Stunned by Singapore!
Trip Start Jan 17, 2010
40Trip End Jul 17, 2010
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For the last three days we've basically just been wandering round the city absorbing the scale of the new buildings and their contrast with the old colonial sights. Whilst doing this we’ve rather fallen for Singapore, and I think both of us would quite fancy living here. Barring the incredible heat and humidity, which has made the aforementioned walking a little uncomfortable (and in turn made us a little irritable with each other!) at times, the rest of the city is an oasis of pristine shopping malls, perfect temperature air conditioning, and general order and functionality
Yesterday we paid a visit to the Singapore National Museum, with fairly low expectations as, on the whole, museums aren’t our bag. I was wonder-struck though, as a fully interactive, high tech experience took me through the recent history of the sovereign city state – with Monaco and Vatican City the only two others in the world, we discovered. It was like losing three hours on Wikipedia – something I’m rather prone to doing back home when I should be doing something else – as we navigated our own way through the history with a super-IPod contraption, giving us information and video on any object which tickled our fancy. It’s comfortably the best museum I’ve ever been to. There are some pictures below.
The modern mega-city of Singapore sits comfortably alongside the old colonial quarter with its clubs, hotels and civic buildings – populated these days by the hugely affluent multi-cultural, but mainly transient population of Singapore. I love to explore these old haunts, and the pavilion of the Singapore Cricket Club, situated right in the heart of the city – complete with cricket pitch surrounded by towering office blocks – held a particular allure for me
The Raffles Hotel had an altogether different attitude towards us. More used to being a part of the tourist trail, they were quite happy and not at all snooty about me getting my bedraggled and swea- soaked hands on their almost two hundred year-old snooker table in the rather splendid Bar and Billiards room. This was despite Kanan and I declining their offers of a twenty pound cocktail.
Yesterday a lovely Chinese-Singaporean man came to our future rescue. We stumbled across his vegan restaurant purely by chance, and he served up some delicious fare for us
Despite its gleaming towers making a breath-taking skyline (particularly by night, see pics), no crime, and complete absence of visible poverty, Singapore does have its problems of course. There is only one political party here which has been in power since independence from the British, and whilst not on the same scale as China, censorship is a bit of an issue. Whilst here I have heard the government described as one in which everything is tolerated as long as it is moderated. It’s also been described to me as a benevolent dictatorship. Perhaps there’s something to be said for it though, as the city holds a wonder and allure which has been hard to resist – perhaps why Singapore has one of the highest populations of foreigners anywhere in the world
We’re off back into Malaysia by overnight bus tonight to the Cameron Highlands. Singapore has been a great place to immerse ourselves in the modern for a while, and of course it’s been a real privilege to have the comforts and company of family for a few days.
Love as always
Jo and Kaa.