Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Singapore, Day 3 - II, Merlion & Gold

I continued walking over the esplanade bridge where there was a lovely breeze and found the Merlion. I had brought ‘flat cat’ with me on my trip. Flat cat was a school project of one of my niece’s, where the students drew a crayon picture of a cat, gave it to a family member and then that family member traveled far away, taking photographs of the paper cat in that distant local. Flat cat was to be returned later. I had a Singaporean police officer take a picture of me and flat cat in front of the Merlion. An Australian student of Indian descent interviewed me on my thoughts about the Merlion because of the controversy about it. Guess I said that it seemed kind of artificial, but wasn’t hurting anything, could draw tourist dollars, so what was the harm anyhow? He was very nice and handsome.

I walked back to Chinatown and found a Taoist-Buddhist Temple called Thain Hock Keng Temple or Temple of Heavenly Happiness which was built in 1841. It is dedicated to Ma Po Cho, the Mother of Heavenly Sages and Protector of Sailors. It was open! The gilt and painted wood work was intricate and beautiful and I took pictures with it in mind to come home and copy a door design of a coiling dragon. The interior of the temple was scented with the coiling smoke of incense, the sound of falling water from the courtyard pools and was very ancient and peaceful. I lingered as long as I could enjoying the moments, but sadly had to move on.

I went back to Chan Foon’s and bought a pair of the 22 karat fish earrings (13 x 10 x 4 mm) and the fish necklace pendant (38 x 8 x 5 mm, but hollow). I also had to buy a heavy enough chain to hold the pendant and have the earrings put on wires solid enough to hold them, per the kind clerk’s suggestion. I looked very hard for a ring (at these prices who wouldn’t?) but could not find one that I liked. The total bill for the whole shebang was S$311 or US$217. I wore the earrings and necklace out of the store. So was the day's shopping all done, you may ask? Of course not! Stay tuned fearless readers...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

what merlion controversy?

evie

Sue said...

I guess that when the Merlion was built many native Singaporeans felt that their country had enough history and attractions to see without having to create something new for tourists to focus on. So, the question was, "why?" Also, the Merlion is a combination of lion and mermaid, and some questioned this amalgamation. This is my limited understanding of the situation as an outsider.

Wild Reeds said...

The Merlion *is* sorta kitschy, but now it's become the defining icon of Singapore, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Big Ben in London. In a warped sort of way, befitting actually... given how man-made everything in Singy is anyways. The walk you described is beautiful. Also along Boat Quay.

Sue said...

Yes, it was a beautiful walk, wild reeds. It was also the only place where there was a breeze! No, the views were astounding; somewhat like what I picture Hong Kong would be like.

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