The rest of Singapore

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Saturday, January 2, 2010

Singapore is definitely the most developed nation in South East Asia. Considering a causeway only separates it from Malaysia, crossing it is like stepping into the future.  It does still have that South East Asia charm in glimpses, but is slowly abandoning it for the Western Ideal.  Having been an integral trading port between West and East Continents for hundreds of years, a lot of immigrants travelled to the island to find work and settlement. Sir Stamford Raffles being amongst the most famous, effectively running Singapore, he created the different settlements we see today; Little India, China Town etc. Most notably he created the famous Raffles Hotel.

We spent many a day wandering around the little districts and our highlights were a Hindu Temple in Little India, the first we were actually allowed to enter and photograph inside. There seemed to be a celebration as many people were praying and waiting for a blessing from men dressed in white robes, much like Buddhist monks. These men would touch people on the forehead and leave behind a decorative Bindi spot.

Tucked away in China Town was the famous Heritage Museum. Chinese immigrants were the first settlers to Singapore and brought with them Work Houses, Opium, Gambling and Prostitution. All of which is now illegal.  Their beliefs and celebrations such as Chinese New Year have shaped Singapore's Culture for the better. Funnily enough the Hokkien language is one of many to be joined together to form Singlish. I can honestly say that it is a really ugly version of English and not pleasant on the ear. Here is a comical example for you, you can see many more here.

(A): "Eh, tomorrow I got reservist so cannot go see show wif you."
"Aiyah, why you early early don' say. I bought the ticket oreddy."

It wouldn't be a lie to say that the majority of Singapore is covered in Shopping Malls. Orchard road has around 34 and counting. All with the same shops, a food court, and a cinema. I am not too sure why so many of them are needed, but I do have a theory. If you walk into a mall you will find the air-con to be set to something like 6 degrees, its absolutely freezing. Since all of the shop doors are open you can even feel the cold outside, maybe this is Singapore's plan to tackle Global Warming.

One of my favourite experiences was to walk around at night. All of the skyscrapers and dazzling shops make great night photography snaps. Factor in that no one comes up to you and bothers you, it was bliss. We both walked around for hours taking in the sights and sounds.

Singapore is perfect if you want to experience a little Asian culture but don't quite fancy braving it in uncomfortable surroundings outside of the West.  If you are a little brave I would recommend that you venture further to Cambodia and Laos for a true Asian experience.
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