August 1st, 2005

krazy koati

Brings out the tiger in you

Now, today was a busy day. We went to the Tiger Balm Gardens at Har Paw Villa, named for the brothers Aw Boon Har and Aw Boon Paw, who created Tiger Balm ... uh ... balm, made fortunes in the 1920s and 30s, and wished to teach overseas Chinese people their culture by building completely insane statues. Really. I'll have pictures someday; I'm sure spaceroo will have some sooner. The typical display is of a scene from Buddhist, Taoist, or other mythology, in concrete statues of animals in human poses, with just enough captioning for westerners to be baffled.

Unlike my last tour, the Ten Courts of Hell were open, with perfectly gruesome images of the fates of sinners. Sins range from cheating or murder or failing to be faithful children through to really nasty things, like cheating on taxes, drawing pornographic images, failing to pay rent, or the ``misuse of books.'' Tortures range from the horrible to the horrible and disgusting, but it's all right because at the end one sips water of forgetfulness, making sure no lessons are learned before reincarnation. Reincarnation options seem to include becoming a fossil, an interesting prospect I don't quite understand.

Later, in the search for memory cards for my guest's camera we journeyed to Funan, where we found the only store that might have his card type was closed, but my attempt to buy a Minute Maid Lemonade (new in Singapore) got me two half-liter bottles for the price of one. We wandered along the river and saw the Reverse Bungee was open. This is a little steel cage with seats suspended between towers; the cables tighten and pull one up into the air for several bounces. We put on a fine show, laughing rather than screaming, even as the cage turned over and we plummeted towards the ground. Curiously, in this open-air thing, we both put one foot on the metal bars, as if this would be the slightest aid in case a safety belt snapped. We'll be selling copies of the video CD.

Later still we found at the Riverside Point park model airplane enthusiasts with some amazing, incredibly lightweight, electric planes; they were barely more than plastic chips with wings, propeller, and many LED lights. They flew with amazing agility, silence, and lights, and could get up quite high. Their stall speed was roughly negative twenty kilometers per hour, so they could drift and do remarkable aerodynamics. We want these toys.

And even later -- I told you it was busy -- we found there is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Singapore, on the River, so it's solidly in the tourist district but still serves legitimate chimichangas and such.

Trivia: Auguste Comte's reform ``Calendrier Positiviste'' dedicated August to the abstract concept of polytheism, and the concrete person of Dante. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, E.G. Richards.

Currently Reading: Longitude, Dava Sobel.