Yo peeps, in case you haven’t heard yet, it’s the International Museum Day 2008 ( IMD’08 ) from 31st May to 2nd June this weekend!

Although I don’t understand why it is called a “day” when it actually stretches over three days. *scratch head *

Oh well, never mind that.

This May, the National Heritage Board (NHB) celebrates IMD’08 with the theme “Museums ALIVE!”, showcasing how local museums can be lively and exciting cultural destinations with something for everyone. Close to 39 exciting events and activities happening across more than 19 museums around Singapore will be featured. You can click here to access the calendar to check out the wide variety of events and activities listed and see whether anything interests you. They range from special bus tours, guided tours, workshops, classes, outdoor picnics, to free visits to selected museums, so there’s bound to be something suitable for all ages!  

But I think the best part of this IMD’08 is the free entry to 13 selected museums all over Singapore on 31st May which is this Saturday!

Knowing fellow Singaporeans, since this involves their all-time favourite “F” word, “FREE”, these museums are going to be insanely packed with families (-_-). I can understand their point though. For a family of five, entry fees alone can easily cost about $50 for most places of attraction. But for single people like moi, I’m definitely going to avoid such FOC days. In fact, I won’t even go anywhere on weekends if I want to enjoy the experience in peace. The last time I went for the Louvre exhibition at the National Museum, I took half day just to go there. Yet it wasn’t exactly quiet because it was a Friday and schools organised excursions for their rowdy children. (-.-) 

I thought it was interesting how the NHB listed the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research as one of the museums open to the public for free for IMD. Located on the third level of Blk S6 in NUS, just a floor under the Science Library, this museum has always been free entry what haha! It’s such a low-profile museum that even most of the Science students do not know of its existence! Unless of course you are a Life Science student like I was and therefore have to take the module LSM 1103 Biodiversity where we were strongly encouraged to visit the RMBR for our project. We had to capture animals, kill them mercifully and make specimens out of them. It might sound gross but it was really fun and interesting haha. However since I’m quite the morbid person, my idea of fun isn’t exactly typical. Anyway we mainly caught insects and spiders for this project. The coolest spider I saw for that project though was caught by this big guy in class and its span was bigger than his hand.

It’s not strange that the first time I went to this museum with my LSM 1103 project mates, I fell in love with the place. It was so tranquil and serene, just loads of dead animals looking back at you. I love specimens, the larger the better. There’s just something about a dead thing not totally looking dead that appeals to me. The Body Worlds exhibition which arrived on local grounds for a while years ago was the best: preserved human bodies and body parts. While some people might find the thought itself queasy, I found myself getting hungry looking at the exhibits. It’s quaint how human flesh when preserved looks no different from bak kwa. And anyone who has seen our internal organs will tell you that they look just like kway chup. Seriously.

Occupying space no more bigger than half of a soccer field, this tiny museum displays only a small part of its 500,000 specimens, with the intent of providing an introduction to Southeast Asian biodiversity and raising the awareness of conservation issues. Little known, situated in the tropics, our minute island actually hosts an incredibly rich biodiversity of fauna and flora, more than the whole of North America added up.  

Although the RMBR is a truly interesting and educational place albeit small, I won’t recommend you to go all the way to NUS just to see it, unless you stay near, because you may be disappointed at the number of the displays even though those range from insects to small mammals to big mammals (tiger etc) to sea creatures to plants. Since we have well over 500,000 specimens in total, I hope that one day we can have a larger and more established Biodiversity museum in the heart of the island like most other museums.  

While I won’t be going to any of the museums to squeeze with the general public this weekend (no time anyway, going blading again), the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Singapore Discovery Centre and the Mint Museums of Toys will be on my to-visit-soon list. The weird thing is that my friends don’t like to visit museums or places of interest like the zoo, the botanical gardens. They won’t be able to stand me as well because I can spend hours there and a fairly long time just looking at one single exhibit. And neither will I like it if anyone with me wants to rush through the place because it will defeat the purpose of being there in the first place. Luckily my parents, after bringing me up to be the peculiar character that I am, gave me two more sisters who share the same interests and therefore are best mates and company.

Otherwise, it’s fine too, since strangely, I can stand being on just my own. 😀

Or is that not strange?

Oh well, happy International Museum day!