SINGAPORE 2019 – A fairytale in the Garden City

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to live in the future? Perhaps you can visualize a city among a garden? In the winter vacation of 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to a country that most other nations consider as the ‘model city’ – Singapore – an enchanting modern metropolis. A city planned 50 years in the future, and I did not believe that myself until I saw it with my own eyes.

Combine this with the opportunity to study an exchange at one of the world’s best universities, the renowned Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and this trip was even more amazing. Over the 4 weeks in June-July, my 5 friends and I from UTS embarked on a trip of a lifetime, discovering every aspect the tiny nation of Singapore had to offer.

NTU has one of the best campuses of any University, it has its own residential dorms, bus lines, gyms, pools and fast food joints like McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks etc. It was also an incredible learning opportunity to be taught by professors with over 30 years of experience in their respective fields of Cyber Security and Project Management.

One of the most interesting aspects of Singapore was the food. Delicious, cheap, abundant and diverse. It makes me wonder how a country with no agricultural space, hot-humid annual weather and a huge population can have such a huge variety and seemingly endless supply of food. I also got to try the highly anticipated Chili Crab but was left a little disappointed.

Travelling was a breeze. Singapore has developed one of the world’s most technologically advanced and efficient infrastructure for the Metro system (MRT), public buses and ride sharing services – GRAB. Automated trains run from sunrise to midnight at an amazing frequency of 3 mins and buses are not a minute late. Singapore may be small but it is hugely dynamic and fluid.

Singapore does not have the natural beauty that many other countries in the world are gifted with, but oh boy do they impress with their modern architecture. Singapore has a vast indoor, underground and vertical infrastructure rivaled by few cities. One of their most magnificent structures and landmarks is the Marina Bay Sands hotel in the heart of the bay.  The huge towers are a symbol of prosperity, art and affluence. At night, water shows, and light shows in the neighboring Gardens by the Bay bring the city to life. It was here I spent a majority of my time exploring and admiring the city. We also spent a lot of our time enjoying the cooler climate in the many shopping complexes around the city which are open till 10pm daily! One of my most favourite shopping destinations were the famous Orchard Road and Jewel at Changi, a new entertainment hub recently inaugurated.

Singapore also has some unique natural attractions to offer such as Sentosa Island and Henderson’s Waves. It was fun to visit the Southernmost part of continental Asia, visiting the largest Merlion on the island and riding on the Luge with friends at Sentosa.

Singapore has a rich history and it was humbling to learn about the birth of a nation through my visit to the National Art Gallery, National Museum and visiting several heritage places such as the Supreme Court, Pulau Ubin, Haji Lane, Little India, Chinese Gardens and so on.

Whether it was attending 8-hour lectures, exploring the city in 35C heat, playing Uno on campus with friends or relaxing at Marina Lighthouse and seeing the city at night, Singapore was a truly fairytale experience and one to cherish for many, many years to come.

If you get the opportunity, do not miss a chance to visit the Garden City yourself!

– Ahnaf Rahman
Bachelor of Information Technology Co-op

Two-Weeks In Singapore!


As a multicultural nation, Singapore faces the difficult challenge of bringing together communities of different ethnicities, beliefs, cultures and languages. As the focal point of the subject, it was fascinating to see how this reflected in every aspect of Singaporean culture: from packaging and signage, to community spaces and entire suburbs. I would not have known the extent of this had I not visited the country for Interdisciplinary Lab B (Global).

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As one of the 19 students who visited Singapore for the two-week program, Interdisciplinary Lab B was an enriching and rewarding experience. For the first week we had the opportunity to visit three distinct areas of Singapore: Kampong Glam, Chinatown and Little India. Kampong Glam, the Malay sector, was picturesque with beautiful mosques (Sultan Mosque) and boutique lanes (Haji Lane, Arab St). In Chinatown, the new year was rapidly approaching so we were treated to celebrations and markets revolving around the Year of the Pig. The intense scents of herbs and spices were vividly present in Little India, as they too set up for their own Harvest Festival. As the focal point of the second assessment, each came with their own heritage design challenges, including loss of culture in some cases. Visiting the Heritage Centre in each district, I developed an understanding and appreciation for their unique cultures and histories.

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Historically, Singapore has been recognised as an international trading port, connecting countries together. More recently however, Singapore has experienced a transformative socio-cultural shift from international trading port to thriving business hub. It was incredible to observe this in the Singaporean urban landscape, with its multistorey, modern skyscrapers juxtaposed with the old heritage buildings like Hawker Centres (Lau Pa Sat) and Temples, like the Sultan Mosque. These contrasting architectural designs, so different to Australia, really cemented the fact I was truly overseas. That, and the humidity which I never got used to!

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Singapore’s true multiculturalism is something we can all learn from in Australia. I would 100% recommend Interdisciplinary Lab B (Singapore) as a subject to undertake due to it being such a wonderful, enriching study experience. I feel that it has added to my studies as a visual communication student in a unique way by broadening my horizons. As my first time overseas by myself, there were many challenges I had to overcome and I feel that by dealing with these, I have become more resilient, adaptable and independent.

Madeleine Pagett

Singapore Heritage Adventure

Over the summer break of 2017, I decided to go on an adventure in Singapore for one of my core subject. In this trip, I have explored Singapore heritage through Chinatown, Little India as well as Kampong Glam. These areas are fascinating, beautiful and it is amazing to learn their heritage and their architectures are breath-taking.

 

Chinatown

We walked through Chinatown and explored their temple and heritage centre. The design of the temple has shown the Chinese Identity and you can see a lot of people worshipping the Chinese gods such as Buddha. Taking a walk to the heritage centre, in here, we learned a lot of the traditional career choices and lifestyles including their home interior designs and backgrounds. Also through one of the computer, you can find your last name’s origin however it only targets at Chinese last name. But if you are really interested, you can search up a last name and look for it in the system.

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Temple

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Inside the temple

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the origins of my last name

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Inside the heritage centre

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Learning their traditional Lifestyle

 

Little India

Inside the Little India area, you can see a lot of Indian citizens as well as tourists walking through the streets looking at fabrics, food and walking towards a temple. The temple has kept its unique India identity designs, you can see people sitting in the middle of the ground praying in the form of song and words. Walking around, you can smell the woody incense and the little Indian god designs at the top of the temple are fascinating art and definitely worth the trip. These little trip helps to identify and understand the Singaporean Indian culture.

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Inside the temple

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Sweet Factory

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Inside the heritage centre

 

Kampong Glam

This is where I get allocated to for my group project, Kampong Glam is an area of Singaporean Malay citizens live and where most of the heritages are find (maybe). The heritage centre used to be a residence and they reused the place for exhibitions purposes. This allows people to walk through in a better setting and helps them to understand the histories better as they are right in the place. Walk to the right side of the heritage centre, you can see the Sultan Temple which tells you that the mix heritage of Malay, Lebanese, Turkish and Arab. The gentrification of the area can be seen easily in this area, as the development of Haji Lane which is more of a hipster lane with graffiti on the walls. This has indeed attracted a lot tourists but it also helped Kampong Glam to lose its Malay identity.

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Kampong Glam Heritage Centre

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Sultan Temple

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Haji Lane

 

This adventure helped me to explore three important heritage places of Singapore and also allows me to analyse Kampong Glam as research for my group project. I am very thankful for being this part of the studio and would definitely encourage students to take Lab B.

Jing Yi Sun