Sunday, November 10, 2013

Titans of the Past

Many years ago, I visited an exhibition at the Science Centre featuring dinosaurs and many animals from the prehistoric age. The name of that exhibition was Dinosaurs! A T-rex named SUE and Friends. I have written about that visit on this blog, Back to the Ancient World. That was a pretty memorable visit which acquainted me with the replica of a gigantic T-rex.

Recently, I learnt that yet another exhibition on dinosaurs is now being showcased at the Singapore Science Centre. This exhibition, Titans of the Past: Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals, focuses on the growth and behaviours of dinosaurs. The exhibition features the original research conducted by the Museum of Rockies Paleontologist, Dr Jack Horner, and his research team.

I went recently to this exhibition and was pleased with myself for making the visit. What has left the deepest impression on me was the display of the replicas of the skulls of the triceratops which illustrated how the face of the Triceratops would change from juvenile to adult stages. The theory is that Triceratops being social animals, will need ways to recognize when a young Triceratops reaches sexual maturity. To allow visual differentiation between the juvenile and the adult Triceratops, the horns and the epoccipitals of the Triceratops would look different. When you are at the exhibition, please check out "The Juvenile Triceratops Mini Theatre". This section illustrates how the triceratops grew using animation. I have found the animation pretty entertaining.

The admission to this exhibition is possibly on the higher side at $25 per adult because of the animatronics. I learnt that these animatronics were from Kokoro in Japan. The animatronics looked realistic. These animatronics help visitors to imagine how the various prehistoric animals might have looked like.

In one of the exhibition's galleries, life-sized dinosaur skeletal casts stood close to one another as if they were competing with one another. While I have no idea what competition these dinosaur skeletal casts were involved in, it was humbling to stand beside these giants! The cast of the Argentinosaurus stood 36 metres in length and 7 metres in height. The Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) stood 11 metres long and 4 metres high.

Children visiting this exhibition can look forward to a hands-on activity that would allowed them to role-play as fossil hunters. Instead of playing with the sand to build sandcastles, children were seen totally focused on uncovering the 'fossils'.

In comparison, I have found the section on the Ice Age Mammals less intriguing. Although the animatronics in this section were brilliantly done, I felt that this section did not give me much insights to the general behaviours of Ice Age Mammals. Maybe not much studies have been done on these animals from the Ice Age than the T-Rex? Then again, maybe it was because I was rushing for time by the time I have reached this section?

In general, please set aside at least two hours for this exhibition. Although I had finished walking through this exhibition in about one and a half hours, I felt I was rushing through the exhibition. 

This is quite an interesting exhibition to visit if you are interested in the growth and behaviours of the dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.

Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals
25 Oct 2013 - 23 Feb 2014
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
Science Centre Singapore, The Annexe
15 Science Centre Road
Singapore 609081

Admission Charges (inclusive of Science Centre entry):
$25 - adult

Monday, November 04, 2013

A quick overview of the Singapore Biennale 2013

The Singapore Biennale is here again. In essence, it is Singapore's biennale of contemporary art. The theme of Singapore Biennale 2013 is If the World Changed. The theme, as mentioned in the Biennale's short guide, is "an invitation to artists to respond to and reconsider the worlds we live in, and the worlds we want to live in". The artworks at the Singapore Biennale reflect how the artists think about this very theme.

This year's biennale focuses on Southeast Asia as a zone of art practice. There were a few works by artists from other parts of Asia as well. Interestingly, 27 distinguished curators from the participating countries were engaged to select recent or newly created works for this biennale.

Lim Shing Ee and Kazunori Takeishi's "Mangrowe".
At SAM@8Q.
A whimsical sculpture that makes us ponder over the dichotomy of the natural and the technological.

What could a layperson or an art enthusiast take away from Singapore Biennale 2013? Other than exposing one's visual senses to the various forms of visual or experiential art, Singapore Biennale 2013 will engage its visitors to think about the world that we live in, be it in the past, the present or the future. Be prepared to be nudged to reflect and to think.

Eko Prawoto's "Wormhole" has left an impression.
At the National Museum of Singapore.
What would it be if the buildings that we live in were made of bamboo?

If you prefer an easier way to appreciate some of the nuances and the meanings behind the artwork, it is strongly recommended that you join one of the guided tours. Otherwise, it may help if you visit the Singapore Biennale 2013 with a friend so that you can have someone to engage in a conversation with after viewing each of the artworks. For the people who loves journaling, it may help to write down your thoughts and reflections from your visit to the Singapore Biennale 2013 on a journal.

Lai Chee Kien's "National Theatre@50".
Near Tank Road. Opposite Fort Canning Park.
Remembering the National Theatre of Singapore that was opened in 1963 and demolished in 1986.

Singapore Biennale 2013 feautres the works of 82 artists and artists collectives. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the treats to numerous contemporary artworks from the Southeast Asian region. If time is not an issue, it may help to spread out your visits to the nine venues over the course of at least two days. Please plan in ample time to take a good break between your visits to the various venues. Too much of good art in a single seating can be an overdose.

Shirley Soh's "Seeing (from) the Other".
At the Peranakan Museum.

Even if it could be an overdose, the Singapore Biennale 2013 is not to be missed if you are concerned about the state of the contemporary art in the Southeast Asian region. Somehow, I was reminded that there is a sense of shared humanity between the various Southeast Asian countries.

If it was due to budget issue that had held you back from attending the Singapore Biennale 2013, you will be delighted to know that there will be free entry to selected Singapore Biennale venues from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. during the Biennale's Open House. The two upcoming ones will be during Christmas (25 Dec 2013) and Chinese New Year (1 Feb 2014). Mark the dates on your diary please.

Kumari Nahappan's "Anahata" (2013).
At the Singapore Art Museum.
A visually stunning work with a very thoughtful idea of change.

Singapore Biennale 2013
26 Oct 2013 - 16 Feb 2014

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Remembrance Sunday Service at Kranji War Memorial will be on 10 Nov 2013

Last year, I took part in my first Remembrance Sunday service at the Kranji War Memorial. In essence, as best as I could understand, Remembrance Day is a day to remember the British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty since the end of World War I. Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, which is the Sunday nearest to Remembrance Day. This year, Remembrance Sunday falls on 10 Nov 2013.

If you are interested to take part in a similar service this year on Remembrance Sunday, I have found out from the Singapore St. Andrew's Society's website the following information on the service:

Title: Service of Remembrance
Venue: Kranji War Memorial
Date: 10 Nov 2013 (Sun)
Time: 7.30 a.m.
Nearest MRT station: Kranji MRT station
Bus services to get there: 160, 170, 178, 960, 961

To get to the Kranji War Memorial, unless you are an important invited guest who will be given special access passes to drive into the Kranji War Memorial, I highly recommend you travel to the War Memorial using any one of the following methods:

1) Take the MRT train to Kranji MRT station. Either walk or take bus services number: 160, 170, 178, 960, 961 to bus stop #45119 (two bus-stops away) along Woodlands Rd. Take a 10 -15 minutes stroll into the Kranji War Memorial.

2) Take a taxi to Woodlands Rd and alight nearby bus-stop #45119. Then take a 10 - 15 minutes stroll into the Kranji War Memorial.

For more directions to get to the Kranji War Memorial, please read: How to get to Kranji War Memorial by Leone Fabre.

Attire wise, you may like to take note that even though there is no specified dress code, I had observed that most of the guests will be wearing uniforms or formal attire for the service.

If you would like to learn about my experiences attending the Remembrance Sunday service at Kranji War Memorial last year, please visit: