Friday, 5 December 2014

Images of Singapore LIVE Trip Report

In 2014, the classic attraction Images of Singapore was revamped into Images of Singapore Live. This development takes place concurrently with the opening of the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and features more live actors and digital media presentations. I must admit, though, that the new version lost a lot of its old charm. May you be the judge of whether the new Images of Singapore Live is better than the old one.

Images of Singapore Live is actually 1 giant, continuous live show where you travel back in time and relive key milestones in Singapore's history. Highly trained actors like port workers and Samsui women makes the experience even more immersive. Admission is $15 as a standalone or $35 if paired with Madame Tussauds Singapore. I have identified a few key themes in Images of Singapore Live. They are:

  1. Singapore Harbour
  2. Pre-War Singapore
  3. World War 2
  4. Developing Modern Singapore
  5. Spirit of Singapore Boat Ride

Singapore Harbour

Pre-independence Singapore is centered around trade at the port, so no tribute attraction will be complete without featuring our strategically important harbour. Before we begin, though, we need to pass through the Madame Tussauds ticketing counter. Basically, turn right for Madame Tussauds and left for Images of Singapore Live. Once entered, you will walk through a little passageway with many artifacts from memory lane - from a old drinks cart to a stop motion cinema. 

This is a walk down memory lane for the older guests

The 1900 equivalent of Youtube. HD screen is in the middle.

You then arrive at the Harbour Master's Office. After a short wait, you will be greeted by the first live actor - the port administrator. She works for a major shipping company and shares about the importance of trade to Singapore. Then, the phone rings and we all are invited through a set of doors to meet the boss of the Four Winds company. Here, the 4 company leaders, representing the 4 major races of Singapore will share about the importance of Family, Community, Harmony and...I forgot the last one.

Meet our first actor of the day - the Harbour Adminstrator

The four leaders of the Four Winds company represents the 4 major races of
Singapore- Chinese, Malay, Indiana and Eurasian

Pre-War Singapore

Leaving the harbour, you will enter the main Images of Singapore building and be greeted by native villager. He leads the group back into 1819 and into an old colonial tentage where Sir Stamford Raffles and the Prince of Johor signed the treaty This treaty allowed the British to conduct trade in Singapore.

Look, even the signs are themed!

Entering this tentage felt like entering a haunted house

Meet Major William Farquhar, right hand man of the vaunted Sir Stamford Raffles

After that, there is a short walk through a dark jungle. I must say at this point that the actors are really rushing us to complete the attraction. The forest scene has quite a number of interesting show sets and we completed bypassed them (I never even got a chance to catch pictures). We arrived through the jungle into the early 1900s, and Henry Ridley shares about how Major William Farquhar was denied the many contributions he made to Singapore. Fancy visiting William Place instead of Raffles Place?

Add Henry Ridley and Vanda Miss Joaquim, the lady whom Singapore's national
flower is named after

Its up the stairs to the next gallery. There is a lift for wheelchair guests

People from all over Asia swarmed to colonial Singapore in search for a better life. In fact, the next gallery upstairs showcases how Singapore was the Asian equivalent of the United States. In addition to witnessing the tough life that these migrants go through, you will also meet a Samsui woman who invites you to apply for a job and even let you try out some "physical labour"! (Samsui Woman is a manual labourer from China famous for their construction exploits and distinct red headdresses)

Anybody wants a job? You can look for me!

This is manual labour station 1: Lift the rickshaw with a person on board

This reminds me of the good old days not long ago where we will play catching
and soccer instead of Candy Crush and Minion Rush

World War 2

You enter the Jubilee theatre and onto December 8th, 1941. There, a movie hosts explains that she a war update will be screened before the main movie. Of course, the actual movie was never screened. The phone rang, and the host realised that Singapore is under attack. Suddenly, sound of explosions began and she rushed to lead us to the bomb shelter. 

Listen to the radio for bombing raid advisory!

This scene, in my opinion, really had so much more potential. For one, the sets showcasing destroyed Singapore is about as good as destroyed New York in USS HHN4, but we simply ran though it and had no time to appreciate. Also, the bombing effects should be accompanied with subwoofers to add to the realism.

We escaped the bombing raid to witness the surrender of the Empire of Japan. Here, the movie host leaves us and tells us to wait for the next host. I managed to use this lull to capture the forest scene where we escaped the bombs from.

The forest scene. Look how they blend real plants and a wallpaper to give a
feeling of depth.

Developing Modern Singapore

A shopkeeper will greet you and lead you through an art gallery before emerging into a large open space. Here, in this seemingly blank room, the shopkeeper introduced us to Singapore's most important resource - its people. It is at this moment that the room comes to life. 5 projectors light up the entire wall. There, animated cartoons depict the highlights in Singapore's recent history.

Singapore is a little red dot!

Recognise any landmarks?

Spirit of Singapore - Boat Ride

The final part of Images of Singapore Live is the much anticipated Spirit of Singapore boat ride. This ride is broken up into 2 main areas showing the landmarks and culture of Singapore respectively. Boats can accommodate 8 riders and the props used to recreate Singapore are quite creative (though a little cheap). The ride, I feel, is too short.

This boat has no safety belts or lap bar. Guess that means nothing much will happen :|

I hereby present to you: Marina Box Sands

You know, I really think this cultural showcase is taken from the original
Images of Singapore

On a side note, you can experience this ride even if you only purchase tickets for Madame Tussauds. However, for Madame Tussauds guests you will experience the boat ride first before going into the wax museum. Images of Singapore Live guests can continue on to Madame Tussauds after the ride (if they purchased tickets) or will be ushered to exit the attraction through another door.


I think Images of Singapore is revamped in conjunction with the SG50 celebrations in 2015. This is a good move but I feel this attraction could be so much better. There are many areas that just need some minor improvements to make them superb. The actors are talented and enthusiastic, yet they rush us so much that we cannot appreciate the whole place. It took us 90 minutes to finish the old Images of Singapore. Images of Singapore Live took us merely 30 minutes.