Swinging through Singapore

Trip Start May 04, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Nanyang Technological University with Maria

Flag of Singapore  ,
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Having only ever been to the airport in Singapore, I was excited to have 5 days to explore the island with the benefit of a local host, Maria, who I shared a flat with while studying in Spain. Maria and her room mate were so kind to have me there and share their bed space with me while they were furiously mugging (studying in Singlish) for upcoming exams the very next week.

It was awesome to see Maria again and re-live our time hanging out in Salamanca back in July - eating cherries and yoghurt before bed, going out for paella and sangria, and, of course, practising some Spanish. I was inspired to see that Maria had since moved onto self-learning Italian as well!

There weren't that many surprises about Singapore. It was mostly as per my expectations; an incredibly clean and organised city, the MRT running like clockwork moving the ~4 million populace around seamlessly; a city-state built on consumerism with each condominium suburb having its own mall serving as the nucleus of community life; a busy and stressful life for office workers pulling 70+ hour weeks and students "all nighters" to meet the demanding syllabus; delicious food available anytime from local hawker markets open until early hours of the morning.

Aside from the large amount of reserved green space, the biggest surprise for me was the stories I was told about the racism encountered by my Chinese-Indonesian friend living there in what seems a harmonious multicultural society with it's historic mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian. A fine city on the face of it, but I guess racial discrimination is something that the Government there can't implement a fine to prevent.

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