Out of Mandai
I can still see myself as a very little girl wearing a panda T-shirt with my name on it visiting the Singapore Zoological Gardens. As my mother's first and only child at that time, she must have felt obliged to bring me to the zoo at least once - something of a hassle in those days when you realise how far away Mandai is.
Even nowadays it wasn't exactly an easy place to reach. My favourite route would be via Ang Mo Kio, taking a direct bus from the terminus, passing by the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium. You may remember that I do not live in Singapore, have not been since September 1995.
Fruit bat kept exposing himself to me
In my absence from the homeland I have lost my paternal aunt and the family has had the remains of my grandparents and other late family members moved to the same place. The whole family therefore sits in Block B in a quiet, green environment rendered only a little less peaceful occasionally by the SSAF when they practise their shooting in the surrounding forests. I personally would find it a little nerve-wrecking walking around in a forest so near where thousands of Singapore's dead were housed. Especially when we were in the middle of the 7th lunar month (aka Hungry Ghosts' Festival) when we visited.
What are you looking at?
So whenever we go to the Zoo (which usually takes place each time we're back) I would try to stop along the way and pay my respects to our beloved dead. I still have not decided if I would like to rest in Singapore or remain with my husband and children the day I pass on, it's just not an easy decision to make. Actually, that's not true. I want to become a diamond, a true family heirloom. Just not sure if I want to be round brilliant cut or cushion...
Anyway, I digress as usual. So as the indulgent, loving mother that I am, I brought my kids to the Singapore Zoo which turned out to be wonderful as usual, though I wouldn't recommend the boat ride, there being nothing to see along the way and it being a little slow-moving. I totally love the Orang Utans, white Tigers, even the snakes. The baboon enclosure was really impressive, I spent a good 10 minutes watching a grown male masturbating in front of us. Though I also noticed electric wires in the trees where the Orang Utans were which explained how they managed to keep them up there - "free". Somehow I found that a little disturbing.
Tea time for the orang utans
Still, compared to most other zoos I've visited, the Singapore one is way ahead in organisation, landscaping and humane treatment of its animals. Until someone checks the psychological health of those animals, of course. I would go crazy if I had to turn around in the same space day in and out, see those human visitors and not be able to eat them, for example.
White tigers having a swim