While travelling, there are certain attractions that one automatically expects to find at a given destination. It may be the beaches in the Caribbean, glaciers in Alaska or mysterious temples in Thailand. However, the nation of Singapore swung me a curve ball with this preconceived notion. I was truly surprised at the large number of detailed bronze statues which were scattered all throughout the Riverside area.
Before, if someone had asked me to list countries where one could literally find bronze statues around every corner, I'd call countries such as Germany, Denmark and England. However, I now place Singapore in that list. The statues which I found in this Asian country were not only extremely detailed, but each seemed to tell a story.
During a walk along Boat Quay, I first happened upon a large bronze statue featuring a large two wheeled cart being pulled by a rather hefty looking cow. In the cart were several sacks of what I would imagine to be either flour or grain, and two men were seemingly stacking the sacks into the cart. Immediately, visions of merchants in an older version of Singapore came to mind, and I found myself thinking of the statue and it's possible meaning as I continued along.
I then noticed another business themed statue soon after. This sculpture featured three men engaged in what appeared to be quite a fascinating discussion. The postures were very realistic, with one 'man' standing with one hand on his hip and his legs askew. From studying the sculpture, I gathered that it was depicting men belonging to the old middle class society, as two of the three were dressed in long robes, and the other was clothed in a business suit.
My curiousity was sparked to the extent that I actually researched them to find out what their true story was. I discovered that the sculpture was created by a local sculptor by the name of Aw Tee Hong, and that the composition was actually of iron, copper and brass as opposed to bronze. The fellow in the business suit was a Scottish trader and he was bargaining with a Chinese trader and a Malaysian Chief. I guess I wasn't too far off, since I had already gathered that these people weren't of lower class status.
These statues made me curious to dig further into the local history, and I can safely say that while the culture may not be as ancient as that of Europe, it captured my interest. My favourite sculpture is actually a collection of statues, featuring five young boys appearing to leap off the edge of the riverwalk into the water below. This creative masterpiece represents brave and playful lads who would swing from trees into the river amidst cargo vessels, to splash about in the water.
In short, although you think you know what to expect of country from the information you read beforehand, still expect to be surprised. If it weren't for these statues, I would've left Singapore without a true representation of the country, as I wouldn't have had such an informative glimpse into it's past.