Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

High tea at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore 2012

Posted by Lisa Hill on August 20, 2012

The plan for today was to visit the Art & Science Museum – but what a let-down that turned out to be!  There were two special exhibitions: the Harry Potter one, which didn’t interest us at all, and the Andy Warhol one, (of mild interest) and the 4th floor science display, which was what we really wanted to see.  However, you could only get into the science display if you bought a ticket for Harry Potter or the Andy Warhol, so that’s what we did.  And then we went up to the 4th floor.

The display consisted of two rooms with interactive screens that projected stuff onto the walls.  There was not one fossil, or rock, or coin, or exhibit of any kind.  It was all completely digital.  The stuff that was projected onto the walls was complete drivel, and it took us less than half a millisecond to work out that the place was a complete waste of time.   What a shame that kids who are interested in science might be fobbed off with this place!

Anyway, we then went down to see the Andy Warhol exhibition which was quite interesting but not $15 worth of interesting.

So we cut our losses, crossed over the bridge and took a short walk along the esplanade.  It was rather hot so we went into the first available building which turned out to be the Esplanade Mall.  It was deliciously cool, there was a nice place called Loola’s for a restorative cup of tea, and upstairs where the concert halls were, there was also a library!

From there we continued along the waterfront until we reached The Fullerton, a grand hotel which was the Post Office, pre war.  We had planned to have lunch there, but it turned out that they offered High Tea in The Courtyard, with a glass of champagne and music from a grand piano.   So that’s what we had instead, and very nice it was too.

We have to check out of here at 11.30 pm tonight, for our 2:30 am flight to Moscow.  Such are the hardships of the long-haul Aussie traveller, I hope they wake us up if we nod off in the departure lounge!

Update (back at home)

On reflection, I might have been a bit harsh about the Art and Science Museum.  It stands to reason that not every city can have a grand science collection – the major museums of the world already have most of it, and since most of the great discoveries in science happened in Europe, it stands to reason that early chronometers and steam engines and whatnot belong where they are, not in Singapore.  Singapore is a young country and it doesn’t have a history of hordes of amateur gentlemen naturalists and paleontologists pillaging the world for specimens either.  A collection of any significance would have to be bought, probably at vast expense, assuming that it were possible to acquire something worth having.

When it comes to more recent discoveries in science – bio and nano-technologies and advances in physics that I don’t even know the names of – Singaporeans may have played a part in these advances, but it’s hardly the kind of science you can bung in a glass cabinet for kids to pore over.  I’ve seen the Wellcome Exhibition in London, showcasing medical discoveries and I have to say that it’s not nearly as interesting as the fossil collections or the stuffed extinct animals.

A digital museum actually makes sense in that context.  Ok, you can’t have the British Museum or even the Melbourne one in Singapore.  And it’s probably not worth the expense and effort of having a token traditional science museum.  But maybe you can have a digital alternative with animals and interactive thingies that can generate interest in science and explain key concepts.  Maybe to the digital generation, (especially if they haven’t been to what I call The Real Thing) those images projected on the wall are appealing.  Maybe I’m not their demographic!

4 Responses to “High tea at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore 2012”

  1. Oh those early hours of the morning flights are a bit of a killer aren’t they.

    Love the photo of you in front of the library … and that high tea looks pretty nice. I imagine anything would be nice if it involved airconditioning and comfortable seats!

  2. I’d forgotten you transitted through here when I was planning our trip, Lisa. I’m sorry I didn’t so end more time looking at the Fullerton. We were on the Esplanade quite late in the day. It looked like a lovely old building.

    I like your addendum to the Art Science Museum. I think it is a different sort of place and as I understand it, it’s main focus is the travelling exhibitions so it’s a bit of the luck of the draw. I really liked the Liebowitz but wasn’t at all interested in dinosaurs.

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