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Here Today (But Who Knows Where Tomorrow)

The world does not need another travel blog to tell you to go to the Uffizi when in Firenze.  Nor does it need lots of pictures of a blogger in different outfits posing in front of city sites.  But what would be cool, we Wanderlust Junkies think – and we hope you agree with us – is a blog that finds gems and shares them with you.  Places not everyone knows about.  Places underneath the skin.  We’re not going to bore you with tedious reviews.  We would rather just whet your appetite to try for yourself.  If you want to know more, contact us and we will tell all.  Go on – we were given feet not roots so check in, batter those suitcases and start your perpetual journey with us.  No baggage; except maybe a bit of Longchamp.  It’s now or never.

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So it’s our fourth day in Singapore and I think all the things that have made me heady here are what make everyone heady…

MarinaBaySandsGardensByTheBayTheFabulousArchitectureTheContrastsLittleIndiaChinatownTheFoodTheMeltingPotPeople…

… so I have no idea what I could say about it all that everyone hasn’t already said. And after all, what was the mission of this blog? It was to be a blog “that finds gems and shares them with you [the readers]”. And today I found a gem.

The Asian Civilisations Museum is arguably one of the most beautiful museums I have had the pleasure to visit. For one thing, the setting couldn’t be grander. The collections are housed in the Empress Place Building dating from 1867, originally planned as a courthouse but functioning as government offices until the late 1980s. Like so many of the old colonial buildings in Singapore (for example, what is now the National Gallery or the Victoria Concert Hall and Theatre), it has been deftly and stylishly converted to a new use. In this case the conversion is even still underway – new galleries are still underway. What is impressive is how, in addition to the modern additions (lighting, banners, automatic doors, startling use of colour), old features have been retained…

Cornices and beading naturally frame statues of Buddha and Hindu gods.

What I also found compelling is how it’s not about traipsing through a muddy lane of chronology. The startlingly beautiful collections are organised into themes – Trade – Faith and Belief – Materials and Design and…

The Tang Shipwreck

Nearly 1100 years ago, an Arab ship bearing a precious cargo of ceramics, gold, silver set sail from the port of Canton. Just off the shores of Sumatra, near the island of Belitung, the ship sank, and remained untouched until discovered by chance in 1998. And here in this Museum are the treasures. It’s the first startling exhibit you encounter on a visit to the Museum – hundreds of little pottery bowls perched on perspex rods of varying heights – ceramic waves as if the objects are being washed to the surface by the sea. There’s even a mirrored surface beneath the ocean of rods and bowls, thereby revealing the reverse sides. So inspiring. So impressive. And they are the words that recurred in my head throughout my visit to this impressive, beautiful Museum.

I have to mention another gem from our stay in Singapore – the Singapore International Violin Competition. We went to the first of the 2 final rounds last night in the beautiful Victoria Concert Hall. Each of three young violinists played a Mozart concerto of his or her own choice. The three winners from that concert and tonight’s (6 February) will play on Thursday night with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the cash prizes for the winners are huge! From last night’s showing our money was on the dashing Russian, Sergei Dogadin – he was both passionate stage animal and virtuoso musician – everything it takes. Well, that’s what we thought, anyway.

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