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Art History: Week II Journal

“What is your favourite Buddhist Temple in Singapore? Why?”

I’ll tell the truth: I have never been to a Buddhist Temple in Singapore, and even if I did, I sadly do not remember any details of the visit. In fact, I just went on a Google search for “Buddhist Temple Singapore” and can more or less confirm that I have not been to any of the temples. I have to say, though, the Buddha Tooth Relic temple is really something. It’s really grand and ornate on the outside, and there are lots of red and gold decorating the interior, which really pops in its contrast. (What can I say, I do judge a book by its cover.) I would like to pay a temple a visit in the future.

However to make up for it, I’ll say a thing or two about my favourite Buddhist temple, Borobudur Temple in Indonesia.

I was most definitely not appreciative of the temple when I visited it. I was young (eleven years old, and obviously foolish). I mean, the temple is a behemoth. No, it’s not large, it’s not huge, it is absolutely abnormally ginormous. My jaws should have dropped and my legs limp at the very sight of it. Being the culturally blind little child I was, I didn’t.

I do remember though, stretching my hands through the holes in the perforated stupas to touch the Buddha statue’s hand. The tour guide said it would bring me luck. I recall panting and climbing up the stairs because there were many, many terraces and levels. I also vaguely remember tracing my eleven-year-old hands on the reliefs, which were probably telling stories about the Buddha.

But there’s Southeast Asian Art History next semester, so let’s stop here and save the story for then.