Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Singapore June Return Trip '09 – Second Day and Getting Back

We woke up early the following to get ready for our first show of the day that was supposed to start at 8:30am. From our hotel, we decided to take a taxi to Chinatown Point Mall which was where we ended up at after the abortive public bus adventure the day before. The “Dream-Work” performance was scheduled at the Chinatown MRT station which was near Chinatown Point. It was later that we realized that there was more than one exit from the station and that we were at the wrong exit. Fortunately, we had more than enough time to walk through the length of the MRT station to locate Exit A where the performance was supposed to start. It turned out that we were among the first of the group to arrive that morning and we got a few minutes to ourselves before the performance started.

For “Dream-Work”, we were given wireless radio transceivers and earphones to listen to the dialogue and surrounding sounds that was being transmitted by one of the performers who carried the equipment with him. The audience, which consisted of 12 in our group, would follow the performers through the streets of Chinatown as they delivered their lines live to us much to the amusement of the public who were unaware of the public performance. It seems that on top of having a fixed storyline that the actor would perform, they would add details and descriptions that were improvised on the spot based on the items seen by the actor as we were walking through the fixed route. This made the experience more interesting for me as we would be engaged with our surroundings as well as with the story that was being told.

We walked from Chinatown MRT station back to the Chinatown Point Mall with stops at the neighborhood hawker center before continuing to the offices near the Raffles Place MRT station. Throughout the journey, we heard the story of the female actor starting her day and how her life gets interwoven in her morning rituals which led her to a local temple where she found a spot in the city for some quite self reflection. The performance was definitely a new experience for me as I have never been a participant in a public performance of this manner. I could not help but to wonder if something similar can be performed in KL and it led me to think about the stories that one could come up with on a similar walking performance here.

After the performance ended at a nearby temple, we walked on to the Raffles Place MRT station to get a train back to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station which was close to where our hotel was. The plan was to have breakfast at the Dome Café at Singapore Arts Museum and then see some of the contemporary art exhibits there. We did end up having breakfast there but by the time we finished, it was already a bit too late to see the exhibits since we still had to go back to the hotel to pack up and check out before 12pm that day. We decide to postpone out trip to the Singapore Arts Museum for the next time we come into town and walked back to our hotel at Bencoolen St. Since we had another show to attend later in the day, we decide to keep out bags in our other friend’s room when we check out and collect them after show to avoid having to carry them during the walking performance.

After checking out, we waited for another friend who was a local who graciously offered to spend time with us to show us around the Chinatown area. It was then I discover that my friend and I shared my passion for kitchenware and we ended up in several shops in the area that sold kitchenware and tableware. Much to my travel companion’s mix of amusement and annoyance, we spent more than 2 hours looking at kitchen utensil, gadgets and plates before we were satisfied. Thanks to the sales that the shops had, I ended up buying a few serving dishes as well as a bamboo steamer at the end of the trip. We also took time to have lunch at a local noodle shop that specialized in handmade noodles which was quite good and later had desserts at a dessert place which specialized in milk snowy ice desserts.

After spending a few hours in Chinatown, our friend dropped us off at the Raffles Place MRT station where the afternoon’s “Dream-Home” performance was to start at 5pm. As was in the morning performance, we were given wireless radio transmitters and earphones to use during the performance. The afternoon performance was performed by another set of actors whose stories did intersect in certain points with the story that we saw performed in the morning. I felt that compared to the morning performance, “Dream-Home” was more scripted and less improvised than “Dream-Work”. We ended up at the flats near Chinatown Point Mall looking out to the Chevron building that towered over the public square at Raffle Place for the final lines of the performance. I have to say that after the novel performance in the morning, I found “Dream-Home” slightly underwhelming.

From Chinatown Point Mall, we took another cab back to the hotel to collect our bags before proceeding to Novena Square where we already made plans to meet up with another local friend for dinner. We ended up having a nice dinner at the Ichiban Boshi Japanese restaurant there until it was time for us to catch the 8:30 FirstCoach bus back to KL. The journey back was uneventful and we arrived earlier than schedule thanks to the driver skipping the schedule stop in highway rest area on the way back. We arrived at the Bangsar bus stop at around midnight where we then took a taxi back to Sentul where our car was parked. We reached safely home around 1:30am and ended our short but fulfilling trip to Singapore.


famil said...

Where exactly the shop you went for the utensils? Going there on 18th of July, hope can go to chinatown and shop !

Nickxandar said...

Alamak, Famil .. lupa nak note down the name lah when I went there.

What I remember was that we were walking down either Temple Street or Smith Street when we saw the shops. There are a few places so you can take sometime to explore them for best bargins.