Singapore is one of my favourite places and has remained so since the early 90’s. It’s a place that never remains dormant – there’s always new buildings, new train lines, terminals, tastes, deals, people, entertainment and new land.
It’s worth a visit from many perspectives. Some see it as Asia101, like a harmless, clinical, rule-bound and efficient taste of the East. But it’s much more. And it’s certainly more than it’s portrayed in the usual Orchard Rd, Sentosa Island experience. It’d be like making a judgement about Sydney from a visit to The Rocks and Bondi.
The Singapore I know is wrapped up in food, family and money – maybe in that order. It’s a multi-cultured world and it’s extremes within that – an 80c local coffee or an $8 flat white from an Americanised/ super modern Asian coffee shop. Neither is wrong!
It’s Tiger Beer for the masses at the hawker stalls or $10,000 bottles of wine in rarefied hotel environs. It’s worlds best food from a country that only has about 18 of its own farmers…It’s a $10 watch in Little India or a $500,000 Swiss precision instrument in the finest shopping centres of the world. It’s $1 T-shirts or super expensive, invite only boutique shops. It’s the MRT or a $1million supercar.
It’s an educated world, given to politeness and smiles. Or it’s the less well-off, some suspicious, some hopeful, some deferential, some curious.
What it isn’t is boring.
It always remains interesting, vibrant, colourful, fragrant. It is a constant hum and buzz of movement and sound. And it’s quiet, calm, meditative, reflective.
This is Singapore as I saw it.