So, Thursday evening, and the weekend has started, at least lecturewise. I have no classes on Fridays, which is a happy coincidence. I’ve now had lectures for two weeks, and I’m getting into the rhythm of it all, which includes bringing along a pullover to wear when inside, since some lecture theatres are airconditioned to about 18 degrees or something equally silly.
My classes in general are quite interesting, I am currently doing six modules, but I will have to drop one of them, as the administration for some reason will not allow exchange students to do five modules. This means I will technically not have lectures on Wednesdays either, but I think I will go to the lecture anyway, it is an interesting course, “Asianism in Singapore”, all about how Singapore views itself within Asia, and how Orientalist notions have been used and misused in the public discourse within Singapore. This is of course completely irrelevant to my degree, but it broadens my horizons a bit.
Last weekend the residential college arranged a trip to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. The zoo is set next to a large freshwater reservoir, in the central nature reserve, so getting there was driving through a rainforest on a motorway. Quite the contrast. The zoo itself is quite large, and if one read all the signs, it would take more than a day. They had tigers, baboons, crocodiles, kangaroos, macaque monkeys, babirusas, dwarf hippos, otters, lions, elephants, giraffes and so on, all kept in open enclosures. The zoo closes at six, and at seven, the night safari opens next door. The night safari is a zoo constructed to show off nocturnal animals, and it is quite interesting. It has more of the standard fare of tigers and lions and so on, but also things like deer the size of foxes, and a bat house where the bats fly freely around your head. (The warning sign read something like: “Please do not touch the bats, but otherwise you are safe.” We went on a saturday evening, so it was ridiculously crowded with people trying to get on the guided bustrip around the zoo, so we walked instead.
By the way, the zoo really demonstrates the large differences in spending power between rich and poor in Singapore (which is actually the richest country in the world measured by per capita GDP). An ice cream smoothie was 13 sing dollars (to use the local parlance). For that amount, you could eat out at a hawker centre for lunch and dinner two or three days (rice, vegetables and meat), and people were buying these smoothies. We poor students could only look on in disbelief.
Sunday Hannah, Jonathan and I went to Sim Lim square, which is a shopping centre about 4 floors high with exclusively electronics shops. Quite an interesting place, with a plethora of Chinese tablets and phones, computer parts, Apple shops, shady dealers in second hand laptops and tricksters of all sorts: You really need to know what you are wanting, and be prepared to bargain, but if you manage to do so, I think it might be quite the interesting place to buy electronics.
Yesterday I watched Vertigo with Namrata, Evan and Justina in the Ngee Ann Khosi auditorium close to our residential college. Vertigo has supposedly been voted the best film of all time, and while I am not quite sure whether this is deserved, it certainly is a unique, surprising and engaging plot. I highly recommend setting off two hours to watch this film, but whatever you do, do not read the spoilers, because then you will miss out on the couple of moments when you literally turn to face the person sitting next to you and gape in disbelief and shock due to the twists in the plot, and the person (Namrata in my case) next to you does the same.
And now, some pictures from the zoo: