5 things to do today: Explore the Night Safari, watch A Streetcar Named Desire and more

1 EXPLORE: The Night Safari

On this day in 1994, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong declared the Night Safari officially open.

The project was seven years in the making and was built at a cost of $62.5 million.

It surpassed expectations by attracting a total of 760,000 visitors in the first year – more than four times the projected number.

In his opening speech, Mr Goh said: “For those of you who are about to see the Night Safari for the first time, I can tell you that it will be a magical experience. Walk softly, listen to the rustle of leaves and watch out for that tiger stalking you.”

The Night Safari continues to attract visitors from here and abroad 26 years on.

Find out how it has evolved as multimedia journalist Kimberly Jow goes behind the scenes at the wildlife park on The Backend Show.

Info: str.sg/oFUE

2 LISTEN: Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach


PHOTO: ROALD DAHL HQ/ YOUTUBE

Settle in for storytime that both kids and adults will enjoy.

Academy Award-winning film-maker Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, 2019) narrates James And The Giant Peach and the sessions also feature celebrities such as actors Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Hemsworth.

Waititi says the tale “is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity and dealing with a sense of isolation which couldn’t be more relevant today”.

The novel, released in 10 instalments, aims to raise funds for Partners In Health, a medical and social justice group fighting Covid-19 and supporting public health systems in vulnerable communities around the world.

Info: Watch at str.sg/JdZm or go to www.pih.org/giantpeach to donate to Partners In Health

3 WATCH: A Streetcar Named Desire


PHOTO: NATIONAL THEATRE

The play, about a woman who leaves her aristocratic background after a series of personal losses to seek refuge with her sister and brother-in-law in a dilapidated New Orleans apartment building, is American playwright Tennessee Williams’ most popular work.

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This Young Vic production stars Gillian Anderson, known for her role as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in science-fiction series The X-Files (1993 to 2018), and Vanessa Kirby, who played a young Princess Margaret in Netflix series The Crown (2016 to 2019). It also stars Ben Foster.

It runs for close to three hours and is available until May 28.

Info: str.sg/JdZd

4 LEARN: Dance and drumming from cruise ship performers


PHOTO: GENTING CRUISE LINES

Pick up skills such as Taiko drumming, a dynamic form of Japanese percussive drumming, as well as various dance styles from step-by-step tutorials taught by Dream Cruises performers.

Taiko drumming performer Ryohei Kayashima will walk you through the basics, including how to hold drum sticks, take a drumming stance and beat some simple rhythms.

You can also learn freestyle or bachata dance – the latter is a social dance style that originated in the Dominican Republic.

For those more adept in the kitchen than on the dance floor, there are cooking and cocktail-making classes to learn how to make chicken briyani or Merlion sling.

Info: www.facebook.com/DreamCruisesSingapore

5 READ: Virus-related novels


PHOTOS: SCOUT PRESS, QUERCUS

Art imitates life in these novels where viral diseases devastate society.

In local writer Thea Lim’s 2018 dystopian novel An Ocean Of Minutes, Singapore makes a cameo as the one place that successfully eradicates the pandemic by handing out free pharmaceuticals to all citizens and sending medicine to regional trading partners.

Katie M. Flynn explores the concept of isolation in The Companions (2020), where the living are sequestered in high-rise towers to avoid infection, while the consciousnesses of the dead are uploaded into robot bodies and leased out as “companions”.

Journalists Olivia Ho and Toh Wen Li discuss these titles and more in the Bookmark This! podcast.

Info: str.sg/JdZP

With input from the SPH Information Resource Centre

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