Sunday, March 30, 2014

Exploring Singapore in three days, part 3

I was in Singapore in January to attend an MBA orientation for prospective students at INSEAD. While there, I took the time to explore the city and learn a bit more about its history and culture.

I aside from eating, shopping, and visiting museums and art galleries, I also checked out the houses of worship. It's fascinating to see temples of different religions just a few paces away from each other. I didn't enter the Hindu temples but I was allowed to observe what's going in a Chinese temple. No photographs were allowed inside, so I just took photos outside the temples. The temples' facades were more ornate and complex than those of Roman Catholic churches. I've never been to Hindu temples so the experience of seeing some up close was overwhelming, if not intimidating. The Chinese temple was similar to the temple I've visited in Cebu City so it wasn't such a foreign experience. I visited Roman Catholic parishes and was free to talk photos of the exteriors and the interiors. One thing I noticed was that the churches I went to were in various stages of repair... reminds me of the Earthquake Baroque-style churches in Ilocos. However, the churches in Singapore are relatively newer than the centuries-old structures in Ilocos, I think. 

The one foreign concept I've noticed in Singapore (and it's the first time I've seen this anywhere in my limited travels) is that some of the churches have been converted into art spaces or into restaurants. It, I think, is an indicator that either the congregation of the particular church is getting smaller or the congregation has moved to a different location and the structure has some historical value so it cannot be demolished. In the Philippines and in Australia, I've seen the opposite: cavernous halls being used as venues for church events and then being used for secular functions right after.

Visiting these places just shows I need to get out more. I'm not as well-traveled as other people, and I find myself fascinated by the new sites, sounds, and flavors... typical of a country mouse in the big city