Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chinese Gardens

On Fridays I do walks around Singapore with a Meetup group. It's not only a bit of exercise but we walk slow enough so that it's very social and on top of that I get to explore places on the island that I may not normally see. This Friday we walked through the Singapore Chinese Gardens. It's monsoon season now and it rains daily, which it was doing as I rode the train to the Chinese Garden MRT, but the rain stopped ten minutes before our walk just as we were gathering at the MRT station and deciding whether or not to buy coffees and umbrellas from Cheers. 

The east entrance was specially constructed in conjunction with the Chinese Garden MRT station to ensure easy access for pedestrians visiting the gardens. If you watch reality TV, the bridge served as the finish line of the reality competition series The Amazing Race Asia 2. 

Red bridge at east entrance

Red bridges are throughout the Chinese Gardens in various shapes and sizes as red symbolizes good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture. There is also a Japanese-style garden within the Chinese Gardens.

Red bridge to Japanese Gardens

The pagoda is the same in the picture with the red bridge. Pagodas traditionally have an odd number of levels and sometime attract lightning strikes because of their height, especially if the finial at the top is made of metal. 

Views of the stairwell from the top and the bottom reminded me of a conch shell. From the top you can see four ladies waving up at me. From the top floor, though you cannot see them, there are three geckos on the ceiling. There is something about their toes that I find adorable!

Four ladies at the base of the stairwell

Pagoda ceiling
Through lattice windows at the top of the pagoda you can see nearby HBD housing. It was during the Song dynasty that sophisticated lattice work began.

Lattice Window
The ‘Bai Hong Qiao’ (the white rainbow, 13-Arch Bridge) follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Peking.

Bai Hong Qiao

Though not a religious person, the closest thing to spirituality I can sense is in trees. When I see light through green leaves and hear breezes rustling through the leaves it calms me. Which is probably why I feel pure rage when I read about clear cutting and slash and burn practices. There are relatively few things humans need to survive: air, water, food, shelter. Trees provide all these things. If you doubt that trees provide water, see what happens to rainfall patterns when trees are removed from the equation. 

Light through trees just after the rain stopped
Chinese Gardens also include Scholar's Rocks, which are especially prized if they have been pitted and sculpted by erosion. I don't know what the symbol is, but I loved the contrast of the soft, natural rock against the shiny Chinese red.

Scholar's Stone

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