Sunday, 16 September 2007

With A Pinch Of Snuff

This weekend we visited the Chinese snuff bottle exhibition at the Asian Civilisation Museum.

From the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect III is the third part of the exhibition installment from the collection of Singaporean collector, Denis Low.

There were 355 snuff bottles on display and the artistic interpretations in miniature were quite outstanding.

Unlike many of the exhibitions on view, this was in a free section of the museum and open to all. Denis Low's collection is regarded as one of the worlds finest.

It takes us next to no time to get to the museum as we take the MRT from our station direct to Raffles Place and exit at the Battery Road entrance. A quick stroll across the Cavenagh Bridge and we are there.

All in all a most pleasant afternoon topped off with another splendid duck curry at the Museum's Indochine restaurant.

This entry has taken place over a couple of days and yesterday, Monday September 17th, marked the anniversary of our arrival in Singapore exactly one year ago. It is therefore appropriate to pause and reflect on what has happened these past twelve months.

Firstly, apart from good friends left behind, I have no regrets about leaving New Zealand and coming to Singapore. I rarely even look at the NZ Herald online but when I do so it seems to be a litany of violent assaults in South Auckland, police on trial for various offences, news of an increasingly moribund Labour Government and politically correct nonsense such as allowing illegal Algerian overstayers a right of passage into the country. Not forgetting of course the continuing failure to address the severe traffic problems in the major cities. Lots of talk and no action!

In direct comparison, I can walk the streets of Singapore at most hours of the day and night in relative security, there is no major 'P' drug problem that threatens the fabric of society, the economy is booming and the air of optimism in the Republic is invigorating.

Not everything should be viewed through rose coloured spectacles of course. The heat at times can be oppressive, even for the locals. The positive side of this is no more winters! It does mean that a lot of time is spent in an airconditioned environment.

Singapore is not a big country and it has a lot of buildings and (increasingly) people. This means that one needs to escape from time to time to places such as the Botannical Gardens for some quite reflection but generally speaking I enjoy the hustle and bustle that accompanies the day.

I remain employed by a university even though it was not the same one that I left new Zealand to be part of. The UNSW Asia debacle still rankles, not because I wish to retain any association at all with UNSW, but because of the pain and suffering inflicted on everyone left high and dry by the Vice Chancellor's actions. Working at NUS is far more productive and the university far better endowed than most.

All in all, a stimulating 12 months.

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