Despite the astonishing modernity of Singapore’s skyline and astonishing urban planning efforts, remnants of years past still exist, and it can be very pleasant indeed to make a day out of touring some its finest examples. Make it a point to visit the following.
1. Botanic Gardens – The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a great place to set out for a family picnic and a pleasant, afternoon stroll. The grounds were originally designed during the colonial period, and evidence of this bygone era abound. These are divided into themed zones (such as an orchid garden and a rainforest zone) and feature lovely and stately Victorian gazebos, pavilions, and ornate bandstands.
2. Fort Canning Cemetery – The oldest Christian cemetery in the city, the cemetery at the top of Government Hill was established in 1822. The oldest remaining headstones and tombs date to 1835 (all that remains of the first graves are the bits of tombstones that are embedded in the wall that was later constructed partly with these materials some decades after the site opened). The cemetery was originally reserved for members of the Anglican Church and other Protestants, but the cemetery was eventually opened up to Catholics as well. Those possessed of a desire to witness a slightly more morbid example of the colonial influence and impact on Singapore will not be disappointed.
3. Indian Convict Settlement – For tourists interested in a glimpse of the brutality of the colonial system in Singapore could do worse than visiting this vestige of the British slave labor system. Beginning in 1826 as a result of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, Indian “convicts” were housed at Temenggong Village near the Singapore River and later relocated to permanent buildings erected for them between Bras Basah Road and Stamford Road. There were as many as 2,000 convicts housed here at one time. Today, these structures persist as evidence of the dark side of colonial rule.