Senses

The Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is one of the very few places in Singapore that still resists fierce development. The pottery used to be surrounded by real jungle, but rapid development of the nearby Nanyang Technological University and a new eco-business park has made the jungle almost obsolete. Luckily what is not obsolete is the charming beauty and peacefulness of the place, managed by the fantastically hospitable duo of Yulianti Tan and her husband Tan Teck Yoke. The Pottery Jungle hosts one of the only two surviving Singaporean dragon kilns - it’s a 27-meter-long, 70-years-old beast of the species which has been known in China for at least 3000 years. And this is where, despite all those sophisticated scientific ontological debates, beautiful pieces of tangible reality are being fired out - by people like Steven Low.

Sitting right in the middle of Singapore’s Chinatown district is the city’s oldest Hindu temple. Due to its location and National Monument status, Sri Mariamman attracts thousands of tourists, but come there on a weekday, in low season, and you’ll experience its undisturbed beauty. A week before Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, the temple turns into the scene of timiti, a fire walking ceremony. You won’t get anywhere nearer the passionate, devoted soul of Hinduism - at least east of India. This is where Artur Ekert tells a story of David Bohm, a highly unorthodox thinker who worked on quantum theory. At some point of his career, Bohm grew closer to Hinduism, to spiritual seekers like Jidda Krishnamurti, than to his colleagues. He spent days discussing the nature of mind, time, and space with them.

Visit Tiong Bahru before it gentrifies beyond recognition and is invaded by hipsters! You can’t blame the place for attracting such attention. Tiong Bahru is one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore and an architecturally sophisticated blend of Streamline Moderne and local Straits Settlements styles. There is no particular reason why we talk about quantum computers in this particular location. Oh, wait - no, actually there is: quantum systems are a bit like Tiong Bahru’s hawker centre during lunchtime. When you look at its individual parts, they look chaotic, noisy. But overall the system works perfectly well - just like a quantum computing machine.

Singapore has a special status - it’s a city and a state, both zipped into a small island. Its density has not excluded all nature. The Green Corridor offers a unique chance of crossing the whole island, south-north or north-south, without getting too close to traffic noise, major highways or shopping malls, experiencing nature in its full blossom. Equatorial plant life is complex and surprising - as surprisingly unpredictable and rich as the world of quantum phenomena. The corridor is the only remnant of the cargo railway line connecting two major ports of Singapore. Its future is not clear, and not necessarily bright. Support the Nature Society in their proposal to keep the railway lands as a Continous Green Corridor: http://www.thegreencorridor.org

East Coast Park is built entirely on reclaimed land. Its manicured form has replaced the rustic, far-from-the-city atmosphere of the place in times past. Paradoxically, the most authentic element of the whole park is a conrete slab of Bedok Jetty, the longest structure of that type in Singapore. It was built in 1966 to accept metal scrap import from the Americans engaged in the Vietnam War. Vietnamese refugees freeing from Saigon were greeted and provided with medical services there, too. It's a place with a distinctive and international history. It also offers a stunning view of the distant business district’s ultramodern silhouette. This is where our one hour story of reality lost ends - at the very end of a very long jetty.

 

Tourists flock to Singapore during or after the Chinese New Year begins - but in fact they should come here some time before it, when the whole of Chinatown turns into a colourful, fiesta-like bazaar. The nearer the New Year it is, the noisier the streets become, with vendors shouting, announcing, trying to sell the stock before it gets obsolete and outdated. Why did I decide to roll the recapitulation there? This I won’t explain – just watch the movie!