Feb 19, 2010

On the Quest for Immortality at the National Museum

Quest for Immortality Banner

NHB had the customary Chinese New Year Open House on Tuesday, which marked the end of the long weekend Chinese New Year holidays. While people were stuffing themselves silly with bak kwa, pineapple tarts and their pocket with red packets, I took to the streets on Monday and Tuesday brandishing my camera ready for action mission. I had a "field day" looking for trees, walls, buildings and cemeteries. The National Museum I visited with this mentality, that the imaginary crowd were still chewing on their tarts at home.
While Open House allowed free access (free as in free of charge) to the exhibits and galleries, there is a "piece of history" (literally) outside the main entrance largely ignored by the imaginary crowd flocking to the museum. At 1030 the crowd still belonged to the imaginary realm, unlike my experience on International Museum Day where the crowd was very real. Yes, I saw pockets of people arriving, but pockets do not constitute a crowd.

Time Capsule
What is the "piece of history" outside the museum entrance?  That will be my old friend the manhole, no I mean the time capsule, if you still remember my first amazing red dot quiz. The capsule was broken into, if you check the perimeter slab. Not an act of vandalism but the capsule's expiry date was up - in December 2009.

I didn't intend to wander aimlessly in the museum. I had a definite goal (or goals if you count my visitation of the manhole). Before long I was climbing up the stairs to the second storey, having ignored the museum staff's introduction at the entrance. Objective was the Singapore History Gallery. I brisked through the various gallery set-ups to look for a specific something I remember from my past visit. Betcha don't know what is it - the material for my upcoming blockbuster topic, hehe.

The Companion
The Companion - your multimedia guide for the Singapore History Gallery. Picture taken during my first visit in 2008. Opps, I have not been blogging.

An interesting conversation took place at the entrance of the gallery where the Companion is distributed by friendly museum staff. The staff will try their best to make sure you get one since the unique gallery experience is lost if you don't. So there was this group of tourists - French I'm sure - who were handed the audio multimedia guide. They asked - in English - whether the guide is available in French. Obviously it is not as only English, Mandarin, Malay and Japanese are currently supported. The tourists, to my surprise, then declined the Companion! The staff, not giving up, suggested just one guide for the whole group.

I discovered a long queue inside the museum after my stint in the Singapore History Gallery. The queue came as a surprise - I thought the folks were still chewing on their tarts and stuffing themselves silly with bak kwa? How come there is a queue just one hour after the museum opens? As I descended into the museum basement, the truth began to dawn on me - the folks were on the quest for immortality in the National Museum. The queue was pretty discouraging, so I gave the immortality exhibition a miss (read PY's visit to the exhibition during the Christmas holiday) and made a beeline for the museum exit, without checking out the carrier bags exhibition.

The Queue

The Queue

The Queue
The queue snaked all the way from basement where exhibition is held (middle photo) to the museum entrance (bottom photo). Access to escalator connecting ground floor to basement is restricted (top photo), to control the crowd visiting the exhibition.

Tiger Woods "played many holes but paid dearly" according to a poem by Victor. I also played many holes, without paying dearly. I mean loopholes.

In the above, first photo shows a queue at the ground floor. The escalator was blocked to control the crowd going down to the basement. Since I did not queue up, how did I gain access to the basement in the second photo?


Victor said...

Erm... you went in through the manhole?

Icemoon said...

Not man or woman hole but loophole.