Monday, December 28, 2009

Fort Canning Park

This weekend Bryan and I headed over to Fort Canning Park, which is a national park with a lot of historical significance. It started to rain as we were headed to the park, but we decided to check it out anyway. I even got brave and used an umbrella (I abhor umbrellas). As we headed to the park, we saw strange, motion-activated escalators on a hill. I knew Singapore had an escalator obsession, but I was still pretty surprised to see escalators outdoors and operating in the rain. The National Museum of Singapore was nearby, so there were some neat sculptures on the lawn. And if you look in the background, you can see me risking electric shock on the magical outdoor escalator.There's an old, gothic cemetery at Fort Canning, called the "Old Christian Cemetery," where some of the first Westerners in Singapore were buried after they died. It looked appropriately eerie in the rain.We strolled through the park a little while, and eventually made our way toward the Battle Box, the attraction that had piqued my interest in the park in the first place. The Battle Box is an underground bunker that served as a command center for the military when Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in the 1940's. The Battle Box has been turned into a museum/ educational facility that tells the story of the occupation, and Singapore's eventual surrender to the Japanese in February of 1942. But the exciting part is that the story is told primarily through the use of creepy animatronics, of which I am a huge fan. We walked through a metal door and descended some stairs to the sounds of air raid sirens. As we went down into the dismal bunker, I began to feel that we were entering a haunted house. The feeling only got stronger when I saw the bizarrely lifelike soldiers. Which one is real?!Most of the figures looked strangely human, but some had fallen into disrepair and just looked scary...Here's a video of some jerky animatronic movement. As Dave over at boingboing.net says, it appears that they haven't oiled their robots in a while. BoingBoing also posted a video that's higher quality than ours- we were having trouble in the gloomy underground quarters. You can see their video here.
video

As we headed out, we saw this...So yeah...it's not really a "secret" if you put a sign on the wall telling people where it is...annnnd dead-ends generally aren't very good escape routes... Anyway, here's Bryan, haha.After we left the Battle Box, we found a super-cool wall/gate thing. We took some silly pictures. I think this one makes Bryan look like a demented Mary Poppins, and I love it.We walked around inside and behind one of the doors we found an opening with a little secret staircase that led up on to the roof! So cool! We went up there in the rain and had a look around. It was pretty neat- there were a bunch of little slits for shooting out of, and there was a place that looked like it used to have a big mounted gun.On the way out of the park we walked through the ASEAN Sculpture Garden. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and each of the countries in ASEAN donated a sculpture to the garden. For some reason, the plaques didn't say where the sculptures were from, which I thought was kind of weird, but I liked the one on top best, especially with the rain running down the sides of it.That's it for now- Bryan and I are gearing up for another big adventure, so there's more coming soon!

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