My main motivations for choosing to study at NUS and live in Singapore were to experience a new culture, learn a new language, and live in what is considered to be a city of the future. Singapore is known for its cleanliness, orderliness, and overall overwhelming happiness. However, given Singapore’s major push to become a city of the future filled with self-driving cars, automated McDonalds, and other technology-dependent devices, I was pleasantly surprised to see a developing and thriving arts community.
Within my first two months in Singapore, I have already attended numerous arts events, including plays and exhibitions. I saw Off Centre, a play that address mental health in Singaporean society, in the cultural district of downtown Singapore. While the play itself was relatively interesting, it was more interesting to see how the local community connected and interacted with the play. Furthermore, it was my first time seeing a professional theatre production with an all-Asian cast, which while regular in Singaporean productions, was a completely welcomed and foreign experience for me. Also special to Singapore during the winter months is the iLight Festival, where the city installs numerous light exhibits throughout the downtown area. As you walk from Clarke Quay to Marina Bay Sands, there are dozens of unique and interesting light pieces — perfect for viewing on late-night runs and walks downtown. Not only are they fun to see, these exhibits are unique to Singapore in that they are created by Singaporean artists and often blend in with the architecture and sites of downtown Singapore. In addition, one of my favorite parts about living in Singapore is the hidden murals you can find throughout the city. There’s a street in Little India where a majority of the walls are covered in beautiful murals that tell individualistic stories.
Singapore is indeed a city of the future with its vast technology and development, however, there is a beautiful, underrated thriving arts community that is waiting to be explored by locals and foreigners alike.