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Category Archives: Culture

Summer Holiday Round-Up

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Now I’m back in England, after 5 weeks of revisiting old places, visiting new places and going to a new country. Of course there are things to look forward to back home: Doctor Who, a bunch of awesome films, and the return of normality.

There’s something about this holiday that I have really enjoyed. So, without further ado, here are the 10 activities I enjoyed most this holiday, in no particular order – Read the rest of this entry

Singapore Part 4: Ubin Island – Singapore’s time portal

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On Saturday, I went to Pulau Ubin, off the coast of Singapore. The island is almost entirely forest, and the only people there lived in traditional kampungs, which were once the main style of house in Singapore. The villages are very old fashioned and the people rent bikes to travellers.

We went there with a university student from Hong Kong, and Singapore’s local historian KL Lee, who also took us to the Changi museum a week before. We walked approximately 12 kilometres for five hours across a third of the whole of Ubin island, and saw many interesting features on the island. Read the rest of this entry

Singapore Part 3: Marina Bay Sands

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Thanks to my uncle’s generosity, I’ve now spent the night in Singapore’s most famous building, Marina Bay Sands Hotel. We were lucky to have VIP Tower 1. The hotel had 57 floors, with the top floor being the Infinity Pool, the world’s largest rooftop pool which is 150-metre long. The hotel has three towels (I mean towers, whoops) and the top is in the shape of a boat, so it is a unique building to look at.
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Singapore Part 2: Diving into Singapore’s past

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So here I am back in Singapore. Thankfully my multi-media system on Singapore Airlines worked again so I watched Skyfall for the THIRD time (I needed something to quench my James Bond fatigue).

Singapore Zoo

My first trip was the Singapore Zoo and the River Safari. The River Safari was the new exhibit which I had never been to before, but I was not disappointed. There was a massive tank with many animals, including manatees and arapaimas. There were many different sections from many rivers around the world, including the Ganges, the Amazon, the Nile and the Mekong. Read the rest of this entry

Australia Part 3- Fremantle Prison’s “Doing Time Tour”, and a trip to Mandurah

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On Wednesday, we went to the Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.

The prison was used to contain many different types of prisoners, and the building itself was built by convicts sent over from England, as Fremantle was a convict camp. The prison was built between 1851 and 1859 and it was made from limestone.
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Australia part 2- Fremantle and Rottnest Island

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So here I am in Fremantle, the port city of Western Australia. It’s classed as being part of Perth but also as a separate city.

We live in a terraced house with no Wi-fi. The lack of Wi-fi means my blog posts have to be uploaded in the library (and probably means an Ant-Man review will only be in my end of year movie sum up). Still, there has been a lot to do including quokkas and more quokkas.

We lived in this house (with no Wi-fi) in Fremantle.

We lived in this house (with no Wi-fi) in Fremantle.

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Australia Part 1: Close encounters of the KANGAROO kind – in Perth!

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Here I am in Australia, or more precisely Perth, the most isolated big city in the world. For a city with this distinction, it seems pretty alive and it’s hard to believe that the city is surrounded by miles of water of Indian Ocean and miles of desert on all sides.

The flight from Singapore itself was eventful, as my multi-media console was severed for some strange reason. Thankfully I had a bunch of comics from Singapore to keep me entertained. I was given 75 dollars compensation to spend at the airline shop. My parents will probably buy something expensive with it to bring back

Perth itself is a very laid back city. The one downside is that it is in the middle of construction works, so there is noise everywhere, and we could hear them from our hotel room, and get woken up by the digging sound every morning (from about 7:00 clock). The city centre was mostly unaffected though, which is good as the shopping here is amazing!
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Singapore Part 1: Local food and a massive aquarium

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Finally, after 13 hours on a plane, I have arrived at Singapore (well, I arrived on Wednesday, but I was too tired to write then). Several things are different, several things are the same.

The first thing worth noting is the huge amount of people at the airport customs. Normally when we arrive, the queue is very short, but here the queue was massive. Something must have boosted the tourism here. The flight itself felt quite short, though of course it was normal length. I spent my time watching James Bond in hype mode (incidentally, Spectre trailer= AWESOME!) and sleeping.

I decided this holiday to not have any Western food until Australia, so my food in Singapore has been completely Eastern. I have had noodles, teriyaki and roast pork. Most food comes from the hawker centres, which are the traditional Singapore dining and socialising areas.

The main thing achieved today was the S.E.A Aquarium in Sentosa, one of the largest aquariums in the world. The last time I was here, the aquarium was pretty small. Good, but small. Now, the aquarium is gigantic. There is a huge tank with fish, sharks, groupers and three manta rays. There is a giant pacific octopus, spider crabs (does whatever a spider crab can), dolphins, jellyfish and more sharks. Every exhibit was great and there was a huge array of animals. Not since Singapore Zoo have I seen such a huge variety of animals.

We also went to Vivo City, the largest mall in Singapore. It’s huge, but not very interesting. I used to love it with the Toys’R’Us but now it just seems to be clothes shops. It is also very strangely laid out, at least to me. Thankfully there are other malls for me to explore. I have 400 Singapore dollars to spend (£200) so I have three options. Either find a perfect Singapore mall, spend all the money in Australia or wait until I get back to England and go on a Forbidden Planet shopping frenzy.

Whatever way it goes, my next post will be all about Australia and hopefully an Ant-Man review too.

Symbols of a country

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This summer, I’ll be visiting three countries – Singapore, Australia and Malaysia. All three have things which instantly define them. Singapore has the Merlion, Australia has the Opera House (which I sadly won’t be able to see this trip), Ayer’s Rock and kangaroos, both of which I will be able to see, while Malaysia has the Patronas Towers. This led me to think about what defines a country.

What instantly makes a place recognisable? Is there something which is so famous that the entire country is defined by it.

Sydney opera house

I’m not just talking about buildings or statues, but animals, culture and people. For example, in my mind, the most British thing that could ever happen is – Read the rest of this entry

Why are films never original?

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In the world of Hollywood, most major blockbusters are one of four things: Superhero, sequel, remake/reboot or adaptation of a book, usually a young adult one. Very few films nowadays are original. Sure Pacific Rim and Interstellar are two examples of original ideas, but it is rare to see a new blockbuster franchise spawn from something new.

I have nothing against the un-original blockbusters- all five of my most anticipated films of the year (Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Spectre and Star Wars VII) fall into one of the categories I mentioned above. The ones I’ve seen as of July (Ultron, JW) have been great, and I hope the other ones are as well . But that raises my first point.

In Hollywood, it is all about money. The big companies want to profit from their businesses, so they need to entice a way to get as many people into watching the movie. Let’s get a scenario up:

A Hollywood producer is offered three scripts, one of which they will finance and produce. Their company is struggling and they need a big hit. Do they-

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