Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Accidental Tourist - Hindu Silver Chariot Procession (Thaipusam)

Photography has again allowed me to see a different side of my multi-cultural multi-religious society in Singapore in my coverage of the Silver Chariot Ceremony that takes place the day before Thaipusam

According to Infopedia, the Hindu festival commemorates the feats of the Hindu God, Lord Subramaniam son of Lord Siva. It also acknowledges Subramaniam's triumph over the evil forces. According to the legend, Lord Siva sent his son Subramaniam to help the devas or celestial beings conquer the asuras or demons. After accomplishing this task, the victorious Subramaniam was believed to have appeared before his devotees. In the vision, he was bedecked with brilliant jewels, armed with a golden spear and seated on a chariot. Thus, on Thaipusam day, Lord Subramaniam's image, adorned and decorated, is placed on a silver chariot before his devotees. This is then taken in a procession the day before. Besides being acknowledged as a symbol of virtue, bravery, youth and beauty, the Hindus believe that Lord Subramaniam is also the universal dispenser of favours. Hence, some who have made vows and pledges to Lord Subramaniam prove their gratitude to him by undergoing self-mortification on Thaipusam day.

The silver chariot procession started at around 5a.m. at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple better known as the Chettiars' Temple at Tank Road (more info at with devotees walking down the road along Fort Canning before passing by the National Museum, down the road towards St. Andrew's Cathedral, round about past the Padang before taking the road along MICA building before heading down to Pickering Street and moving down towards Singapore's oldest Hindu Temple i.e. the Sri Mariamman Temple, South Bridge Road (more info at Hindu Endowment Board website) at around 7a.m. 

I am truly humbled by the experience as many of the devotees walked bare foot the entire journey. For me, it was basically a half-jog all the way as the silver chariot moved at a steady speed of some 20-40km/hr with the traffic police closing the roads as the procession went along. I was thoroughly tired after this experience but brought back with me memories of a totally different side of my home country as a result. 

Till the next time, onto the world and beyond! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Accidental Tourist - Bricks, bricks & more bricks! "The Art of the Brick" Exhibition at Singapore ArtScience Museum

What can a humble brick do?

Well, from the looks of what was displayed at the "The Art of the Brick" Exhibition at Singapore ArtScience Museum, a humble brick can certainly do wonders. I went there frankly because my son is crazy about Lego bricks and he basically pestered non-stop the minute he knew about the exhibition coming to Singapore. So armed with my trusty Nikon P7000, the entire family set off to see the exhibition on its 1st day of opening on 17 November 2012.

'Marvelous' is certainly a word that comes to mind when viewing the exhibition of sculptures made from the humble brick. Another word will be "WTW?" (aka "What in the World?" more a phase I know but with abbreviations, I can cheat ;)) - human torsos, gigantic skulls etc all conjured out with thought provoking ideas of what we are, who we are and what do we want to become.

Finish off the exhibition with a ginormous 6m long Dinosaur (T Rex no less) and you know you have entered a world that you can only exclaim "Wow!" at the end. My best take-away was from my son, who basically summed in all by saying "I want to be able to do this with my Lego bricks!"

Till the next time, onto the world & beyond! 

The artist Nathan Sawaya 

Thought provoking pieces

The Think-er & the Kneel-er 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Accidental Tourist - Sentosa-Old and New experiences at iFly Singapore & Underwater World

Kiddos had a treat last year when they were treated to old and new experiences. 

New experience is their skydives at the iFly @ Sentosa, one of Sentosa's newest attraction which is also the largest wind tunnel. Kids got their 2 skydives worth and a DVD to take home plus loads of lovely memories of floating in the air (aka weightlessness). 

How big? website info: spans 16.5 feet wide and 56.5 feet tall, it is the only wind tunnel with an 18 feet tall acrylic glass wall that lets you enjoy an unparalleled view of South China Sea and Siloso Beach. (

Slightly jaded but still great experience is the Underwater World where you get on a travelevator to be transported to a world where you are one with the ocean (albeit a few seconds). Photography is challenging in such an environment where everything comes out blue & people are plenty & to add to all that, the darn fish keep swimming! ;) but I decided to give it a shot anyway with my Nikon P7000 at hand & found it quite pleasing. Next time, will bring a proper tripod with my DSLR and find a weekday (hopefully with fewer people)  to take some decent shots. 

Till the next time, onto the world & beyond!