Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Indian Heriatge Centre: My 1st Time

Just found out that I missed all the programs of the IHC cultural Fest that started on 8 May when the IHC (Indian Heritage Centre) opened. This is part of the many happenings that take place in this year of SG50.

IHC Cultural Fest poster

When I realised that one of the programs I missed was Traditional Trades Carnival on 15 to 17 May, I kicked myself, really hard. Luckily, I haven't practiced yoga for more than a decades. My foot missed my head by more than a metres. I was spared of the head concussion. And much more importantly, sore toe. But I pulled my thigh muscle in the self-kick.

Now for a very brief commercial..."No alarm, I've got Tiger Balm". (I'm not kidding. Before Singapore, I used something else for quick muscle pain relief. Now I'm fan of Tiger Balm.)

OK, I calmed myself down all these outrages with a meditation, which I have been practiced in my life 2.3 times longer than the period when I didn't.

There's no point to cry over spilled dahi. Until the end of the moth of May, the admission to IHC is free (after that, it's $4. So it won't break the bank).

Sculpture, Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore
Sculpture just outside the entrance to IGC

I was in Campbell Lane of Little India back in January for the Pongal Festival (read it and LOL). I saw the large snazzy, swanky, groovy looking building, and quite naturally I prematurely jumped the gun and thought that it was another upmarket shopping mall because they're as common in Singapore as mushrooms in Middle Earth (or where leprechauns live). It turned out to be the IHC building. Lucky I didn't make any bet with anyone.

IHC, Singapoore

It wasn't quite finished then, there were workers putting in finishing touches. Time flies in Singapore (I think the clock runs a little faster in Singapore due to Relativistic effect because it locates so close to the equator).

Anyway, I started my grand tour (or "grand tour" in French, German, or Italian) of IHC on L4, and worked my way down to L3. That was what the usher suggested. At the moment, only 2 levels are opened.

As soon as I got off either the lift or elevator (there's only one), I reckon you should proceed straight to watch the documentary on the history of Indian in Singapore. The doco was spoken in Tamil and then in English. I was there when it was run in Tamil, and I left when the doco started in English narration. I was too embarrassed to show that I couldn't understand Tamil. I think it would be better if they show the doco narrated in Tamil with English subtitles. It saves time and utter embarrassment.

Meanwhile...inside IHC...

In the hotel rooms in the ME, I saw arrows in the ceilings with the word "Qibla" next to it. That it's the direction to Mecca. The arrow points to the direction where a Muslim should face when he/she wants to pray. But if you have a Qiblar (or Kibla) indicator/locator such as the one below, you don't have to rely on the arrow in the ceiling.

Qiblar indicator, Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore
Qiblar compass or locator

Kavadi is the burden that the devotees carry during the Thaipusanm Festival similar to the one that I attended back in February this year.

Kavadi, Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore

To keep the visitors engaged and entertained, the museum provides a few activities. One such activity is to invite the visitors to try out different traditional hats from different regions of India.

Indian traditional headwear, Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore Indian traditional headwear, Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore Indian traditional headwear, Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore

I have no idea what's the name of the head-wear on the left photo is called, but I know this excruciatingly offensive looking and defensively intelligent (not defense intelligence) male model copied the moustache style from Salvador Dali.

The cap in the middle photo is Kashmiri Karakul Cap. The former Afghan president Hamid Karzai is often seen wearing this.

 The one in the right photo is, I'm guessing, Rajasthani turban.

By the way, the mo were added digitally. They weren't supplied by IHC. But if you have your own fake mo, why not bring it along for the photos? Mo adds an air of authority (or madness in the case of Dali).

Salvador Dali: "Who? Are you talking to me?"
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
President Karzai: "Yes! You with the gravity-defying mo!"

Meanwhile, just outside IHC in Campbell Lane, this was what I saw during the IHC Cultural Fest....

Rangoli, Campbell Lane, Singapore
Artist creating a rangoli

Board game of Snakes and Ladders, Campbell Lane, Singapore
Board game of Snakes and Ladders

It's quite easy to mistakenly thinking that this board game was invented by Parker Brothers. Well, it isn't. It's a traditional game that played by Indian for centuries.

Another game that's perhaps even more surprising that's invented by Indian is the game of Chess. But then if you know that Indian people is quite inventive in the mathematical field since ancient time, then the invention of this game shouldn't come as a surprise.

Chess board, Campbell Lane, Singapore

Ancient India also invented (or was it discovered?) the most important digit of all: 0 (zero). Zero - or nothing - is probably one of the most important concept in mathematics. It's said that the Egyptian and Babylonian may have predated the Indian in coming with this nil concept. But our modern adaption of zero in everyday practical application comes from India. That's quite something, isn't it?

Well, it's too difficult to show nothing (the concept of zero) in Campbell Lane. So I didn't see nothing about nothing on that day because we always find something are more interesting than nothing. But I think nothing is more interesting than anything. I've nothing more to say on the subject.

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