January 9, 2002 1:22 pm EST
By Amy Tan
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Burping, barfing and body odor.
Nothing is off limits at the "Grossology" exhibition in Singapore which gets up close and personal with the slimy, smelly science of the human body.
"People don't talk about burps and farts and go into detail of how they work," said 18-year-old student Pamela Yap as she made a beeline for the interactive displays. "They don't teach us this at school."
The squeaky-clean city state, which has long barred spitting and enforced fines for not flushing toilets, is the first foreign country to put on the show apart from Canada, where it was created five years ago.
The show was brought in to help people understand and perhaps better manage their bodily functions, said Chew Tuan Tiong, chief executive of the Singapore Science Centre, which is hosting it.
"Visitors will go away with this idea that all of these gross functions are actually very important and have a purpose in their bodies," Chew told Reuters.
The show's four-month stint cost $543,000 to set up and it has already attracted 70,000 visitors.
"Grossology" heads for Taipei, Seoul and Hong Kong after it wraps up in Singapore on March 4.
Children can climb up a rubbery wall of simulated skin to explore warts and pimples. A cave-like walk-through nose sniffs and sneezes on the unfortunate passerby.
Visitors can challenge their sense of smell and learn about odor-causing bacteria by sniffing unmarked bottles containing mouth, foot, anus and armpit scents.
The exhibition delves deep into the physics, aromatics and even the timbre of flatulence. To up the grossness factor, visitors can pump on levers at the vomit and burp machines for maximum effect.
Quirky details about the human body dot the walls.
One liter of saliva is pumped into the mouth every day. Nostrils take turns inhaling and acid in the stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.
Children squealed in delight at the exhibits but adults long taught to regard the intimate workings of the body as impolite seemed to get the most out of the show.
"Many of these functions are linked to a child's growing up so they're very at home with it," Chew said. "The people who benefit most are the adults. But the facts are not easy to digest."