Singapore #3: Culture & History

Kayleen ’25, recounts the groups first full day activities spent learning about Chinese history, and Singapore culture and religion. 

After tireless days of delays, travels, and the unexpected, all 12 of us finally made it to Singapore in one piece. Today marked everyone’s first full day in Singapore and the first official day on our itinerary. We started the morning with a lecture from CIEE about health safety. Shortly after that, we had a fun lesson in which we learned how to paint, 国画, or Chinese painting. We painted the colorful pretty Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore’s national flower.

After our lessons at CIEE, we had lunch at a local restaurant that specializes in ba kun teh which is a pork-based herbal soup and rice. This classic dish is one that originated in Malaysia and has become quite popular among Singaporean locals.

Following lunch, we visited the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Museum where we took a tour through the life of Dr. Sun, the founder of modern China. It turns out that Dr. Sun himself stayed multiple times in the very building that is now known as the museum. We learned about how China’s last dynasty came to fall and how China began progressing to how it is today.

We then headed towards Singapore’s Chinatown where we paid our respects at the Buddha tooth relic temple. We went just in time to spectate a session of prayer. We also visited the roof of the temple where we spun the Buddhist prayer wheel.

We wrapped up the day with a walk around Chinatown’s different stores and markets as well as visiting a shopping plaza near the hotel.

Today was packed with all sorts of different activities ranging from shopping to visiting museums to painting. Not only have I learned about some of Singapore and China’s history, I have also learned some of Singapore’s culture and religion. Today was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the famous gardens by the bay tomorrow!