Thursday, March 23, 2006

In that red building, the Red Dot Museum

June Yong's post on titled Baby, You can turn me on prompted me to visit the Red Dot Museum when I was at Tanjong Pagar area for lunch recently.

The Red Dot Museum is housed within the building named Red Dot Traffic.

What caught my eye most of all when I was approaching the Red Dot Museum was the striking red colour of the Red Dot Traffic building. I got to find out that this colonial-style building used to be the headquarters of the traffic police.

Unconvinced that anyone would have painted the building's exterior completely red, I walked around the perimeters of the building. True enough, the back of the building was in white. My only question on my mind was: Is that white colour the original colour of the building? Could someone please enlighten me?

When I was at the entrance of the Red Dot Museum, I took a while to read the basic general information to find out if I had missed the operating hours, and to find out the admission rates. For your convenience, please refer to this URL for the visitor's general information:

After much thought, I decided to visit the museum.

On hindsight, I wish there was a designer who could share with me the concepts behind the various designs. Reading the synopsis and the description helped a bit, but it did not bring the designs to life.

I know I might have enjoyed the visit much more if I could better understand the cultural and societal context in which the designer of each piece of work comes from. It would have been beneficial if the designer could be present to share with me his/her source of inspirations. All these might have helped me better appreciate why certain works were designed in particular ways. Otherwise, those exhibits are just simply exhibits to me. They can never transcend into objects with interesting stories to tell and practical functions to perform.

Nevertheless, I have gathered some exposure to some new ideas.

I thought it was a brilliant idea to have a tool that not only slices the cake, but could also be used to serve the sliced piece of cake.

Shoe for those in prolonged kneeling position
This shoe is special. I understand that it is designed for people who may have be in a prolonged kneeling position in the course of doing their work. A practical yet interesting design, in my opinion.

Portfolio case
The portfolio case looked simple yet functionable. I like its light and simple design.

If you were to ask me if I would visit this museum again, my answers would go like this: If there is a change in exhibits, or if there is a guide who is a designer himself/herself to enlighten me on how to better appreciate the designs.

Otherwise, I anticipate that I could not quite relate very much to the exhibits as I would like to. Maybe I have higher expectations?

That aside, I was making a visit to the museum's ladies and I found that even the taps in the washrooms have quite interesting designs. Please view below for an example:

After the visit to the museum, I walked about the building. There is a relatively quiet Pacific Coffee cafe within the premises of Red Dot Traffic. I might have sat down for a breather if not for the fact that I was not in the mood to sit in a cafe then.

Enough said, do read June's post: Baby, You can turn me on. It has a more enthuasiastic tone than this very post.

Saturday, March 11, 2006



Foreword: This post is adapted from one of the posts that I have written on

On 4 Mar 06, I chose to put aside time to visit one of my favourite museums in Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum. I was there to attend one of the Singapore Art Museum’s Public Programmes: Walking Tour - St Joseph's Institution and Bras Basah. It was conducted in Mandarin.

The speaker, Mr Han Tan Juan (veteran journalist and cultural researcher), shared with us some interesting pieces of information that I had never knew of until that day. Let me give you some examples:
- Why was the St Joseph's Institution building in Bras Basah popularly referred to as the "Three Figures"(san gong gia)?
- Brass Bassa” means "Wet Rice" in Malay.
- The prison that used to sit on the grounds of Bras Basah area.

He also spoke about how the French had contributed to education in Singapore when Singapore was a British colony.

Mr Han also shared briefly about the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) during the programme. This convent has been restored to become what we now commonly refer to as CHIJMES.

The convent was first set up with the intention of providing education for girls. In 1854, poor and disabled girls were sent there. Babies were abandoned at the Convent gates. As such, the convent evolved to become the Convent Orphanage and Home for Abandoned Babies.

The gate where babies were abandoned was referred to as The Gate of Hope. We can still see it today. It is located within the current premises of CHIJMES. To attempt to keep readers in suspense, I shall not disclose the exact location. The challenge is for you to find its exact current location.

Here is a glimpse of how The Gate of Hope looks like:

The Gate of Hope

The nearby plaque reads, "At this small gate of the former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), many babies were abandoned in basket to be picked by the Sisters of the Convent. This was the origin of the Home for Abandoned Babies..."

The plaque summarised the functions served by the small gate that you would see on the photograph above. I was told that the Sisters would purposely not have anyone to watch the gate. This is so that the identities of whoever had chosen to abandon the babies would be kept unknown. The babies were cared for and given education. They were given, hope.

Today, CHIJMES is a premiere lifestyle location. I particularly like its architectural style. There are also some good dining places within the premises of CHIJMES. I might have tried sampling the food from all the restaurants in its premises if not for the fact that I am yet a billionaire.

There is so much history that CHIJMES could tell. For your convenience, I shall leave you with some URLs to read for more information about the past of CHIJMES. Enjoy!

If you have been tempted to attend similar programmes at the Singapore Art Museum, I suggest that you could check out this site ( for more information.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Heritage and museums

Walk into the enriching world of Singapore's heritage and museums by visiting this blog:

I'll take this chance to share with you one of the posts on the above-mentioned blog. This post is titled Art is a many splendoured thing. Written by June, it gives an account of her recent experience visiting the Singapore Art Museum.

Perhaps because I've found it relatively easy to relate to works of art, the Singapore Art Museum has been one of my favourite museums in Singapore. Art appreciation is often an inspiring process which can open one to view the world from different perspectives.

Meantime, enjoy June's post on the Singapore Art Museum as she takes you around the museum.

For more posts related to heritage and museums, you could check out