Trip to Singapore

Last Sunday, four of us — Jalil, Luqman, Hakim (Luqman’s younger brother whose full name is Luqman Hakim) — went to JB, stayed at Tune Hotel Danga Bay, and then entered Singapore the next day, after the morning traffic had passed the Causeway.

We drove around Singapore, stopping at the usual tourist traps — Arab Street, the new casino, Little India, etc. and had lunch at a so-so Malay restaurant at Kampung Glam. After lunch we drove to NUS to attend a talk by Robert Lang, a former physicist with a Ph.D. from Caltech. He changed career a few years ago and is now a full-time origami artist.

Lang Origami, the official website

Robert J. Lang on Wikipedia

The title of the talk is “Mathematical Origami”. The talk was very fascinating. I learned that the study of origami can involve deep mathematics, and that the applications of origami have been found in many fields such as the design of airbags in cars and the problem of protein folding in microbiology.

One of the most famous commercial work of origami (designed by Lang himself) is the 2006 Mitsubishi commercial featuring origami universe. Everything in the ad, except the car, is folded paper:

After the talk, we went to Sentosa Island because everyone kept telling us it’s the place to visit in Singapore. Personally, I think I am too old to enjoy these kind of places anymore. It’s full of the usual touristy stuff: overpriced souvenir shops selling keychains and fridge magnets made in China, kitschy statues, mascots and costumed characters, and of course the scores of tourists from China with their group leaders carrying flags with their tour company logo on it. It’s funny to see old men and women who have worked their asses off for many years and saved money for retirement only to spend them on a clownish tour group to some child amusement park in a distant country, licking on an overpriced ice cream and listening to some young snot yelling to them to stick with the group and don’t scatter about. We left Sentosa Island shortly afterward, since there is nothing to do there.

We then went to Vivocity Mall nearby to take a look at the National Geographic store that was opened recently. I try to avoid shopping malls as much as I can when I am traveling, but there is really nothing else to do in Singapore except go to shopping malls. Luckily the NG store is worth a visit. As expected, most of the stuff in the store are made in china trinkets and apparels that has been slapped with the NG logo and marked up 500%. The books section is nice (although most of their books are photography collection with very little or no intellectual content). I bought one book — The Gospel of Judas.

At 9pm, we headed back to JB, and stopped for dinner at Restoran Osman, near Plaza Angsana. We ordered two large bowls of Sup Tulang Merah (highly recommended), and after filling ourselves to the brim, went back home to KL.

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