We started classes at NUS on Thursday. The campus is a wonderful maze of buildings and staircases. The first class, taught by three NUS professors, is a basic overview of Malaysian, Singaporean, and Thai culture. Prof. Levine’s class is based around South East Asia’s interaction with the world. After class, people broke off into groups to explore the island. The group I was in headed down to Little India. According to Lonely Planets Guide for Singapore, Little India is one of the last places to be “cleaned up” by Urban Development. The instant you get off the MRT all your senses are overwhelmed the sights and smells. We visited temples, ate curry, shopped for everything from sarees to Bollywood movies.
On Friday, we took a bum boat tour of the Singapore River. It was breezy on the water and everyone took lots of pictures. Next, we toured the Asian Civilizations Museum. We saw artifacts ranging from early Srivajaya to present day Singapore. After dinner, we ventured to the Victoria Theater where we saw ” Spirits.” “Spirits” is a wonderfully modern adaptation of traditional Chinese operatic styles. It tells the stories of five women set to five different Chinese opera styles. Performed in the traditional manner, using only men, “Spirits” was an avant blend of classic Chinese opera, jazz and martial arts.
The next morning, we meet NUS students for a Dim Sum lunch on Orchard Road. After lunch, many of us joined with the NUS students for shopping and chatting.