The problem with Pangzi having rich classmates is the tendency to compare.
“Daddy, when are you taking me to a cruise?” he asked post-school holidays.
“Why the sudden interest?” I challenged, fearing the worst.
“Because Ramen just went,” Pangzi replied.
“That’s the boy sitting behind me in class. His dad drives a Jaguar,” he explained.
I was very bothered about what I’d just heard. Since when have parents been naming their kids after carbohydrates?
“The last time I checked, a really decent cruise will cost an arm and a leg,” I reasoned. “I don’t have extra arms and legs, so I can take you to a ship museum instead.”
That was my long-awaited excuse to visit the Singapore Maritime Gallery.
“But there’s no ship museum in Singapore!” he protested.
“Tell you what – let’s make a bet,” I said. “If I can find you a ship museum, promise me you’ll unfriend that boy, okay?”
“Daddy, what is unfriend?”
“That means when you go to school tomorrow, tell him that his name sucks.”
“Daddy, what is sucks?”
“Just do what I say!”
There we go. Dedicated to the local shipping industry, the Singapore Maritime Gallery is a museum so obscure that it doesn’t even show up on the online street directory.
It’s been built with the support of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, tastefully done up in several experiential zones that take you through the history and progress of the industry.
“Daddy, why are all the ships so small? A ship museum should have real ships.”
“These are very special ship models though.”
“I don’t see anything special. Is this black one special?”
“Yes, that’s called the baa baa black ship!”
As expected, very few people come here – a shame considering the venue is directly served by the Marina South Pier MRT on the red North-South line.
Although there are no life-size ships to get onboard and explore, the Singapore Maritime Gallery does boast a healthy assortment of miniature ships and rigs on display. Entry is free.
Nevertheless, you can see through the binoculars many vessels out at sea as well as the Marina Bay Cruise Centre not too far away.
“Look,” I pointed out. “That’s where people board a cruise.”
“Daddy, when can we go?”
“When you grow up and make lots of money, you’ll take me along, okay?” I schemed.
“But when I’m an adult I don’t want to go already.”
“Because adults can’t enter the playroom on the cruise!”
To Pangzi, the best thing about the ship museum is this special section that promotes maritime fun and games for children.
“See? You don’t have to go on a cruise to play,” I consoled him. “Everything you like is here at the ship museum.”
The next day when he returned home from school, he told me that he had already unfriended the rich classmate.
“You told him his name sucks?”
“No, I told him his daddy has too many arms and legs.”
We were here: