Historical Singapore and a decent hairdresser!

Trip Start Mar 25, 2011
1
179
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Trip End Dec 01, 2011


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

7.30am... it's getting better... I start the morning looking at other areas to stay as I want to stay longer in Singapore.  After little success... I mean there are loads of hostels... some cheaper some more expensive but none that offer the amenities and space as this one offers and so after my shower I'll inquire about extending my stay....

That sorted I then bump into Michael, a guy from Australia with one of his sons Connor who is here for 3 weeks holiday... he travels extensively and offers me some advice... he also says I can pop over and meet his wife and other son later and if there is anything I need just ask... how nice is that!

I then call in to reception...  good news there is availability.. bad news because of the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.. the price has gone up slightly... it still makes sense to stay here!  This hostel is fab even with a train journey... you'll need to do this anyway to get around and so I'm pleased its all sorted...  I have fallen in love with Singapore... it has so much to offer and I don't think I'll have enough time here... but I'll try to fit as much in and then maybe come back for a few more days before my departure flight!

So today I'm off to The Changi Chapel and Museum.  I take the train and then have to take a bus.. the bus stop is right outside... I give the driver (known as a bus captain here!!!) a $2 note and he looks at me... he says I need change.. OK so where???!!!  I ask him again and he indicates that I need to go and find change from passengers!!!  Thankfully a local lady changes my note and asks where I am going... I tell her the prison... in hindsight I should of said the Changi Museum and she informs the driver where I need to get off and also a very mature lady.... arriving at a bus stop the older lady indicates I'm to get off... I do and see the prison... the old lady points to the entrance... it is in fact the actual prison... I ask the guard the way to the museum and she points me in the right direction, a short walk away...  lesson learned... be more specific on destinations!!!

Changi Prison was constructed by the British administration of the Straits Settlements as a civilian prison, in 1936.During  World War II, following the Fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese military detained about 3,000 civilians in Changi Prison, which was built to house only 600 prisoners. The Japanese used the British Army's Selarang barracks, near the prison, as a prisoner of war camp, holding some 50,000 Allied predominantly British and Australian soldiers.  Although POWs were rarely, if ever, held in the civilian prison, the name Changi became synonymous in the UK, Australia, and elsewhere with the POW camp. About 850 POWs died during their internment in Changi during the Japanese occupation of Singapore a relatively low rate compared to the overall death rate of 27% for POWs in Japanese camps. However, many more prisoners died after being transferred from Changi to various labour camps outside Singapore, including the Burma Railway and the Sanakan airfield.  Allied POWs, mainly Australians, built a chapel at the prison in 1944 using simple tools and found materials. British airman Stanley Warren painted a series of murals at the chapel. Another British POW, Sgt. Harry Stodgen built a Christian cross out of a used artillery shell. After the war, the Chapel was dismantled and shipped to Australia, while the cross was sent to the UK. The chapel was reconstructed in 1988, and is now located at the Royal Military College Duntroon, Canberra.

In 2000, the prison was demolished and its inmates were relocated to a new consolidated prison complex in a neighbouring site. In view of its historical significance, the Preservation of Monuments Board worked with the Singapore Prison Service and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to allow the front gates of the old prison to be preserved and moved to the new prison. In 1994 Changi Women’s Prison and Drug Rehabilitation Centre was opened. Presently, the new Changi Prison houses the most serious criminal offenders in the country, including criminal offenders who are serving long sentences and those who have been sentenced to death. It serves as the detention site for death row inmates at Changi, before they are executed by hanging, traditionally on a Friday morning. Changi Prison is also one of the main places (though not the only one) where judical corporal punishment by caning is carried out. Caning sessions at Changi are held twice per week. A former employee of the prison has been quoted as saying: "They are flogging more and more these days. Before they were doing maybe 60 on Tuesdays and Fridays, now they're doing a hundred.

Maybe a good thing I didn't get in!!!!  Off to the right place...

The Changi Museum is a museum dedicated to Singapore's history during the Second World War.In 1988, Singapore built a replica Chapel and Museum next to the Changi Prison. When Changi Prison was expanded in 2001, the Chapel and Museum was relocated to a new site 1 km away and the Changi Chapel and Museum was officially established on 15 February 2001. Bernard Stodgen, the son of Sgt Harry Stogden, was invited to place the cross that his father made onto the wreathed altar in the new Chapel. He was claimed to have cried while doing so, as this was one of the only chances he got to interact with his father (through his work) as "Harry" Stogden died during the war.The Museum has a collection of paintings, photographs and personal effects donated by former POWs. Among the collection is a series of paintings and sketches by a POW named William Haxworth which provide valuable insight on the daily life of the internees during the occupation. In 1986, Haxworth's wife donated a collection of over 400 paintings and sketches to the National Archives of Singapore.  Also in the museum is a collection of watercolour paintings by Mary Angela Bateman who was among the thousands of women and children held at Changi Prison for more than three years during the war.

Unfortunately you are prohibited from taking any photos.  The museum is free to visit however you can for a small charge pay for an audio system which talks as you walk around... this museum is full of interesting facts and commentary from people who had experienced awful situations... it was a very moving and emotional tour.

On my way back I stop at another shopping complex and happen to walk by a hairdressing salon that looked good and spur of the moment decided my hair needed a trim... this travelling malarkey takes it out of you and my hair feels in need of some attention...  it's got to be better than Fiji and New Zealand....(I mean it can't be any worse.. can it?? )  I haven't dyed my hair for months, not since Shelley very kindly did it for me a one of the more remote campsites! I have more grey hair than I would normally allow... my hairdresser Jimmy comments on it and says I'd look younger if there wasn't any grey... well when he asks my age he says really you look younger... and if you dye it younger still and it will also look in better condition... so far I'm impressed with the beauty side so why not... lets do it... I am not disappointed... the colour is fab and the cut straight!!  I feel a million dollars walking out.... somethings just happen for a reason!! 

I walk back to the hostel and knock on Michael's room where I meet his wife Natasha and other son Liam... they are such a nice family and offer me lots of advice on Singapore and Malaysia... Michael travels every month with work and knows so much and I've picked up a few pointers!!!

I then go out for dinner before returning to the lounge and watch another Bali DVD... these are incredible value and so far all work!!! BARGAIN!

Time ticking the land of sleep beckons...
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