Sunday, January 31, 2010

Another exciting weekend in Singapore - Ati-Atihan, Thaipusam, Chinatown

I don't understand it when people complain that there is nothing cultural to do in Singapore.  There are tonnes of activities going on if they bother to get themselves involved in organisations, look out for events in the papers or sign up for the numerous cultural mailing lists.  Yesterday, I had a great time attending a guided tour of the Ramayana Exhibition at the Peranakan Museum, then headed less than half km away to the Singapore Art Museum where there is a Filipino Fiesta ongoing - took a few photos of the colourful Ati-Atihan procession.  Not too faraway is the annual Thaipusam Festival procession - more colourful and grander than ever before.  I had to meet ET in Chinatown and so had to rush to the MRT.  In any case, I managed to take a few nice photos.  Chinatown has been transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours.  Chinese New Year fair is on and the place is just so crowded.  Perhaps people also feel better now that the recession appears to be receding.  I also had wonderful pigs' trotters soup and sour vegetable soup at the Chinatown Market Food Centre, then watching a 1950's black and white classic at China Square Central.  What a wonderful day!

Ramayana Revisited Exhibition II

Ramayana Revisited: - Exhibition at the Peranakan Museum

On Saturday, I went on a members' guided tour of the Ramayana Exhibition at the Peranakan Museum.  Fantastic journey into the vary famous Indian epic which has numerous twists and turns as well as touching subplots.  More importantly, its influence has spread across to Southeast Asia where it flourished as many localised national versions which has become the inspiration for local performing art traditions.  It also entered East Asia where the monkey deity Hanuman became the inspiration of Sun Wukong, the Buddhist-Taoist Monkey God.

Here's more details from the museum website, plus photos taken by myself during the visit:

Ancient Indian epic comes alive at Ramayana Revisited: A Tale of Love & Adventure

Ancient Indian epic comes alive at
Ramayana Revisited: A Tale of Love & Adventure

Singapore, 20 January 2010: Journey through the Ramayana, a renowned ancient Indian epic that has transcended generations and geographical boundaries. Ramayana Revisited: A Tale of Love & Adventure will take visitors through the exploits of the story’s hero, Rama, Prince of Ayodhya, and his quest to save his wife Sita, from Ravana, the King of Lanka. The exhibition will feature about 100 artefacts from South and Southeast Asia, and will be held at the Peranakan Museum (TPM) from 22 January to 22 August 2010.

The Ramayana is one of the great epic poems of India, and has been retold through the ages by saints, poets, scholars and common folk. The story has appealed to young and old of all communities and religions, with its simple but powerful message of idealism and the triumph of good over evil. This exhibition is about the universality of the Ramayana epic and its narration in visual, performing and literary arts of South and Southeast Asia. It will explore the story of the Ramayanaepic based on the theme of Ramacharitmanas, a 17th century text from India.

Ramayana Revisited journeys through the seven chapters of Rama’s life and conquests, from Ayodhya (the ancient Indian city in present day Uttar Pradesh and Rama’s birthplace) to Lanka (present day Sri Lanka), the kingdom of Sita’s abductor, Ravana.

The selected artefacts including shadow puppets, paintings and photographs of ancient monuments, will cover different historical and stylistic periods to show how Ramayana was depicted through the ages in different societies. Highlights of this exhibition include a well-preserved bronze statue of Hanuman from Tamil Nadu, India which dates back to between the 12th and 13th centuries. This shows the influence of the Ramayana on Indian ritual worship and craftsmanship more than 800 years ago!

As the legend grew beyond epic proportions, Rama was identified as one of the human incarnations of the Hindu god,Vishnu. He was deified alongside Sita (his wife) who was seen as an incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi. The worship of Rama was believed by Hindus to offer deliverance from the cycle of birth and death.

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2