orang utan

Heh! I’ve always wanted to title a blog post like that. In this case, there is at least some semblance of logical justification for it. I was in Singapore a few weeks ago and one of the things that we did was have breakfast with orang utans. There were also pythons for you to hold, it was a great start to the morning, truth to be told.

python

However, the highlights of my trip there were mostly towards the arts and theater scene that Singapore has to offer. I bugged Kristine to organize my itinerary around this show by Yukichi Matsumoto which I have been itching to catch. It showed at the Singapore Arts Festival 2011 and this is the first time the Ishinha theater group has done a performance outside of Japan.

entrance

Ishinha has very high standards for their stages and choreography. They build the set and props themselves and they’re quite partial about how it turns out. It was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen. It’s held outdoors and I love the passion they put into their work – “This is a rain or shine event”.

rain shine

I expected this to be a niche show but I was surprised to see the packed. There were two Japanese men seated to my right and a bunch of Caucasians on holiday on my left. The seats are stadium type wooden boards – no frills but we managed to sit very comfortably by NOT sitting on the seats itself but on the one below you and using your seat as a backrest.

seating

I can’t credit myself for that though – the bunch of Caucasian ladies started sliding down and I thought that looked like a mighty fine position to be sitting in. You’re not disturbing anyone and your chiropractor would thank you for it. It’s all about the back support. Thus, I slid down as well and the woman grinned at me and said “It’s much more comfortable this way, eh?”

Yes, it is ma’am. Yes indeed. :)

programme

When A Grey Taiwanese Cow Stretched is a 120 minute performance with no intervals. You have to come in before it starts or the doors close. That’s the way to go about it. No disturbances from late arrivals.

I was actually very surprised by the performance. I expected it to be good but it just went and blew my mind.

ishinha

The stage structure is built in front of a city landscape which is integral to the story as a juxtaposition. When A Grey Taiwanese Cow Stretched explores a lot of themes from migrants, to the war and occupation of Japanese troops and how it affects their people. It’s all in Japanese and there’s subtitles to the side but what I really enjoyed was they way it was performed.

In lieu of dialogue, they use a form of rap to communicate. Known as Jan Jan Opera language, it’s a kind of Osakan street rap – it goes from a rapid staccato to a slow, ponderous chant. It’s quite unique and a very effective way to get the narrative across.

when a grey taiwanese cow stretched

It’s a very intense performance, especially if you have good seats (Thanks Kristine!). Don’t be surprised to see a troop of performers staring you down and intensely shouting about the pain they feel. One particular bit of dialogue that I found very well executed and poignant is:

You had affairs!
South American women.
With big bottoms!
Did you notice their breasts?
Shangri-la.
Paradise, isn’t it?
*sarcastic

I just wish I had enough money leftover to buy the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth it.

artscience museum

I also visited the ArtScience Museum for Salvador Dali’s work. The museum is shaped like a lotus (though some say it looks like a baseball mitt, including myself) and it’s actually quite vast inside.

I don’t think captions would do the great man’s work justice so I’m just going to post up the photos:

dali

melting clock

statue

The other thing that I really enjoyed was The Lion King at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

pride rock

I’ve seen the West End production but the Singapore one was even better. The acoustics and the seating arrangements beats the one in Lyceum Theater near Convent Garden.

It’s just progress – the Marina Bay Sands theater is just more modern.

I also loved how they localized The Lion King Musical with a sprinkling of Mandarin and references to the Merlion. Don’t expect them to break into a refrain of “The (Mer)lion sleeps tonight” but there’s enough little touches that differentiates it and it’s an awesome performance by a new cast assembled from around the world.

pumba

Now, why don’t we get all this stuff in Malaysia? Oh well, at least I can visit Singapore instead of flying all the way to London next time I want to see a good theater performance.

lion king cast

Oh, by the way these are some of the upcoming performances in Singapore:

Cirque Éloize iD – Now until 26 June 2011
Kylie Minogue – Aphrodite Live -29 June 2011
The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber – 7 to 17 July 2011
Korean Music Wave 2011 – 15 July 2011
Paramore Live in Concert – 21 Aug 2011

If you’re interested in all that Singapore has to offer, hop on over to YourSingapore.com where there’s something for everyone!

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23 Responses to “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!”

  1. I have been wanting to watch The Lion King musical too! You can take photos and videos inside? Okay, Singapore here I come. :-)

    • Yeah, you should watch it! It’s awesome, as good as the West End production.

      The theater in Marina Bay Sands is better though – accoustics and all that.

      Well, about the photos and videos, I was told that it’s okay to do that as long as you don’t disturb the other patrons.

      …so I turned my LCD off and silenced the dSLR – there’s no light from the LCD or sounds to bother other people so I guess it’s alright. :)

  2. I watched Lion King a few years ago in West End, sitting damn far from the stage lol

    • Heh! I watched it twice in London. It’s pretty good but the cast in Singapore is equally good too. :)

      I’m a big fan of musicals so I don’t mind paying for premium seats.

      It’s not cheap when you convert pounds to RM, probably paid around RM 400 per musical that I went to, and I watched a lot of theatre in London and Amsterdam. :)

      However, the tickets for The Lion King in Singapore is around that too, but it’s worth it coz the theater is better than the one in West End.

      It’s just more modern so the accoustics and all that turned out better. :)

  3. Hi, I am living in PJ and would like to watch The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Can you provide me with the price for the tickets for two adults? I would very much prefer good seats as my fiancee is a big fan. We will be staying for the weekend in Singapore so can you recommend a nice hotel? Thank you.

    Raul

    • Hello there Raul! :)

      Yup, just click on the YourSingapore.com link above and it’ll direct you to all that you need to know!

      Call +65 6688 8826 for the hotline, you can get tix from SISTIC or get a Singaporean friend to drop by Marina Bay Sands. :)

      I stayed at Studio M Hotel when I was there – it’s quite close to Marina Bay Sands and perfect for a couple. It’s a room with a loft where you can sleep but if you want to stay even closer – just check into Marina Bay Sands.

      Hope that helps bro and enjoy your trip there! :)

  4. Wow! I saw your pics and vids of Wicked the Musical in London and this one of The Lion King one beats that. You’re one of the few who successfully took videos of Wicked in London.

    I commented on your Wicked YouTube video, that’s how I got to know your blog. Are you actually allowed to take pics inside the theatre?

    You the man HB!

    • Heh! Thanks Eddie! :)

      Well, the one where I took videos and photos of Wicked in London was not exactly kosher. I just did it anyway, turned off the LCD and sound so I won’t disturb anyone and just took a couple of shots.

      I’m not sure about the policy of The Lion King in Singapore but I heard that you actually can take photos and videos.

      I saw a lot of people doing it – some even with FLASH. I don’t condone that. I’m of the camp that thinks you can do what you want as long as you don’t bother other people – that means LCD off so there’s no light and all sounds muted.

      Flash photography bothers me and it’s a distraction and I really hate that.

      I don’t see anyone being stopped though so I guess it’s okay.

      However, I still maintain that it should only be done for short periods (just a couple of shots throughout the show), just to show people what it’s like and without disturbing the other people watching (no flash, LCD off, no sound)…even if they allow it. :)

      I think it’s alright if you observe common courtesy. :D

  5. The museum looks awesome!

    • Yeah, it’s shaped like a baseball mitt. Heh!

      Officially though, the ArtScience Museum is built to look like a lotus but it somehow seems like a baseball mitt to a lot of people…including me. :)

      Dali’s work was not just in the museum itself but also at the Marina Bay Sands mall.

      It is really something, I’ve always wanted to see his famous melting clocks and other works of art. :D

      He also has this quote that goes:

      I do not understand why,
      when I ask for a grilled lobster,
      I am never served a cooked telephone.

  6. HB, every time you take a picture with something above you or behid you it funny that orangatang look like he want to punch the back of your head. Background could good or funny.

    • Heh! I never noticed that myself. The orang utans are really tame, that was in Singapore Zoo.

      You can basically have a buffet breakfast among the orang utans (who come to feed at the same time) and other animals and make a day out of it.

      They have some really good shows going on and we planned it so we can catch the shows and watch the exhibits.

      Oh! An interesting thing happened when I was there. This little monkey was escaping from another tribe when it fell and cracked his skull on the ground and slipped into the water.

      Everyone was shouting at the warden to help it, but that just shows how ignorent the general public is. They feel sorry and expect the warden to fish out the little thing but they forget about the circle of life and the fact that if the warden HAD tried to help, in the state of agitation the two tribes of monkeys were in (there were a lot of biting and clawing), the warden would have put HIMSELF in harms way.

      These are animals, not pets, and I was surprised that a lot of the public forget that in their oh-please-save-the-poor-baby-monkey state. The warden would have been attacked if he had gone near it.

  7. For a while, I thought you’ve finally decided to get married and settle down. Wake up…and smell your wife’s freshly brewed coffee from the kitchen… How does that grab you, buddy? LOL!!!

    • Hello there Arthur! :)

      Haha! That sure conjures up a good image on a Friday morning. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and the sound of streaky bacon and a couple of eggs frying in the kitchen. ;)

      Well, I don’t think the marriage bit will happen soon but hey, maybe, if I meet the right person.

      ….and that suits me just fine! It would be fun to continue the tradition of annual family vacations. :D

  8. Glad to see you having fun HB! When is your next trip down to Singapore?

    • Hey Diana! I’m coming down next month! :)

      Will you be in Singapore then? I’ll buzz you when I’m about to come yeah, I’m actually heading to JB for work and we just thought it’ll be fun to drop by Singapore and stay there for the weekend.

      Not sure if it’s going to be before or after so I’ll keep you updated! :)

  9. oo singapore has some mean architecture. it reminds me of Modern cities in spain and sweden.

    oh ya was interestin in askin u this, do u know any soup torpedo stalls in kl? recently tried frog ovaries in my latest post.

    • Hello Brian! :)

      Yeah bro, each time I go to Singapore it just gets better and better. It’s like a constantly shifting country, moving forward in the name of progress. :)

      I like to think of it as an alternate Malaysia – safer (but more strict on certain things) and a place where you can party and walk around at 3 am without having to look over your shoulder to see if there’s anyone following you to your car to mug you.

      Nice! I know Sup Kaww in Kelana Jaya (SS6, near the old college) serves it. It’s in a food court complex (the original stall was demolished) and you’ll see it when you turn into SMK Kelana Jaya. Hope that helps! :)

  10. There is a reason why can’t Malaysia have THe Lion King Broadway. Singapore actually designed the stage purposely for THE LION KING Broadway. So, they have the “mountain” stage (i don’t know how to call that). But, Malaysia don’t have one. If we have, definitely we can do it better. Singapore one, the sound surrounding is not good enough~ all the sound like come from front….even worst than our GSC cinema~ Show you a blog about the Broadway in Singapore.

    http://one-sick-psi-guy.blogspot.com/2011/03/lion-king-marina-bay-sands-theatre.html

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