Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Chapel

Chapel
large

Nearby to Fort Canning Hill is the former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. I remember passing by it as a schoolboy when it still functioned as a school, not really knowing what it was, but extremely curious because of the imposing high walls and closed gates (insert joke about schoolboys and convent girls here).

It's now a complex of restaurants, bars, and art galleries, a commerical enterprise called CHIJMES. For years I used to wonder what the "mes" stood for (the "chij" being obvious), and I've only just found out that it stands for nothing: the developers added it just so you could pronounce it as "chimes". (insert joke about chimes ringing hollow)

It remains a very beautiful location - the chapel was excellently restored, and they've preserved the stained glass windows very well. If you have Quicktime, then you can try this VR panorama here to get a feel for what the site looks like now, and visit the chijmes website (flash required) to see the photos of the restoration process. The low res photos (from the picture archive section) suggest that behind the original grey walls of CHIJ lurked Singapore's first and only Gothic ruin, before it was cleaned up. It's beautiful, and a bit sad - I'm not sure the "CHIJ" part of this building sits easy with its newer "+MES" identity: it seems sad to yoke together something spiritual with something so mercantile. It's good that an architectural significant building could be preserved - it's sad that we had to turn a convent into a commerical enterprise to do so.

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5 comments:

domgoh said...

Didn't know you were such a shutterbug. You do have some esoteric hobbies!

Love your Fort Canning pics. But you left out something - the old National Library.

domgoh said...

BTW - Can you get any GPS handset or must you get a specific type that will work in Singapore?

wahj said...

I have too many hobbies! = ) If you haven't noticed by now, they usually peak and trough at the expense of each other - i.e. lots of photography usually means less wargaming and painting, and vice versa!

Geocaching and photography are slightly more synergistic, because the one usually leads to opportunities for the other.

You can use any GPS unit in Singapore. I've got a Garmin eTrex, the most basic model. Magellan makes some good designs, and seem to be more bang for buck than the Garmins though.

coupdegrace said...

really really pretty :)

wahj said...

thanks cgd. = )