Saturday, 27 September 2008


I visited Temasek in response to an invitation from Veritas Raymaker, one of the people responsible for the sim, flattered that he not only read this blog, but had actually found it useful. I didn't know what to expect - and it's taken me 3 trips to get all the information I wanted.

The name of the sim means 'Sea Town' in Javanese and was the old name for Singapore - or at least a predecessor of it. As a notecard told me when I arrived: "Temasek is designed to be a place where you can learn more about the culture, history and ecology of Singapore....Although it cannot model the geography of Singapore down to the last detail, Temasek has been designed with great care to provide you with an authentic experience of some of the highlights of the cultural experience. Please do try to visit the Peranakan shophouses, the fishing village - Kampung Laut, and the mudflats."

It also saves me all the faff and hassle of googling for more background by telling me: "Singapore is an island-nation in Southeast Asia. It covers a territorial area of about 700 square kilometres. This is equivalent to 270 square miles; by way of comparison, it is about eight times larger than Manhattan Island in New York. Singapore lies one degree North of the Equator, and as a result it has a tropical rainforest climate... Present-day Singapore has an estimated population of about 4.6 million Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. The national language of Singapore is Malay, and there are four official languages: Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil and English."

The sim is divided into a number of distinct areas, each of which will provide you with notecards explaining aspects of Singapore history, geography or society. One corner of the sim is taken up with 'Fort Temasek', which gives you a chance to find out about the abortive defence of Singapore against the invading Japanese in 1942 - or just fire off some big guns ftw. You can cruise the Temasek River (itself modelled on the shape of the real Singapore River), or take a guided tour. You may also enjoy other, less Singaporean diversions, such as playing a giant chess game, or taking a hang-glider for a spin over the sim.

I'm not sure of the backing for the sim, but as there are both shops and a residential area, it looks like the aim is to "make tier" from rental. On my first visit the skies were largely clear, but more latterly a ruddy big Concorde has appeared. In my view, while impressive enough in its Singapore Airlines livery, it is far too close to the ground and gives the place a rather claustrophobic feel. The island is a 'no-fly' zone, but a teleport could sort out any issues with placing the plane higher.

Here's some holiday snaps from my trip to give you the gist:

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