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Published: November 5th 2020
We spent three nights in Singapore en route from Langkawi to Bali.
If our photos are anything to go by, we must have spent most of this time bird watching. I hope someone else was keeping watch over our two toddler offspring. Neither Issy nor I can claim to be avid birdwatchers, who I always associated with whistles and funny hats, so I suspect we may have been more intent on testing out our photography skills than having any real interest in potential feathered friends. It seems that we did indeed spend some time visiting the Jurong Bird Park, which we now read is the largest such park in Asia, and the second largest in the world. It was opened in 1971 and houses more than 400 species, including several that are endangered. It's also got a thirty metre high man made waterfall. At least this solves the mystery of why we also seem to have pictures of a massive cascading torrent on what I'd always thought was a relatively flat island. I recalled its apparently famous flamingo lake from when Issy and I visited it a decade earlier. On that occasion Issy was testing out a newly acquired camera,
and she clearly considered flamingos to be excellent test subjects. So many photos of flamingos.
We took the cable car across the harbour to Sentosa Island. This made us just a tad nervous. We both had vivid memories of news of an incident back in 1983 when an oil rig being towed under it snapped one of the cables, and seven people were killed when two of the cabins fells nearly 60 metres in the harbour. Fortunately there didn't seem to be too many oil rigs around the day we made the crossing. We were certainly on the lookout for them, not that I'm all that sure what we would have done if we'd seen one.
It sounds from the ever-reliable Wikipedia that Sentosa is now a full blown resort island complete with theme parks, casinos, large resort hotels and golf courses. As I remember it from 1995 it was mostly just a few historical museums, theme park rides and a small manufactured beach. The museums were generally about the island's history, and some history it's been. It seems that Sentosa means "Peace and Tranquility", which is just an ever so minor contrast from its previous name which
apparently translates to something like "Island of Death". It was a British Military Fortress during World War Two, and after Singapore fell to the Japanese it then became a prisoner of war camp where many unspeakable atrocities were committed. If Wikipedia's to be believed, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew wanted at one stage to establish a nudist beach there to attract more tourists. Perhaps unsurprisingly this idea was eventually vetoed by his colleagues. A nudist beach in conservative Singapore, where they lock you up and throw away the key for dropping a piece of litter?
We left our offspring in the room with a babysitter one night so we could enjoy some of the local culinary delicacies in relative peace. I think she might have chosen the wrong profession. We returned to a verbal tirade which included the word "devil" in her description our beloved toddlers. I think they still have the death penalty in Singapore, so fortunately I was able to hussle her out of the room before Issy managed to get too firm a grip on her throat.......
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