Sunday, April 29, 2012

Singapore Chinese Garden

Today was Family Outing Day, so we visited Singapore's Chinese and Japanese Gardens. They are constructed in a traditional style, but are quite new (supposedly founded in 1975, but have been expanded or revamped considerably since then; many of the trees are obviously young). 

The best thing about the gardens was the on-site Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum. A labor of love and a monument to one man's obsession, a Singaporean local started collecting turtles in part as a father-daughter project. The number of his pets grew and grew until he had over 1,000. He refuses to sell or part with any of them; instead he decided to open a museum. 
So many turtles
I love feeding them
Little R is very interested in the turtles
Little R and I had a great time feeding the turtles, watching them do turtle tricks (did you know that tortoises can stand on their hind legs?), and admiring the massive 80-year-old river turtle (this species lives up to 200 years, which is truly incredible). I was worried that they wouldn't be taken care of well (so often a problem in Asian zoos), but actually their conditions seemed quite good. They were even allowed to roam the museum gardens freely to lay their eggs.
Little R wanted to climb in the turtle enclosure for a closer look
The gardens themselves are quite nice, but not spectacular: the Botanic Gardens are far superior. What was interesting were the other visitors. The Botanic Gardens skew white and rich (it's the most popular meeting place for most expat mothers, for instance), but most people at the Chinese Garden were working class.
Bridge connecting Chinese and Japanese gardens
R admiring her astrological sign (they have one for each year)
Playing fetch with Daddy: she is obsessed
Now she's playing fetch with the Coke can
R likes the lotuses
 A lot of them were from Singapore's underclass (the guest laborers from various impoverished Southeast Asian countries), enjoying their one day off a week. It's nice to see that even the poor and exploited can have a good time, picnicking and wandering through grassy fields with their dates or families.
Taking a nap after a picnic
Flying a kite (very popular here)

1 comment:

  1. It looks like a good day out! Those turtles are insane reminds me of those completely mutated fish I've seen in tourist spots that are gigantic and always climb over each other to get fed. Haha its a little creepy, but definitely mesmerizing to watch!