[Travel] Singapore 15-18 October 2010: Friend’s Wedding & Sightseeing
I visit Singapore this time for a friend’s wedding.
My flight is delayed by two hours, so I arrive by Midnight. I go directly to the Hostel in Chinatown by MRT. A Beary Good Hostel, is a minute away (actually is less than a minute!) from the MRT). I just have to look around because the stair up to the hostel is hidden behind the shops.
My friend’s wedding is at the True Way Presbyterian Church. This is why I love MRT. With high heels, yeah, it helps how close the Chinatown MRT and Queenstown MRT is!
I am nervous because I never been to a Church wedding (I usually just skip to the receptions for my other friends’ wedding). It’s interesting! Reminds me of the mass when I was in school, even singing Joyful Joyful brings back solemn memories.
While waiting inside the chapel, I’m playing with Ziggy, my camera, (short for Zigeuner, meaning Gypsy in German =P) for like 30-40 minutes.
The ceremony starts at 10:30ish, with hymns, and passages, from the Bible, Genesis 2:21-25, reading.
Then enter JQ with her father down the aisle. (This is the first time I see JQ’s Husband in real life =^^=, mostly I see him on JQ’s FB). After JQ’s father gives her to Dharmawan, they are seated in front of the altar and the ceremony begins.
The Sermon is both English and Indonesia and is quite entertaining, because the Priest is energetic and the translator has to keep up with him.
They exchange vows and rings. (insert sniffling here, my oldest friend is getting married!).
After that, they sign the marriage papers.
They are now Mr. and Mrs Tjokro. I’m told that JQ still keep her full name but in functions, in Indonesia, she will be called Mrs. Tjokro. *g*
After some photos (family on both sides, friends, co-workers, etc etc etc, including old school friends), we have lunch on the second floor (before I depart, JQ told me not to go home yet @ _ @ uh oh).
Another intermission with a pair of duet singers with lovely, lovely voices, and the game is on. A bit of speech from the Groom and the Bride. Some flashback videos, and my all time favorite is how Dharmawan proposed to JQ (insert Mission impossible theme here) with the help of friends and family, they plot, they execute the plan, a bit mishap (note: JQ doesn’t like sour juice!), and he came in camouflage behind balloons. XD so cute!
Then comes the awards for long time friends, close friends…
And then, surprisingly, shockingly, I have to give a speech too? (WOOT, JQ?) as JQ’s oldest friend @ _ @ EGAD, I don’t know and prepare anything!!
So I whip something outta my BS-ing. well, not BS, coz I’m saying the truth. LOL. The point is to embarrass the Bride, that JQ is very, very tidy. No 12 years old girl writes with a ruler, mind, and got 100 in Geography National exam, and memorizing/studying word per word, commas per commas and dots to dots. (yeah pretty intimidating, JQ!) But anyways: Congrats for the couple!!!
I’am introduced to Kumi, the Maid of Honor, and we go back to the Hotel because there’s still dinner @ _ @ (I didn’t know that!) ohhh ok. While Kumi is taking care of her hair, I buy a shawl to give a different color than the morning ceremony.
At the hotel, they have a tea ceremony, mainly for families to give gifts and words of wisdom
Dinner at the National Museum around 19:30-ish. And game time! For the audience, answering some questions about Dharmawan and JQ. For the Groom and the Bride, something else. XD The MCs hide 5 chocolates in Dharmawan’s body and JQ has to search for them!
“This is sexual harassment,” cry the Groom. Cue laughter from the audience.
ROTF. Since JQ doesn’t get the last 2 chocolates, they have to kiss! (no cheating guys!!), and no counting the seconds, Jaq!!
In revenge, JQ asks Kumi (one of the MCs) to sing a Japanese song.
After dinner, they take some photos around the tables and on the stage with family and friends.
After dinner, Kumi and I and a couple of friends go to Clarke Quay to see Kumi’s friend performed at Shanghai Dolly. Sort of bizarre mix of crowd and Japanese, Chinese, Korean music blaring from the performances and speakers. I have mix feeling in here LOL. Like I said: Bizarre.
Okay drinks? Freaking expensive! S$16 for Heineken -_-;;; ahhhh. Let’s move out girls (and boys)! We go to Attica Next. There’s an admission and a line, but a friend of Kumi’s friend talks to the bouncer so we can get in for free! I think it’s because there are 5 girls in our group (the boys still need to pay though). Attica is very crowded sort of fun and mix of R&B, pop, etc. The DJ rocks!
We hang out till midnight and get ‘snacks’ along the way. I hae roti prata and curry and polish them all with Teh Tarik. Hmmm, that hit the spot!
I get back to the hostel around 3 am. Sore feet and tired, aching body. But I had a blast!
The next morning, with Ziggy, go off to see the first temple, which is in Little India. I get down in Ferrer St. MRT and walk along the map. I’ve seen a lot of colorful buildings, shops and houses alike.
Apparently, the month of October is a celebration of Deepavali (Diwali) Festival Market & Street Light Up, a festival of lights. See how colorful and bright the decorations are! (I wish I come during night time, it must be a sight to see!)
These days the local dress up with new cloths, pray and eat sweets and sharing with the family. We can taste the Indian sweets and light candles to celebrate the return of Lord Rama (from Ramayana) from his war against Rahwana. Also to celebrate the victory of Lord Kresna from slaying the demon king Narakasura. The days also significant spiritually of the inner light, purity and the ‘oneness’ of all things life.
Pretty good, if I say so my self. Alas, I’m not sure the proper way to join in the celebration in the temple, so I just bought some sweets (and they are very, very sweet, made of coconut or something, with a nutty flavor).
Next is the Sri Srinivasa Peruma Temple located in Little India on Serangoon Road.
The entry gate, ‘Rajagopuram/Gopuram‘, with it’s colorful ornated statues at the entry way, depicting the epic story of Lord Vishnu and/or the many incarnation of the Lord Vishnu.
I have to take off my shoes to enter the temple as the custom and it;s a polite thing to do. Visitors might take photos and donate some sum to the Temple.
The Sri Srinivasa Peruma Temple is established by the Hindu community in Singapore and is the oldest shrine here dedicated to Peruma (Lord Vishnu).
Because of the Deepavali (Diwali) Festival, I have the chance to take some photos of the celebration.
The old man is watching the celebration start with the musicians at the background.
The Entourage. (One of these days, I’ll buy myself a complete Sari. It’s so decorative and beautiful!)
For cheaper by the dozens of anything, every tourist should go to Mustafa wholesale…
and I just have to get my self an 1 kg of chocolate (my co-workers eat ‘em like….2/3 of it in one sitting) *LOL* and some assortments of Indian bangles.
Next stop Orchard Rd. to meet another Singaporean friend and get the Glambox for Rey and I. Since I have the 25% off discount for Borders, I go there first. Alas, there’s nothing there to buy. The ones I want, like Noma Bar’s graphic design book, and two graphic novels aren’t available. So no purchasing in Borders, and none in Kinokuniya (@ Takashimaya). Puh.
I have ice cream in front of Wisma Atria.
There are a couple of notable streets here:
Pagoda Street & Temple Street are named because of Sri Mariamman Temple.
Mosque Street is named after Jamae Mosque.
Sago Lane & Sago Street because some Sago factories located here.
Smith Street is named after Sir Cecil Clementi Smith.
Along the South Bridge Road we see the Sri Mariamman Temple, Jamae Mosque and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum almost side by side.
Going down the Chinatown MRT
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located at 288 South Bridge Road, is based on the Tang Dynasty architecture and the sacred Buddhist Mandala.
And its entry guardians, Nio, two wrathfully guardians, Nàluóyán jīngāng in Mandarin Chinese held a vajra mallet and bare-handed Mìjī jīngāng in Mandarin Chinese, are the manifestations Bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi who protect Buddha during his travel.
Hundred Dragons Hall – Maitreya Hall
Stepping inside the temple, I’m greeted by this beautiful, beautiful ornate hall that take my breath away. The details of the statues (and they are large ones!) and the satin backdrop depicting the dragons in flight are so wonderfully crafted and we can see the shiny finish and solemness of the statues. We are told not to make a lot of noise, so it’s quiet and peaceful in the middle of the representations of a hundred Buddha statues on both sides of the hall, dragons, candles and incense burning.
The Universal Wisdom Hall – Avalokitesvara Hall on the backside we have the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara sits upon a lotus throne.
Behind the statue, there’s a Dhāraṇī written in Sanskrit with the Siddhaṃ script. The writing is from a Tibetan Buddhism to focus on the sound to attain eight hundred samādhis and enlightenment. Alongside, there are zodiac protectors and smaller statues of Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara. Like so:
These are amazing!
The second floor hold the Exhibition Hall showing calligraphy, arts, scriptures and sculptures, like so:
The second floor also have Lotus Heart Teahouse – Refined Pure Teahouse; the Tea and Souvenir Shop where we can dine in a traditional vegetarian dish or try the assorted teas or browse around for gifts, incense, glass lamps, Buddhist books/scriptures, and Buddhist robes for not-so-reasonable price of around S$60 – S$70.
I want this Buddhist Pine, but I don’t think it can survive flight to Indonesia, or if I can bring it in =P
Chinese things from the old days, from the first settlement of Chinese immigrants in Singapore. (Dig the old gramophone). By order of Sir Stamford Raffles, they are given a piece of land and became the busiest area in Singapore with its businesses, markets, theaters, shops and once upon a time, brothels and clan organizations (i.e: Triad?). Before, it was knows as Kreta Ayer or in Malay, means ‘Water Cart‘, because they used to carry water with bullock and ox carts for the lack of drinking water at that time. Once upon a time, this area also sold Sago, hence the name Sago Street and Sago Lane, where the Temple stands in between. It was called Little Temple Street by the Chinese since there was a Tua Peh Kong Temple previously. Also called by the Cantonese, ‘the Street of the Dead‘, as it was used by many funeral parlors and hospices and it was the final place of chronic and terminally ill in early days.
Manjushri Hall – Aranya Gallery, where it house some Buddhist texts, Maha-pranjna-paramita Sutra and guardians/sages statues. Bodhisattva Manjushri is known for his wisdom. Seeing keenly, teaching and guiding.
Samantabhadra Hall – Nagapuspa Buddhist Culture Museum hold a collection of Buddhist artefacts and all kinds of representations of Buddha, from when he was still a young Prince, to his path of finding enlightenment, to his teaching until his death. There are more or less 300 pieces of artifacts and works of arts from Pakistan, China, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, etc.
Buddha statue. At first I thought it’s a Kwan Im statue from the feminine side, but it isn’t. I love this one for the craft, Buddha is suspended in the air by his cloths and surround by circle of holiness.
At Sacred Buddha Relics Chamber, third floor, have the Sarira or such as bone relic, intestine relic, blood relic, brain relic, tongue relic, etc. The crystallize of the spiritual energy left behind by the death of a sage upon cremation of Buddha Sakyamuni body signifying the forces of nature are elevated due to religious practices and converted as wisdom, the fruit of spiritual labor, free of lust, greed and wrath. (Sorry we’re not allowed to take photos here, which is a shame because there are some lovely bronze, golden Buddha statues and the colorful crystals here).
Sacred Light Hall – Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Chamber, (again, we’re not allowed to take photos here, check the linked site for photos), reserve for praying and offering to the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic.
The elevator stopped on the 4th floor. To reach the top, we have to take the emergency stairs.
On each corners there is a small pagoda housing a Buddha statue. These four corners representing the four cardinal points. From the site:
Aksobhya Buddha of the Eastern Realm of Fragrance;
Ratnaketu Buddha (or Buddha of Treasured Appearance) of the Southern Realm of Happiness;
Amitabha Buddha (or Buddha of Limitless Life) of the Western Realm of Tranquillity and Bliss;
Amoghasiddhi Buddha (or Buddha of Subtle Hearing), of the Northern August Realm of the Lotus.
and small pavilions housing the 5 Dhyani-Buddhas, the incarnation of 5 wisdoms of the Mahavairochana. Again from the site:
“The five wisdom merits are the Dharmahdatu-prakriti-jnana or the ability to show the Truth, Adarshana-jnana or the ability to see the original nature of all living beings, Samata-jnana or the way to adopt an indifferent attitude, Pratyaveksana-jnana or the ability to see the special character of all living beings, and Krityanushthana-jnana or ability of all complete meritorious.”
At the center, and oh, what a wonderful sight indeed!
Inside the small temple, housed the Buddhist Prayer Wheel
According to the site, it is a revocable book shelf for the sutras, with central shaft to rotate the revolving scriptures, and it’s dub ‘Revolving Pitaka’.
Quote from the site: ‘The School of Shakyamuni sutra, volume 3 – pagoda and temple’ which states that, “those who set up the place for worship, use the knowledge to propagate the dharma to common people, should there be any man or woman who are illiterate and unable to read the sutra, they should then set up the prayer wheel to facilitate those illiterate to chant the sutra, and the effect is the same as reading the sutra”.
The Sri Mariamman Temple at 244 South Bridge Road, has its charm and it is the oldest Hindu Temple, where a small representation of the goddess Mariamman exist. The Temple is known by the woshipers as Sithi Vinayagar and Gothanda Ramaswamy Mariamman Temple. Before, it is used as a refugee place and a place of worship for immigrants and officiated Indian marriage.
The Deepavali (Diwali) Festival, Festival of the Light is at its height.
I love all the colors on the ceiling.
Walking down the Chinatown food market, found some traditional and non-traditional trinkets.
…and the Uncle plays Erhu, a two strings violin.
An old painting on the pillar depicting a Lady Singer in Cheongsam
Chinatown, to sum it all: traditions, food, people, colors, lotsa colors….and pork, of all kinds, even German sausages.
Click to enlarge for your viewing pleasure =)
After dinner of Chinese Hainam Chicken rice, go for this cool dessert, Mango Sago & Pomelo, at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert , located at Temple st. After a whole day walking in humid heat and painful back and feet, it tastes Just purrfect. =D~~~
I Didn’t buy much, except the bangles and Adam Lambert Glambox and lotsa chocolate (for safety reason aren’t in the photo). Heh.