Many superlatives can be used to describe the city-state of Singapore: modern, eclectic, and diverse just to name a few. One that should never be applied though is shy.
Everywhere you look in Singapore are the sometimes subtle, usually not, signs that this is a great country and that its citizens know it and are proud of it. And they should be. As Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister and architect of the modern Singapore, once said, in a span of a generation they managed to turn “a backwater port to a thriving city-state.”
No where are the tremendous achievements of this small, but mighty, island nation more apparent than at the Singapore History Museum.
I am convinced that everything in Singapore is executed both perfectly and in the most efficient manner possible. This can be seen throughout the city from the super-efficient subway to the national airline. Of course this theme of brilliant perfection is greatly magnified in the museum.
The museum went through a massive redesign a few years ago, and today is one of the most engaging and interactive museums in the world. Rather than just walk through a maze of exhibits and storyboards, the visitor becomes part of the experience and learns through active engagement rather than by reading plaques.
The tour leads the visitor through the pre-colonial and colonial eras, Japanese occupation in World War II and of course details the tremendous rise of Singapore throughout the latter half of the 20th Century.
By the end of the visit, which usually takes a couple of hours depending on your pace, you not only walk away with a greater understanding of the brief, but fascinating, history of Singapore, you also walk away with tremendous respect for and love of the tiny city-state.