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Tea with Culture

A podcast about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Singapore Diary - The Projector

Entrance to The Projector from the 5th floor foyer of the Golden Theatre (image via The Projector)


When I told my friend Cyril Zammit, Director of Design Days Dubai that I was travelling to Singapore, he said I should visit The Projector, a cinema he was certain I will love. He was right.

The Projector is was officially launched in January 2015, an independent cinema on the 5th floor of the Golden Mile Tower (image below). It was within walking distance from my hotel, but I only had a chance to go once, to watch Anomalisa.

The Projector revives two cinema halls in the 5th floor foyer of the historic Golden Theatre as an independent cinema and creative platform that brings together a great selection of films, one-of-a-kind events, versatile spaces and delectable fare.

A single screen classic cinema hall with 230 seats, the Green Room will be the main screening hall for films curated by The Projector. Besides being redesigned as a versatile events space, the Redrum (pronounced “red room”, inspired by Kubrick’s The Shining) will also be the home to screenings presented by Golden Bar.


Golden Mile Tower (image via The Projector)


A bit of history about the Golden Theatre: 

Golden Theatre was the biggest cinema in Singapore and Malaysia when it was completed in 1973 totaling over 1500 seats. Chong Gay Theatres Ltd built golden Theatre and Golden Mile Tower and the architect was Goh Hock Guan Design Team. Chong Gay Theatres Ltd also built the 2400-seater Kallang Cinema in 1978, the largest cinema in Southeast Asia when it was built, which was bought over by the government in the ‘80s as a new cultural venue called Kallang Theatre.

Golden Theatre, like many other cinemas built in that time, was originally one big movie theatre with stalls and circle seats. The space was subdivided into three separate halls in the 1990s. The Projector comprises two halls (Golden 1 and Golden 2) on the fifth floor that were once the circle seats of Golden Theatre.

Golden Theatre was well patronised for its good quality Mandarin films in the ‘70s and ‘80s, ‘adult’ artistic films in the ‘90s and, more recently, Bollywood hits.


Green Room at The Projector (image via The Projector)

Redrum at The Projector (image via The Projector)



I ended up accessing The Projector from the parking building entrance. Here are photos I took of the space. It's a space for cinema lovers and I can't wait to go back to Singapore to see more films there. If you live in Singapore or plan to visit, make sure you check out The Projector's schedule and go watch a flm or two.

Hats off to the team running the space, I wish them the best of luck.


Entrance from the parking area


Re-interpreted flm posters


Projection on the wall


The cafe


Advertising/social board


Box office


Entrance to the Green Room


Elevators leading to the main exit/entrance


Elevator ceiling


I even bought a Projector bag to add to my tote bag, plus the 2015 programme flyers, most of them can be folded out into posters.


I leave you with the crowdfunding campaign video, where you get to hear why The Projector is important.


All photos © Hind Mezaina unless stated otherwise.


Singapore Diary - The Heritage Shop


The Heritage Shop is a treasure trove for people that like to collect objects and antiques. Even if you don't go in to buy anything, it's great for browsing.

Patrick Phoa, the owner of The Heritage Shop told me his customers include instititions like the National Museum of Singapore and schools. His shop has been written about in several international and inflight magazines, he proudly showed me some of the magazines and expressed how much he enjoys the free publicity and proud to be listed as one of the places to visit in these articles. 

When he found out I'm from Dubai, he quickly told me a sheikh from Qatar recently visited his shop and whipped out his phone to show me photos he took from that visit.

We also talked about the heritage areas of the city and how old buildings are maintained and protected. I really enjoyed my chat with Patrick Phoa and I bought a few postcards, the lightest objects I could put in my suitcase.

If you're ever in Singapore, do make time to visit The Heritage Shop. 

These are the postcards I bought.

Mr and Mrs Phoa





Here are more photos from inside The Heritage Shop.































All photos © Hind Mezaina.


The Heritage Shop
93 Jalan Sultan
Singapore, 198997




Singapore Diary - Around Jalan Sultan


This post is about the area I stayed in Singapore. I stayed on Jalan Sultan street and these are photos from the areas surrounding it.


Breakfast at Dong Po Colonial Cafe

I started most of my days at Dong Po Colonial Cafe to get my breakfast fix of Kaya toast, also known as "Set A". I really liked the space, friendly staff, quick service iand the place is filled with old objects, each table had a glass top covering old objects like magazines and old prints.



Lunch or dinner at Kampong Glam Cafe

I was glad to go back to this restaurant, it was one of my favourite places to eat during my first trip to Singapore. Glad I was able to eat more delicious meals there.



 Alsagoff Arab School


Karaoke Lounge


Parkview Square


Mural on a street behind Jalan Sultan


High rise, low rise (the building on the left is The Concourse)


Tropical trees

Textile shops in the Arab Quarter


Muscat Street in the Arab Quarter


Found this on a wall in Hajji Lane


Kandahar Street


Old buildings


Makeshift barber shop






More chairs


All photos © Hind Mezaina.


Singapore Diary - Little India 

On my last trip to Singapore, I visited Little India at night. It was very crowded and I felt I didn't really get to see it properly. Luckily, I had a chance to visit Little India during this trip. I didn't get to explore it properly, I went there for lunch and walked on some of the main streets. I really enjoyed seeing so much colour.



All photos © Hind Mezaina.




Singapore Diary - Tiong Bahru


Tiong Bharu is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Singapore. I love the architecture, a mix of residential and commercial spaces and overall it feels very chilled. A part of town you can wander around, away from the hustle and the bustle of the city. 

My first stop was BooksActually, one of my favourite bookstores. I love spending time there, browsing through books and magazines, there's always good music playing and the staff is always friendly and helpful. The resident cat is also quite comfortable there. I couldn't believe it when I saw it sitting right next to a book titled "I am a Cat".


Here are images from my walk, which ended at the Tiong Bahru Market where I had a delicious meal of duck rice.


 All photos © Hind Mezaina.


Singapore Diary - Singapore Botanic Gardens


Here are photos from a late afternoon spent at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. So many beautiful flowers and colours. Coming from Dubai, I was glad to be surrounded by nature and all its colourful glory.



All photos © Hind Mezaina.



Singapore Diary - From the Stacks at the National Library


From the Stacks is the main exhibition at the National Library which takes up most of the 10th floor. It includes more than 100 highlights from the National Library’s collection of rare publications, manuscripts, documents, maps, photographs. I really liked the curation of this exhibition, it was spread out to give enough breathing space for each section. 

I really hope the upcoming Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Dubai will include a collection that's inclusive and (half) as good as this.


About From the Stacks:

Documents, publications and photographs from Singapore’s early days reveal fascinating insights into our history and culture. For instance, an 1819 document on the establishment of Malay College reveals how Raffles envisioned Singapore not just as a commercial hub but also as a centre for learning, culture and the arts.

Early literary works, religious tracts and dictionaries point to a thriving publishing industry in Singapore with printing presses run by English missionaries, Chinese literati and Muslim publishers. Cross-cultural exchanges, which have always been an element of Singapore society, gave rise to the first ‘fusion’ recipes in early cookbooks such as The Mem’s Own Cookery Book, published in 1929. As Singapore came into its own, discussions and debates about the Singapore identity are reflected in early 20th century magazines and 1950s poetry. 


Here are some photos I took, they don't do justice to the exhibition. If you live in Singapore or plan to visit before 28th August 2016, make sure you don't miss this. 


The Library's Firsts


Mapping Land and Sea


For the Love of Science



Do You Speak Malay?


A Tour of the Crown Colony


War and Peace



A Singapore-Printed Quran

Proper English


Handy in the Kitchen


All photos © Hind Mezaina.



Singapore Diary - Library Finds at the National Library


Library Finds exhibition is on the ground floor of the National Library Building in Singapore. I'm a sucker for ephemeral objects and I loved this display which included posters, magazines, letters and even restaurant menus.

I mentioned in my previous post that my visit to Singapore's National Library made me think of the upcoming Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, and I hope the library will have a section dedicated to ephemera and pop culture from the country and from the surrounding region.


Movies, Posters and Flyers



Hong Kong Novella Magazines



Old Menus (from Raffles Hotel, old curise liners and restaurants)

Remittance Letters

Tamil Drama and Temple Publications

All photos © Hind Mezaina.


Singapore Diary - Celluloid Void: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia at the National Library


The National Library Board in Singapore was establised in 1995, but its origins date back to the 1820s when Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore, proposed the idea of establishing a public library. The current National Library Building is the headquarters of the National Library Board, and can be found on Victoria Street, its location since 2005.

During my taxi rides across the city, I noticed ads for exhbitions at library. When I visited the website, the first exhibition I found listed was titled "Celluloid Void: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia" which made me want to visit right away.

The library also made me think of what kind of programming and exhibitions will the upcoming Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library host. After visiting Singapore's National Library, I have huge expectations for the one that will open in Dubai, and I hope and pray they it will give importance to archival material.

Needles to say, I loved the Celluloid Void exhibition and would've been happy if it was an even bigger exhibition.  Made me wonder how many unknown or lost films are there from the the Middle East.


The exhibition was organised by the Asian Film Archive is is part of the National Library.

'CELLULOID VOID: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia' invites audiences to re-acquaint and re-engage with eight Southeast Asian films that have been lost through the passage of time.

Featuring important films from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, the exhibition highlights the cultural value and historical context of these works, and presents their remnants through archival materials.

By reawakening the public consciousness to these lost films, this exhibition emphasises the importance of film preservation and bridges the cognitive gap created by the void in the celluloid. More than just awakening nostalgia, audiences have the opportunity to evoke their imagination and initiate re-interpretations from the available fragments of the films.

The damage to the films may be irreparable, but that which can be imagined need never be lost.


Here are photos I took:














All photos © Hind Mezaina.



Singapore Diary - Red Dot Design Museum


An exhibition titled Product Design was on when I visited the Red Dot Design Museum. The exhibition has been on since 1st August 2015 but there was no indication on when it ends.

It was a fun walkthrough looking at some interesting and not so interesting designs. There were lots of "luminaires", also known as lights.

A watch or a bracelet, a mobile phone or a television set, a food processor or a car. Every one of us possesses a multitude of different objects, and each of those objects is a living example of our everyday preferences and product culture.

At the museum, you will explore all areas of daily life and how design can make a difference. Instead of ‘please do not touch’, the exhibition encourages you to ‘reach out and touch’ most of the exhibits, allowing you to explore the prize winning products with all of your senses.


Here are some of my favourite designs from the exhibition.

Nikau, pendant Luminaire made of bamboo plywood.


The UNITED_BOTTLE, PET bottles that can be used for instant building materials for temporary housing or small scale structures.


The Bradley, a tactile wristwatch designed for people with visual impairment.

Snowflake, a pendant luminaire inspired by a trip to the Antarctic.

Lumio, lamp resembling a book.

Haiku, ceiling fan.

Qlocktwo, wall and table clock.

IKEA PS 2014, pendant luminaire inspired by science fiction movies and video games resembling a spaceship or an imploding planet.





Shirt bags




All photos © Hind Mezaina.