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Joelyn Speaks: Places – The Istana

Joelyn speaks this National Day Special!

Place in question: THE ISTANA

This was honestly one of the emptier weeks because I didn’t really have school stuff to settle and Saturday was free of anything. But the Adventure Crew (Sarah, Avarielle and myself this time) went on a Sunday adventure to the place where the President works: The Istana. Special guests June and Mint Kang joined us for this interesting National Day special.

The queue when it’s earlier… there is none.

And due to the fact that we were there relatively early, like the early afternoon or so, we went through the queue pretty quickly. Tourists paid $1 which will go to the Community Chest and locals go in free. Then there was a security check, which cleared quite quickly as well so we were all happy.

Then the walking started.

Entrance to the unknown??
Map of the place.

So we went in and the first comment made was that the first segment of the place looked exceptionally like golf course. With the exception of the Swan Lake, everything else was green, okay maybe except for the Kids/ Family event that was set up a long distance into the place.

Nonetheless, a very Fantasy Novel worthy scene.

The swans of the Swan Lake =P
Don’t you feel like just charging down the hill? Minus the people of course.
And the Great Wall of Children’s Art!

So we walked (in the shade) past the events area through the second gate of the Istana and went into the deeper part of the place, where the Istana building itself sat. But before we walked up to the building itself, us being the AdCrew, can’t resist a photo opp like so:

Woohoo!!

What can I say? We love anything REMOTELY fiction worthy, especially with the Steampunk Anthology we’ll be writing up soon (Stay tuned to Book Bites this week!). Avariel also managed to get a picture of the Queen Victoria statue around the vicinity on the Istana’s Victoria Pond. Cool for her.

To be honest, the place can be said to be great for some great fantasy scene to unfold with its mass greenery and gardens. Oh yes, the Steampunk-ish lamps (okay, almost) and great white gates make great additions to possible scenes, but let’s not get too carried away.

And because the Istana grounds are not open to the public often (except on major public holidays only – usually), we went on the tour of the building. That was $2 to the Community Chest to go in, no photographs inside so don’t get your hopes up (And the interior of the building was the most steampunk fiction worthy scene =().

The Istana in its colonially-influenced and greatly preserved glory.
Our $2 worth and the building we were about to enter.

Visitors only got to take a look at the first level of rooms the Istana had to offer. Entering the place was kind of like entering a cross between a palace and a foreign court of law (because of its pillars and colonial-like structures). With the chandeliers and ground bound air conditioners cleverly made to look like antique cabinets, it really felt like going into a Venetian Ballroom, with masks and all.

While everyone else was wow-ing at the exhibits though, we were talking about a few things: Antiquities (whether or not some things were antique or just modernised), Art work and yes, you’ve guessed it, Fiction-worthiness. HAHA. I really liked the structure of the main ballroom though, brings you back in time, or into another country.

So yes, within half an hour or so, we were out and ready to get lunch. But I would say that it was an exercise I would go for, especially with the visitation of the Istana building itself and the freebies (I “heart” Museum) after that =P. And it’s worth it because the Istana is only open a few times a year, so you’re one lucky tourist if you happen to be in the country and it’s open.

By the way, with all the talk about National Day songs and stuff, my favourites are still “Together” by Evelyn Tan & Dreamz FM & “Moments of Magic” by Fann Wong (even though I don’t really like her), Tanya Chua & Elsa. I never really caught on past 2000. HAH.

P/S – I have the Malay Version of “Home”!!! HAH.

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