This week we are heading to Singapore, a country with incredible architecture, lush greenery, and a captivating history. Dating back at least a millennium, the city-state holds a vast range of cultures and customs, making it a diverse and engaging place to visit.
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Visit the Museums and Sites
One of the most widely visited attractions of contemporary Singapore are the Gardens of the Bay, an ultra-futuristic forest of robotic botanical gardens. Home to beautiful, gigantic trees and other fascinating alien plants, the Gardens of the Bay are a delight to explore. For more information, read the blog at the link here, listen to the podcast at the link here, and watch the video at the link here. The video has automatic closed captions.
Showing off Singapore’s natural beauty, the Singapore Botanic Gardens are a must visit for plant lovers everywhere. The gardens are Singapore’s first UNESCO heritage site, and they hold various small attractions, like the Frangipani Garden and the iconic Bandstand. To learn more about the Singapore Botanic Gardens, visit the blog at the link here, listen to the podcast at the link here, and watch the video at the link here. The video has subtitles and automatic closed captions.
Another interesting tourist site is the Singapore Flyer, an enormous observation wheel at the Downtown Core of Singapore. In an enclosed cabin, visitors are taken to the top of the wheel where they can see gorgeous views of the metropolis. More information about the Singapore Flyer is available via the blog at the link here and the video at the link here. The video has automatic closed captions.
One of Singapore’s most highly rated and globally heralded attractions is the Singapore Zoo. Housing rescued wildlife in need of care and the famed free-range orangutan exhibit, the zoo is 28 hectares of education and excitement for tourists. To learn more about the Singapore Zoo, read the blog at the link here, listen to a related podcast here, and watch the video at the link here. The video has automatic closed captions.
To learn more about Singaporean history and heritage, look no further than the National Museum of Singapore. Founded in 1849, the museum boasts a range of exhibits, from ancient artifacts to modern art. For more information about the National Museum of Singapore, visit the blog at the link here and the video at the link here, which has automatic closed captions. To look at the museum in depth, you can access a virtual tour — composed of images, writing, and videos — through the link here.
Tune in to Shows and Movies About Singapore
There are many shows and movies set in Singapore overall that are sure to appeal to a variety of audience members. Besides these picks, there are many, many more that have subtitles and are generally accessible.
For a heavy dose of Singaporean drama and psychological complexity, tune in to the film Apprentice. The movie follows Aiman, a young correctional officer who has been transferred to Malay’s top prison, and his interactions with the facility’s executioner. When a tragic secret is revealed, Aiman is forced to struggle with his past and his desire to climb the prison’s ranks. Apprentice is available on Tubi for free at the link here, and includes subtitles.
A heartfelt tale, the movie Pop Aye tells the story of an architect and an elephant he meets on the streets of Bangkok. They embark on a journey to find their hometown where they grew up together, and encounter obstacles on the way. Pop Aye is available on Amazon Prime at the link here, and includes closed captions.
Interested in the real lives of some of Singapore’s elite? Be sure to check out Singapore Social — a television show exploring just that. Watch the lives of several young Singaporeans as they work through family issues, careers, and romance. Singapore Social is available on Netflix at the link here, and includes closed captions and audio description.
Ramen Shop is a film that mixes food with finding family. When a young ramen chef finds his Singaporean mother’s journal, he travels to her native country in hopes of learning more about who he is and where he came from. To view Ramen Shop, click the link here. The film includes subtitles.
For lovers of mysteries and crime fiction, Unriddle is a must watch. This Singaporean drama series puts two foils together, namely Hu Xiao Man, a rule-following detective, and Lin Zheng Yi, a very eccentric informant. Together, they must keep the streets of Singapore clean. Unriddle is accessible through a Netflix subscription at the link here, and includes subtitles.
Another fascinating series revolving around solving mysteries is Mind Game. In this show, a cop, a psychologist, and a clairvoyant woman help a paralegal team solve highly perplexing cases and bring criminals to justice. Mind Game is available on Netflix at the link here, and includes subtitles.
Get Lost in Books About Singapore
For a poignant and moving exploration of historical fiction, look no further than How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee. Through interweaving timelines — World War II Singapore and more than fifty years after — a story of women’s resilience, familial love, and strength is revealed. To access How We Disappeared, click on the link here, and the book has a Kindle and Audiobook version.
In terms of Singapore’s political and economic history, Lee Kuan Yew — the controversial founding father of the citystate — has much to say in his book From Third World to First: Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom. Kuan Yew delves into his own notes and unpublished government documents to analyze Singapore’s past and present state, as well as his unorthodox views on topics like human rights and democracy. This book can be purchased on Open Trolley, a Singaporean online bookstore, at the link here (only local deliveries).
A striking collection of stories and exciting characters, Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe dives deep into the culture of Singapore and the kinds of people it harbors within its walls. Both heartfelt and psychologically intuitive, Lee Koe is able to provide a new perspective on human connection. Ministry of Moral Panic is available on Amazon Prime at the link here, and has a Kindle version.
Not a cookbook but a true collection of cultures, The Food of Singapore Malays: Gastronomic Travels through the Archipelago by Khir Johari travels through the Malay islands to understand the wonder behind their native cuisine. Behind the rich heritage of food that the Singapore Malays possess is a glimpse into their identities and what makes them unique. To read this book, you may purchase it from the store Kitchen Arts and Letters at the link here.
Set in the dazzling decade of 1920s glamor, Liz Rothenberg follows a once opulent Singaporean family and their descent into genteel poverty in The Moonlight Palace. Now that riches are far behind them, main character Agnes and her family must find comradery, bravery, and love in order to survive. Available on Amazon at the link here, The Moonlight Palace has a Kindle and Audiobook version.
Bring Singapore to Your Kitchen
Singapore is home to a variety of delicious dishes and a wealthy history of culinary craftsmanship. One entree that is both filling and flavorful is Singapore noodles, which combines just ten ingredients for a tasty meal. For a vegan and gluten free recipe, click the link here.
Nasi Lemak is a national Malaysian rice dish that combines fragrant spices and bold flavors, like coconut, sambal, and lemongrass. For an easy and satisfying vegan Nasi Lemak recipe, click the link here. To make the meal nut free, you may not add the roasted peanuts.
For dessert, cendol is a great option. Made from pandan jelly and coconut milk, this sweet treat is perfect for a hot summer day when in need of refreshment. Though the recipe at the link here can be more time consuming, the end result is definitely worth it. Cook away!
Where to Next?
Thanks for wandering Singapore with us virtually. Join us next time as we explore Zurich, Switzerland.