Less-well known – and perhaps understandably, if you read the mediocre reviews – is Hitman: Agent 47 . This 2015 action thriller is based on the Hitman video game series and was originally set to have Paul Walker in the lead role before his untimely death; Rupert Friend played the role instead. Around half of Hitman was filmed here – the rest in Berlin – and the Singapore setting is clear even from the movie poster; it shows the ArtScience Museum and other landmarks. One of the extras in the cast is referred to as “Gardens by the Bay man”. More dramatically, Robinson Road in the CBD is used as the scene of a shoot-out – the area was shut down for four days for filming. One notable sequence shows the road jam-packed with blue ComfortDelGro cabs! You can also get a glimpse of the old MPH bookstore that traded at 63 Robinson Road until it closed a few years ago. Other locations that appear include Changi Airport, Chinatown, Marina Barrage and Parkroyal at Pickering. The latter is where the cast stayed, including British lead Hannah Ware. She later reflected on her Singapore experience: “One thing I found hard was the humidity. I’ve never been somewhere so humid! But the food was really, really good, and everyone was just so nice and polite. It’s just a lovely place to film. It’s beautiful, in its own way – really stunning.” Not toomany Hollywood or international films use Singapore as a backdrop. Crazy Rich Asians (2018) is an exception, of course: it includes a wedding at Chijmes, meals at a hawker centre, plus Sentosa beaches, Raffles Hotel, MBS and more.

Think you know Singapore well? What structure is shown in this picture?

Last month: November issue’s phtoto showed an overhead shot of Kusu Island.



SINGAPORE IN THE 1870S Nineteenth-century explorer, photographer and writer Isabella Bird was the first woman to be made a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. In 1880, she published a book, The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither , describing her travels in China, Vietnam and other parts of Asia, including Singapore. In this excerpt, she describes a tour fromRaffles to Tanglin. Let us drive from Raffles Square through this cosmopolitan city and out to Tanglin. Beginning at Cavanagh Bridge, at one end of which stands the Singapore Club and the Post Office, is the ocean Esplanade – the pride of the city – that encloses a public playground of 15 acres, reclaimed from the sea at an expense of over two hundred thousand dollars. Every afternoon when the heat has fallen from 150 to 80 degrees, the European population meet on this Esplanade park to play tennis, cricket and football, and to promenade, gossip and listen to the music of the regimental band. The drive from the sea, up Orchard Road to the Botanic Gardens, carries you by all the diversified life of the city. The Chinese restaurant is omnipresent; by its side sits a basket of sugar-cane, each stick two feet long, cleaned and scraped, ready for the hungry and thirsty rickshaw coolies, who have a few quarter cents with which to pander their appetites. On every veranda and in every shady corner are the Kling and Chinese barbers. The barber is prepared to shave your head, your face, trim your hair, braid your queue, and pull the hairs out of your nose and ears. There is no special quarter for separate trades. Madras tailor shops rub shoulders with Malay blacksmith shops, while Indian wash-houses join Manila cigar manufacturers. Once past the commercial part of the ride, the great bungalows of the European and Chinese merchants come into view. The immediate borders of the road reveal nothing but a dense mass of tropical verdure and carefully cut hedges, but at intervals there is a wide gap in the hedge, and a road leads off into the seeming jungle. At every such entrance there are posts of masonry, and a plate bearing the name of the manor and its owner.


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