For Cartophiles – Map Mania at the NLB

I love maps, and I was pleasantly surprised when I made my way up to rehearsals at the Drama Centre Theatre yesterday, because there was this display in the lobby of the National Library (Central) featuring the first topographical map of Singapore.

That is part of an exhibition on maps called “Geo|Graphic: Celebrating Maps and their Stories“. I plan to check it out when we get a break from preparing for the show. It (both the show and the exhibition) promises to be fascinating.

For instance, did you know that Tampines, Toa Payoh and Gelang were named more than a hundred years ago? Or that the terminal building of Kallang Airport still stands?

Bukit Timah 1947
Painstakingly preserved map of Singapore City from 1947 (from National Archives of Singapore)


The Boy From Oz, Sung By The Singapore Boy

It’s Australia Day, and what better way to celebrate it than to help Hossan rehearse for his show – a song from which is written by our favourite Australian songwriter, Peter Allen.

Hossan and I watched the original The Boy From Oz musical staged in Sydney in 1998, before it was tweaked for Broadway with Allen played by Hugh Jackman. It was through this musical that I realised so many songs I love were written by this immensely talented man who lived an incredibly remarkable life.

I’m very glad a Peter Allen song made the cut for Hossan-Ah: Safe & Secure In His Leong Arms, which opens this Wednesday night. Let me know if you need tickets – I got lobang for discount.

Je Suis Singapourien

As with many others in Singapore, I wouldn’t have noticed what was lacking in the local rags’ reporting of the Charlie Hedbo massacre. Once I was alerted to it, I got really upset.

You had to scroll down at least three-quarters of any of the papers’ stories before you saw any mention of the murderers’/terrorists’ ideology driven motives. It’s very easy to think it’s ok to think, “this is a sensitive region, we’re in a sensitive time, some idiot wrote some shit on their Facebook and so we shouldn’t inflame things further, so let’s shut up about religion and ideology for now”.

It is a most shameful silence we are perpetrating if we don’t really come out and speak out against people killing and spreading hate in the name of their religion. So please, come off it, and know that saying it like it is will protect, not harm, our Muslim fellow citizens from people who will by all means take the Charlie Hedbo massacre as a reason to deny them of theirs and our right to practice our religion.

If our press keeps going on like this, you’d imagine they would have described the Holocaust as merely “six million civilians killed in conflict”.

Stand up, Singapore! “Regardless of language, race or religion” doesn’t mean we disregard them.

Before We Got Kai Kai & Jia Jia

Stoned Kai Kai & Jia Jia - Haw Par Villa (via Expat Bostonians)
Stoned Kai Kai & Jia Jia – Haw Par Villa (via Expat Bostonians)

With so many new attractions every year, it’s easy to forget we have an awesome theme park in Pasir Panjang that’s been around since the 1950s. I last visited in 1974, and I think it’s got something to do with the theme of the theme park. It’s NSFW. Actually, it’s pretty much NSFAnything.

Here’s what Cory Doctorow saw in 2005 when he was in Singapore. Haw Par Villa was one of two hellish places he visited. The other was Sim Lim Square.