Faces of Singapore

Exhibit in Musselman Library Stairwell

Spring 2007


Click on the picture thumbnails to see the full images.

Singaporean Food - Jason Loh

Food is a universal constant. The form it takes across the globe may change, but it is one of the essential ingredients necessary for life. Food serves not only the practical purpose of providing us with energy, but also with a reason to interact with others. The social aspect of a meal is important to humans. Rarely do humans prefer to eat alone.

These images capture not only the diverse flavors of Singaporean cuisine, but also the importance of social interaction associated with food. Hawker centers are a popular provider of inexpensive, yet delicious food of all types for consumption. No matter what tastes one is looking for, the food found at hawker centers can satisfy those cravings - Chinese or Malaysian food. A place where cheap, yet tasty, food can be had is sure to attract many visitors. People gather at tables and order the food that they wish to eat.

Eating in a Crowd 

Hawker centers offer an array of Singaporean dishes at very affordable
prices. In between rows of cooking stalls, tables and stools await
hungry diners, including some familiar faces from Gettysburg.
Photograph by Li Chen
Written by Li Chen

At the Market

All over the world merchants use noise to attract costumers. After falling for this man's ice cream, Jason helps to woo others to his cart with a bell.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Jason Loh

The busy hawker centers mean that all kinds of people can be found there. Construction workers, National Service members and corporate executives can be found dining in these centers. This really shows that food is the great equalizer.

Food in public venues is not limited to hawker centers. As you can see, street vendors also sell all sorts of delectable snacks, such as ice cream, nuts and spring rolls. You need not order a whole meal to satisfy your hunger.

Cooking

Embrace the taste of Singapore - especially number nine, which was a group favorite (Pig's Organ Soup)!

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Jason Loh

Dining

As evidence of Singapore's cultural background, "No Touting" is allowed in this marketplace.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Leo Vaccaro

Youth

Singapore youth dine on delectable dishes.

Photograph by Jason Loh
Written by Jason Loh


When in Singapore, instead of relying on the food that has been imported - like McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken - experience the varied tastes of Singaporean cuisine. There is something for everyone. Even amongst the aforementioned American imports, all of our team was able to find something in the local diet that satisfied our hunger time and again.

Fruit

Love it or hate it - tasting durian, the King of Fruit.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Designed by Doug Kaufman
Written Jason Loh

The City - Leo J. Vaccaro

A big city and a small nation, Singapore was always ideally located for trade and development - it is an island halfway between China and India. The Chinese may have known about the area ever since the Sung dynasty (960-1279), however, it was a young British visionary by the name of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who "founded" Singapore in 1819.

Artist

Local artisan makes a "name" for herself!

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Doug Kaufman

Workers

Foreign laborers returning after a hard day of work.

Photograph by Doug Kaufman
Written by Leo Vaccaro

From then on, Singapore had unique British roots, which are still relevant today in terms of language, commerce, culture, population, government, and education. At the same time, it is a grave error to believe that other groups did not help found and influence Singapore. Soon, Chinese immigrants poured onto the island city, and before long they became the largest ethnicity in Singapore (as they still are today). This large population greatly contributed to Singapore's economic growth, politics, entertainment and culture even before the disastrous consequences of the Second World War on the Chinese Singaporean population.

Bicycle

Found all over the city, "tri-shaws" are one of many means of Singaporean transportation.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Doug Kaufman

Little India

One of the main ethnic enclaves in Singapore, Little India has become a popular tourist destination which means that Little India is no longer just for Asian Indians anymore.

Photograph by Jason Loh
Written by Jason Loh

Since Singapore severed its legal ties with Great Britain in the late 1950's, Singapore has struggled to define its own identity. At first seeking to become part of Malaysia, Singapore is now an independent nation, administered by its own representative system of government. Ever since earning the distinction of being one of Asia's "Four Tigers" (along with South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan), Singapore has experienced an explosion of economic growth as well as an explosion of population and immigration. As of June 2006, almost four and a half million people reside in Singapore.

Chinatown

Chinatown's Night Market offers a unique shopping experience. These shop houses and stalls present an array of traditional and modern clothing, accessories, and general merchandise. There's something here for everyone!

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Li Chen

Majestic

The Majestic Theatre attracts Gettysburgians and Singaporeans alike.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Li Chen

Hungry Ghost Festival - Erin Avery

The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated throughout Southeast Asia. Countries like Singapore, China, and Indonesia hold outdoor performances and burn special paper money called "hell money," along with paper televisions, radios, and other modern items for souls to use in hell and purgatory. People make paper boats with candles to light the way back home for the dead who have drowned or have died far away from their families.

Many businesses and people avoid any major functions not associated with the festival - such as weddings and business mergers - which is due to the superstition that the dead have power over the living during the festival and also as a sign of respect for the dead. The festival is celebrated during the seventh month of the lunar calendar or August and/or September (to use the Gregorian calendar), and it is rooted in Buddhist and Taoist religions.

Circle

Another type of offering during the Hungry Ghost Festival, this burnt money provides fortune and wealth for the wandering souls.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Doug Kaufman

Parking

Public parking garages seem to be the perfect setting for a Hungry Ghost to get a free meal.

Photograph by Doug Kaufman
Written by Erin Avery

The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated with feasts, family, friends, and business associates, but it all started with a man named Mu Lian. Mu Lian tried to save his mother's soul from spending an eternity in hell. His mother was a mean woman in life and was greatly disappointed when Mu Lian became a monk. She decided to punish all the monks by giving them non-vegetarian ingredients in vegetarian food, and she was immediately sent to hell.

Mu Lian had a vision of his mother with a big empty stomach and a small mouth that could not fit food or water. He went to hell and tried to give her food and water, but it all burned or turned to blood before he could give it to her. He prayed for her soul and offered vegetarian items to monks to make up for what she had done.

Offering

A typical scene during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Doug Kaufman

Buddha freed Mu Lian's mother soul from hell and she was able to rest in peace. Buddha instituted a new rule that all the lost souls in hell and purgatory could rise up to be fed and obtain other necessities from the living each year during the seventh month in the lunar calendar.

This was a way for the souls to bear living in hell for eternity and a way for living family members to make up for the bad things that their dead family members did in life.

Stage

Setting up a stage for a performance during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

Photograph by VoonChin Phua
Written by Erin Avery