Visiting Doraemon at The National Museum of Singapore: Doraemon’s Time-Travelling Adventures Exhibition
My favourite cartoon character is Doraemon. I'm a big fan of Doraemon ever since I was a kid. I think everybody knows what it is. It is a blue robot cat with no ears. Doraemon has a roly-poly figure and his cute appearance is one of the reasons why he is loved by fans.
I like the story of Doraemon very much. It is about the friendship between Doraemon and a naughty boy called Nobita. Doraemon comes from the 22nd century. Its main duty is to help Nobita to get out of trouble. Unfortunately, that happens to Nobita quite a lot. Every time, Doraemon uses the amazing tools from its pocket to help Nobita. I love reading about Doraemon's tools and I am amazed by the imagination of its creators.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doraemon's creation, this beloved cat robot from my childhood has made his way to the National Museum of Singapore. My endeavour was to visit the exhibition, no matter how busy I am. The Doraemon’s Time-Travelling Adventure exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore starts today until 27 December 2020. It features several iconic elements associated with Doraemon. When I visited the exhibition, it was a whole lot of nostalgic fun.
The old charm of Singapore came back to life when I took a lovely stroll through this very quaint and interesting private museum that is housed in a landed housing property. This museum stands out from the landed properties in the residential sprawl along Changi Road in the east region of Singapore.
The owner of the property, Mr David Wee, has converted the frontage into a museum that is filled with his personal collection named "Wee's Collection" - items of the good old simple carefree days. I disappeared from the present after I entered the museum which is for meant all ages, old and young, to see and understand the things of good old days and a place for the adults to reminiscence. I saw many stuff and toys which are the kind I haven't seen for a long time. I think adults will walk down the memory lane as they reminisce about their childhood, while children will find it a delight to discover the vanishing activities from the yesteryear. One will be able to ponder and daydream of how life in the olden days might have been.
A collection is not made overnight. It takes years and sometimes a lifetime. During the tour, Mr Wee revealed that he took about 25 years to amass Wee's Collection. To acquire something that is rare is like owning a treasure. I suppose it gives more meaning as a collector if the collector can share this to other people for them to see and appreciate. In my view, a collection to be meaningful, should be shared with other people. If you keep it to yourself, then you deprive yourself the respect you can gain from your passion and the knowledge other people could acquire from your collection.
I know this is just one of those things that people say, but I've been obsessed with street art since way before it started to be cool to like street art. I mean, story of my life, right? I think if you lined up the few things in life that I'm passionate about, you would find that most of them are currently trendy. Which is kind of funny, because I wouldn't consider myself to be all that trendy a gal. But what can I say, street art is in this season. Honestly, I could just put a ton of street art photos up as proof that street art is pretty freaking awesome. And don't worry, I will, but I guess I should also write about it as well since this is, you know, a photography blog.
Nevertheless, it's 100% true; I fell in love with street art. It was pretty much love at first sight. I settled for travelling in search of street art in my hometown, Singapore and around the world before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a frequent traveller, I found there was a growing treasure trove, and often in unexpected places. I was fascinated. At one point, I genuinely considered doing a degree focused on the culture of street art (if there is). You get the picture. I'm kind of obsessed.
Once I discovered that Ang Mo Kio had street art, I knew I would enjoy it here. It’s a bustling neighbouring area for many, but for me, it was about looking for street art that day. I couldn’t notice such a big surprise in Ang Mo Kio until recently. Some masterpieces have to be seen in real, wherever they are. And can you say no to the pleasure of discovery?
The street art I saw depicts the culture, rich heritage, history and daily life of people living in Singapore in a sweet yet funny manner, almost like cartoon characters. As I walked around Ang Mo Kio Town Centre, spotting the murals, they had surely put a smile on my face or made me think about the local way of living in Singapore. These street artists’ murals are stunning. As usual with wall murals, I took a plethora of photos. I enjoyed the hours spent searching for street art in Ang Mo Kio, so now I would like to show you how talented some of these street artists really are.
If you are a café hopper cum enthusiast on our sunny island and find that you have run out of cafes to go to, fret not, 7-Eleven (7-11) has collaborated with Coca-Cola Singapore to open a first-ever 7-Eleven x Coca-Cola concept store last month in Singapore. Their concept store is a breath of fresh air as it steps out of the mould of your typical 7-Eleven.
Located at the House of Eden in No. 4 Robinson Road (conveniently outside Exit F of Raffles Place MRT station), this concept store is filled with Coca-Cola novelty items and is decked in some red furniture.
Artistic Wayfinding Project By The Singapore Alzheimer’s Disease Association For Senior-Dementia-Friendly Community In Kebun Baru Neighbourhood
It might have passed you by, but I'm a big fan of street art. It's for that very reason that I’m always on a constant lookout for interesting street artwork. What I love most about searching for street art isn’t just finding beautiful murals, but it’s the journey to seek them out. It takes you to places you wouldn’t normally visit; down backstreets and alleyways etc. I think it’s a fantastic way of getting to know a new place. In the end, I always use street art as a landmark to navigate my way around.
The street art in Singapore that I’m going to introduce today has a noble cause in itself — it is meant for people who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. People with dementia will wander. People with dementia may not remember his or her name or address, and often experience problems with orientation, which cause difficulties in finding their way back home. Wandering among people with dementia is dangerous, but there are strategies and services to help prevent it. Wayfinding helps people with dementia move independently from one spot to another. It refers to ‘what people see, what they think about and what they do when finding their way from one place to another’.
Several HDB blocks along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 have been embellished with murals of kueh kueh, satay, a tingkat and more. Everything — from the size of the murals (big, so residents can spot them from afar) to the mural subjects (traditional because these resonate with those living with dementia) to even the locations of the mural (just one or two at strategic locations instead of painting every other wall) — they are part of a dementia wayfinding project done by the Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA) in consultation with caregivers of patients who are living with early onset dementia, so as to remain sensitive to the needs of this group of residents. The murals featured familiar, retro items to aid persons living with dementia and the elderly with difficulties in wayfinding, particularly at void decks, in easily recognising their surroundings and finding their way home.
Urban farming has become quite a bit more than a fad or innovation showcase for our garden city. In more and more cities around the globe, urban farming strategies are bringing agriculture back into the city – and bringing us all closer to what lands on our plates every day.
Weaving food growing into the fabric of urban life could bring greenery and wildlife closer to home. The COVID-19 lockdown helped re-awaken interest in growing at home, but many households have no access to a garden. If we want to continue to feed people using farms in the places where most people live – in cities – we need to find the space for them. Thankfully, the opportunities for urban farming extend beyond these: rooftops, walls – and even under-utilised spaces such as old school buildings, offer a range of options for expanding food production in our city while creatively redeveloping the urban environment. Getting out into nature and gardening can improve one's mental health and physical fitness. Many research studies suggest that getting involved in urban food growing, or just being exposed to it in our daily lives, may also lead to healthier diets.
City Sprouts is a social enterprise that aims to “rejuvenate urban communities and sprout meaningful multi-generational relationships”. Its urban farm Sprout Hub is located in the heart of Redhill, situated at the former Henderson Secondary School which has been transformed into an urban farm and social space. City Sprouts uses urban agriculture as its backbone cultivating a place for urban rejuvenation, community and sustainable living. Interestingly here, you find a community transposed into a place with abundance of food and greenery in the midst of the surrounding high-rise residential and commercial buildings.
I visited the famous Singapore Botanical Gardens recently. I’ve been there so many times that I’ve lost count. But it was only that day that I really explored and discovered the true beauty of this garden. Nature is an awesome backdrop to so many special and everyday moments in our lives. We play, rest, exercise and connect with others on beaches, in parks, forests, by lakes, on mountains and in backyards. And the benefits nature offers are far-reaching: physiologically it boosts our immune systems, promotes healing and increases life expectancy; psychologically and emotionally it promotes well-being, makes us feel alive with uplifting and energizing effects, helps us feel calmer, less anxious or stressed and relieves attention fatigue. Even though, logically, I know the outdoors brings you happiness — many studies have shown that nature is one of the pathways to happiness — I truly just haven’t spent a lot of time out and about in nature. Nature gives a man an experience to know more about himself and his beingness that is why it is advisable to visit a beautiful environment once in a while.
Since the dawn of time, humans have been inspired to the heights of creativity and innovation by spending quality time close to nature. Scientists, philosophers, artists and social leaders have wandered forests and hills looking for those special moments of clarity when inspiration hits and brings insight to how we see the world. This is something that happens for everyone who spends enough time outside in nature with the intention to evolve their understanding of life.
I personally find this is one of the best ways to get a massive influx of fresh new ideas.
Many songs and poems are also completely written based on what people see in nature. It sparks creativity, even technological advances are based off of something in nature. It sparks what some people need to write, invent, or even just learn about or do something for both themselves and others. I feel like this is the part where I should have beautiful background music playing, to help set the mood for this post. So enjoy this little slice of heaven for just a few minutes and join me as we go back in time to an enchanted garden.
Kampong Glam is one of my favourite places in Singapore to hang out. I used to shop around this area and spent many times walking up and down these streets, so I will always be fond of it. I love that it’s one of the first places that street art became hip. But even if I’m on a repeat visit, there’s still a whole lot to experience in the neighbourhood.
Kampong Glam is known to be unique for being a place that history and modernity are able to thrive together. It's also home to tons of cultural spots and quaint little cafes and bars. It’s pretty much a common sight to see an old and traditional shop right next to a trendy and quirky boutique. The whole area gives voice to local artists, both established and previously unknown, and to renew tourists’ interests in Singaporean arts scene.
But what really makes Kampong Glam stand out are its beautiful IG-worthy graffiti-filled walls. So beautiful that they are now Singapore’s very first outdoor gallery — Gelam Gallery, which is testament to this artistic diversity. Gelam Gallery, which features stunning imagery and paintings done by art professionals as well as graduates from local art educational institutions, is located in the back alleys of the streets of Kampong Glam. I've previously done some street art photodocumentary at Haji Lane and the other side of Kampong Glam which you can click on the links to reminisce.
Singapore has some amazing street art, scattered in various neighbourhoods, painted by incredibly talented artists. Among them, Mr Yip Yew Chong is the one of the popular artists who draws the original scenery of Singapore in its early days with a warm touch. He has been inventing new ways of utilising our shared space to communicate, provoke, and interact, which is what made this a vibrant and engaging place to live. Most of his artwork are murals telling a story about the very place they are located in. All his murals are site specific, but these are more literally so. They are centered on the social practice of using art to create social interaction, in which people reflect on the history, current state, and better potential, of the very space they find themselves in. There’s no better ways to record stories from our pioneer generation than to put them into painting. What’s more we have lifelike murals.
At Blk 683C Woodlands Ave 6 near MRT Admiralty Station, the empty void deck has been transformed into a whimsical world with three zones by Mr Yip. It is divided into three zones featuring nostalgic murals of the farmland and kampung, nature murals and futuristic city murals. The murals resonate with people in a nostalgic way. I feel that Mr Yip did an amazing job. I also think that his artwork itself has the capacity to engage people in conversation and to look at landscapes and physical environments differently. I hope the community will appreciate it and feel that it's their space.
Wall Murals of The Four Great Beauties of Ancient China in Singapore Simei estate 狮城邻里四美区集合中国古代四大美人的壁画
Some of Singapore’s ubiquitous HDB blocks have been jazzed up with interesting designs and murals, but this particular endeavour is quite unusual. I found these eye-catching wall paintings which recall different periods of Chinese history for residents of Simei estate. The word "Simei" means "four beauties" in Chinese. Indeed, when mentioning Simei, one tends to think of the Four Great Beauties: Xi Shi, Diao Chan, Yang Guifei, and Wang Zhaojun - legendary characters in Chinese classical literature.
According to local archives, the government had planned to name four roads in the estate as “Guifei Road”, “Diaochan Road”, “Xishi Road” and “Zhaojun Road”. Unfortunately these names are quite the tongue-twister for non-Chinese residents, and so they later settled for Simei Street 1, 2, and so on. Even though the authorities eventually did not name the roads here after the four beauties, you can find murals of them at the HDB void decks in Simei. Look beyond the beauty, the murals of the four beauties sitting at Simei HDB void decks have certainly altered the void decks scene by injecting this area with a little more culture and history.
我最近在本地染上了追 “壁画风”，到许多邻里社区拍摄祖屋底下的壁画。今天我就来到了东部的四美区，而且很意外地发现当年新加坡建成新镇 “四美”，是为了纪念中国古代四大美女的：西施、貂蝉、贵妃、昭君，各有不凡的气质。据说，在新加坡发展初期，确实是以四大美人的美人芳名命名街道的，更有温柔余韵，而且还能凸显社区的不同魅力。但对于不懂中文的人，实在过于拗口。于是，政府便依序以四美一街至四街重新命名，也就是：四美一街、四美二街、四美三街、四美四街等。在“组屋”底层，分别绘制了这四大美人的壁画。每幅壁画绘着美人半身像。贵妃把盏醉酒、貂婵月下焚香、昭君怀抱琵琶、西施纤手浣纱，画面栩栩如生，人物身份一目了然，别有韵味。
I’ve been noticing some murals springing up in the city in recent months, even our humble HDB flats have been catching my eyes more. There are plenty of unique, compelling HDB blocks in Singapore which are painted in vibrant colours or feature giant murals on their walls, boasting all sorts of creative designs from abstract art to pop art. Their bright splashes of colour brightening up the once-grey walls, they never fail to perk me up! Singapore may be a concrete jungle, but as the murals on the streets and charming heritage buildings show us, you can find beautiful art almost everywhere in the city. Since many of the oldest and prettiest buildings have been demolished these past few years, it is time to start paying more attention and appreciate wall murals as a community. I don't wish to wait till it's too late to treasure the colourful murals around us.
The HDB void decks in Serangoon Central were given a fresh, colourful coat of paint. That’s the dose of nostalgia these murals offer. Many of those murals harken back to Singapore’s simple kampong days as a fishing village, while you’ll can also find a lively mix of everything from Sir Stamford Raffles to our modern buildings in the area. They are great examples of meaningful and impactful ground-up initiatives and the final product is a new appealing space that many residents, both young and old, treasure and are proud of.
Still think public housing blocks in Singapore are boring? I hope you'll change your mind after you get to the end of this article.
Art has traditionally been used as a medium of expression but conversations have often been restricted within the four walls of a gallery, catering only to a niche audience. However, arts and culture are not confined to just galleries and museums in Singapore anymore – they come alive on the void deck walls of many an HDB estate. Public art took on a life of its own, breaking down walls of confined spaces and spilling out to the heartlands, making the art experience accessible to all.
More murals – or rather, art pieces – were done up at another void deck in the West side of Singapore. Non-profit group Social Creatives transformed a portion of the void decks of Blocks 749 and 750 Jurong West St 73 into a ‘Picasso’ community art gallery. The gallery pays homage to spanish artist Pablo Picasso and his famous Cubism style by creating a more intimate relationship between the artists and the community through collaboration. This is also to encourage local residents to know more about the art history and embrace the arts culture of their city.
There is another thing I would say is perhaps not unique but certainly as a whole Picasso brand it is unique. There are so many stories, myths and legends surround Picasso brand that it’s hard to know which are true and which are partly true. This is what made him memorable and his name shareable to wider audience outside art connoisseurs and art collectors.
Today, Pop Art is one of the most instantly recognisable forms of art. The influence and mark of pop art artists can be seen in almost every aspect of our modern society. At first glance, Pop Art might seem to glorify popular culture by elevating soup cans, comic strips and hamburgers to the status of fine art on the walls of museums. Pop Art focused on mass production, celebrity and the expanding industries of advertising, TV, radio and print media. Ultimately, it shaped a completely new cultural identity in the field of art and design. The art movement aims to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art, thus blurring the lines between high and low arts.
Campbell’s Soup, Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and words like ‘whaam’ are some examples of Pop Art. If they aren’t enough of an indication, you can spot a Pop artwork pretty easily as they are bright and bold in colour. But while easily recognisable, artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein exhibited their own, unique style.
There is a pop art gallery in Singapore created by Social Creatives, which you do not need to pay any entry fee to visit, and that is located at Block 8 Holland Avenue, a HDB property in Queenstown estate. I was pretty excited about the exploration because I love bold pop art and just about any image inspired by it. The conclusion of the visit was that I found it so fascinating. Basically the paintings are spoofs of renowned pop art artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring added in with certain Singapore elements. The artists gave the artwork there a uniquely singaporean twist, so don’t be surprised to see words like “aiyoo” and “sedap” too. There are a few reasons why i personally like Pop Art which are elaborated as you browse the collection of photos below. See if you agree.
Step Into The World of Vincent Van Gogh at the Void Deck Art Gallery in Singapore MacPherson HDB estates
There are places in Singapore not many are aware of which has a good showcase of artworks – and I am not talking about galleries or museums, but your very own housing estates. For people who live in HDB would think that their public housing block look rather dull and lifeless. Standard practice on some buildings is to leave the first floor open, except for the structural elements. This area is called the "void deck".
In a void deck in MacPherson, you’ll find that the walls are painted in Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s signature yellow and blue, with reproductions of his famous artworks such as Sunflowers and Starry Night. Arts charity group Social Creatives calls it a “void deck art gallery”, said to be the first of its kind here.
You do not need to buy an air ticket to fly to Amsterdam to visit the Van Gogh Musuem to find artistic inspiration. Instead, take a stroll through one of Singapore’s heartlands at Macpherson HDB estates, to enjoy the colourful art gallery without visiting to any museum. It's so nice to see art and colour on what would otherwise have been ordinary plain walls. It's also a nice way to educate the public about art and show them some of the masterpieces of the great painters like Van Gogh.
Confession: I am quite obsessed with finding street art. I have a love for public art. Murals and street art are always a fun thing to photograph. It’s something I do in every city that has street art. Any travel day that I end up photographing multiple murals marks a truly successful day of travel photography, in my opinion.
In the past decade, there has been a surge in popularity of one particular type of art in Singapore, the mural. Murals improve the urban landscape around them and create a sense of community through shared visual experience. Much like the flowers, trees, and plants maintained throughout the city, murals provide a splash of color in parts of town dominated by brick, concrete, or limestone. It is no wonder that murals have become popular and they will continue to provide color downtown and throughout the city.
In between the sleek skyscrapers of our Housing Development Blocks (“HDB”), creativity blossoms on the walls of housing estates, in quiet alleyways, and within bustling neighborhoods, bringing with it a flutter of radiant energy and charm. I explored the whole of Hougang HDB town to hunt down as many artworks as humanly possible so that I could break down the works of art by neighborhood. I realised that they are a great addition to our sense of place and offer ‘belonging’ for the residents staying in Hougang, as well as for the arts community.
Here are some of the cool and creative designs I saw along the way, from edgy graffiti to retro scenes. I think the photos in this collection have done a pretty good job of photographing murals with some good results. I hope it helps you chart out your own course to see these sights up close.