Tag Archives: The Grand Tour of Southeast Asia

Tales of Asia V – Rangoon, Penang & Singapore, 14 Nov, Sat, 2 – 3 pm, Library@Orchard

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The fifth and final installment in the Tales of Asia series takes us back to British Empire in the East Indies in the 1800s and 1900s. We visit Rangoon (Yangon), the capital of British Burma; as well as George Town (Penang) … Continue reading

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Tales of Asia II – Batavia (Jakarta), 25 Oct, Sunday, 2 – 3 pm, Toa Payoh Regional Library

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The second in the Tales of Asia series journeys to Jakarta, the capital of the modern nation of Indonesia.  For almost 300 years, however, Jakarta was Batavia, one of the oldest port cities in the region, founded by the Dutch in … Continue reading

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Tales of Asia I – Malacca and Manila, 18 Oct, Sunday, 2 – 3 pm, Woodlands Regional Library

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The first talk of the Tales of Asia series journeys to Malacca and Manila, two of the oldest port cities in Southeast Asia, established by the Portuguese and Spanish respectively in the 1500s. The cities were mediaeval fortress towns complete … Continue reading

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The Grand Tour: Epilogue, or An Education

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“After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home.” – Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar           So what have I learned from this year of nostalgia and re-discovery?      I’ve learnt, for a … Continue reading

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“Streets of Harmony” in Singapore

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All three of the Straits Settlements towns, Penang, Malacca and Singapore were known to be multi-cultural melting pots, home to almost all of the creeds and religions in the world.  In each of these, there were streets known as “Streets … Continue reading

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Colonial Contemporary Singapore

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         What distinguishes Singapore from everywhere else in Southeast Asia, is that here, one still feels keenly, the sense of the colonial.  In fact, the colonial is pervasive in Singapore, not just in terms of the way of life here; … Continue reading

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The Raffles Hotel, Singapore…aka Beautiful but Soul-less

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This was it: the grande dame of not just Singapore, but Southeast Asia.  It was meant to be the glorious climax and culmination of the entire Grand Tour.  But somehow, it fell short, by about a mile. I think it … Continue reading

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