Singapore has been known to be a place of fusion for quite a while. Be it fusion in food, drink (classic example – Singapore Sling), clothing, culture or even architecture, these factors greatly influence each other. In terms of food, fusion has taken cuisine and ingredients from both the East and West and mixed them into splendid and magnificent dishes that are world renowned. For example, chicken curry served with plain bread or French loaves are a fusion of Asian and Western ingredients combined to make this dish. Another example is the Hainanese Pork Chops served with tomato sauce with green peas.
During the colonial days in Singapore, young Chinese men from the Hainan province worked as cooks for British households. As there was a culture shock for both employer and employee as one was from a European country and the other from an Asian country, both had different food tastes. Strangely enough, these factors caused the creation of new dish. The cooks were taught how to boil and serve the green peas that would be poured over the cooked pork chops that would already be covered in tomato sauce. These examples in food fusion are two of many other food fusion dishes.
Fusion also can be found in drink as well. Indo Western wears Ginger tea is one such example. First, raw ginger is skinned and chopped up into thin slices. After that, it is finely ground until it reaches the form of paste. The paste is then mixed in the tea strainer together with the tea dust. After that the strainer is placed into a kettle with a large spout and hot water poured into the kettle. The kettle is then left on a stove for the tea to simmer and boil. After being boiled, the ginger tea is ready to serve.
In architecture, there also has been a fusion especially in Singapore where Western architecture is combined with Eastern architecture to create a blend from both types. One such example are the colonial bungalows many of which have disappeared over the decades. A typical bungalow built during the colonial era was constructed with a frame work similar in pattern to the Malay kampong house. It consisted of large elongated windows which stretched all the way to the floor.
Another example of fusion in architecture is Singapore’s new theatre, called the esplanade. It was constructed in the shape of two durians fused together. A combination of glass and steel, it has a roof which has a double purpose of keeping out sun and rain and keeping the interior cool form the scorching heat outside. The glass roof actually consists of a structure of steel louvers that protects the glass windows covering them like shades. The concept of the theatre taking on the form of two durians that are fused together is so much in touch with the Singapore scene as the durian, a typical local fruit sold in Singapore is a well loved icon and favourite fruit of the local people. Ironically, durians that are sold in Singapore are not grown locally but are imported from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.
A rather outstanding example of fusion of architecture in Singapore is the new Singapore Supreme Court that stands next to its predecessor. It was built by a British architect who felt that that the construction of this new building should reflect with the times. Since it was being constructed in the era of information and technology, a futuristic approach was the ideal backbone in its construction. Therefore, it was designed based on very simple details but its crowning glory was a spaceship like structure surmounted on the top floor, thus giving the impression to the eye of the beholder that it was as though a spaceship had landed in Singapore.
Through the centuries, man has always attempted to fuse one thing with another. Be it architecture, clothing, food or drink, there has always been the curiosity in experimenting with different concepts, ideas and styles in order to produce something new. Sometimes it has created monstrosities and sometimes it has created better way of living and thinking.