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February 19, 2008

Greek Masterpieces At National Museum Of Singapore

Greek Masterpieces From The Louvre
I visited the National Museum of Singapore recently. The object of my curiosity? A tiny token of Greek masterpieces drawn from the famous Louvre Museum in Paris, paraded for the first in Singapore from 9 Dec 2007 to 16 March 2008.

What's In the Stores?
Scattered throughout the cavernous exhibition hall at National Museum's basement were Greek sculptures, figures, vases and jewellery from ancient Athens and beyond. By reading bilingual scripted signboards after proper introduction by a knowledgeable museum guide, I managed to make some sense of the four sections on display.

What did I learn?
In my humble opinion, using simple terms and non-academic jargon:

1) Open display of genitalia in various art forms was not considered taboo in Greek society during the 4th and 5th century BC. (Fast forward to the present: modern-day artists continue to keep this tradition alive in galleries and museums.)
2) For male citizens of Greece, military warfare was a highly coveted career path. (Fast forward: Unlike those times, we now conscript all male citizens for up to 2.5 years plus another ten years of Nsman service to allow proficiency in the study on the art of war. )

3) Only citizens could vote at that time. (Fast forward: We have not changed since then. )

4) For women, universal suffrage was an alien language. (Fast forward: We now make our children study it in school, plus second language, higher mother-tongue, third language, etc.)

5) Slaves were acquired to keep family compounds tidy. (Fast forward: We've replaced these workers' titles to sound much nicer: foreign domestic workers; and issue letters on how to treat them better.)

6) The more slaves, the richer the family. (Fast Forward: Similar to present concept where more maids could indicate means-testing failure.)

7) Ancient society was preoccupied with Greek heroes. (Fast forward: We copied history and now occupy ourselves with Heroes on TV.)

8) The Greeks invented a term 'Agon', loosely translated to mean challenge or the spirit of competition. (Fast forward: We've also started our kids young with challenges like competition for places in Nursery classes, balloting for places in Primary One. )

Looking For More
I had no inkling that I could learn so much from an hour's visit to this exhibition. I'm glad I caught these Greek products before their expiry dates and departure from Singapore. It's been a welcomed change of routine. I shall be looking out for more.

Do you have any interesting place to recommend?

Take care, be happy.

seen this scene that

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