.

So much so that during Singapore's 2015 Golden Jubilee they installed little red brass dots with "SG50" emblazoned on them on many of Singapore's points of pride.

On Day three I decided to visit Singapore's Red Dot Design Museum wondering if (based on the red dot nickname) it was a uniquely Singaporean museum.

The Red Dot Design Museum
(Photo From Red Dot Museum Website) 

The name is just a bit of irony as it turns out the Red Dot Design program is international in scope program with no connection to Singapore's adopted nickname.

The museum, while modest in size, is packed with examples of excellence in design. Inside you will find a treasure trove of examples of industrial and graphic design.

Past Exhibition
(Photo From Red Dot Museum Website)

Current Lighting Exhibit
(IKEA Design Exploding Pendant)

I loved Ikeas's exploding earth light. Pull the drawstring and it opens up allowing light to disperse at varying degrees.

Graphic Design Winner

This poster packs an emotional punch as it conveys the imagery and ramifications of arctic global warming.

And the leather book "Fan Light" below is actually a battery operated light you recharge by USB. When unfolded the book light fans out casting a soft and wonderfully diffuse light.

  Fan Pendant LED Light
(Powered by Rechargeable USB Battery)

After my tours I decided to feed my passion for KFC (Korean fried chicken) completing my day with a scrumptous dinner at Chicken UP on Tanjong Pagar Rd.

While looking for the museum I got a bit lost...

And, as so often happens when lost, found some treasures in various side streets nearby the museum. One area that was the lovely enclave of Duxton Hill and the streets filled with heritage buildngs that surround it. I also came to realize that nearby Neil Road is home to some of Singapore's more creative (gay) nightclubs.

Day four was my day to say goodbye to The Club and move on to The Hotel Fort Canning (HFC). The building housing HFC is awash in history.  It was originally the headquarters for the British military during colonial times. Then during WWII it was occupied by the Japanese military. With the surrender of the Japanese it reverted again to British and then reverted to Singapore.

In 2010 the building was re-purposed into a hotel by the architectural DP Architects (coincidentally the very firm we are working with while in Singapore). 

My room is lovely. It was created by enclosing the former porch. Where there is a deep soaking tub, separate rain shower and a leather clad pedestal sink. The "porch" can all be enclosed with power operated drapes to create a zone of privacy from the outside or the rest of the room itself. The elegance of the design is that without the typical enclosed bathroom (next to the door to the hall) these rooms feel very spacious.

My Room Hotel Fort Canning

Since Hotel Fort Canning is steps away from the Singapore National Museum, I made my belated visit to the museum.

The museum building itself is also a treasure with exhibits that faithfully portray the history of Singapore to present. The displays are clear and offer a perfect overview (especially for a first time visitors like myself).

I was interested to learn about the "Father of Singapore" Sir Stamford Raffles. Although he never lived in Singapore for more than 8 months at any time, he was able to establish it as a free port with a constitution embracing multi-culturism.
Sir Stanford Raffles circa 1817

The most compelling story of all however is the one of modern Singapore.

Today the little red dot offers one of the highest standards of living and strongest economies in Asia. Singapore's recipe for success has been to fully embrace multi-culturism and deliver a completely secular government.

Where else in the world will you find a country where 90.3% of its citizens own their homes? Educational attainment is exceptional and crime remains low.

Singaporeans work very hard (averaging 45 hour work weeks) and support governance consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt in the world.

Roadboy's Travels © 2016

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