From the lush artificial gardens to the looming large skyscrapers, what’s our take on Singapore? Now we’ve written a post already on what there is to do we would like to give you our experience of the atmosphere and our reactions from staying in Singapore. Considering our stay was not that long so these are very much initial thoughts and conclusions based on a short period of time bathing in the sights and sounds of Singapore.
First entering Singapore on the MRT you are bombarded with signs telling you about the different tiers of fining that can occur if you break any of the rules. And I’m not talking about measly fifty or hundred euro fines, I’m talking about dropping a candy wrapper will set you back almost 2000 euros or littering a can will mean you might be fined and have to stand in front of a judicial court that will decide your amount of community service. Also you are not allowed to chew gum anywhere, full stop. Don’t even think of importing it in or you will be treated like someone from a drug cartel.
And don’t think you’ll be able to get out of it by bribing a police officer as they are extremely well paid as well as having a three year stint in the army before they can even apply to the job.
All this can be quite harrowing at first but when you see the immaculate state of the city you find yourself saying “it does work though…” as you feel unbelievably safe and clean everywhere you go.
The main thing guidebooks, blogs and people have generally told us before going to Singapore was that this is a city that has thrived from the mixing of many cultures. It’s location is perfect as it’s between various countries acting a connection hub between East and West. This allows a mingling of various types of people together through trade which in turn has made it a necessity to understand each other’s worlds and habits for the best connections.
Well just by looking at the enormous and exquisitely designed buildings, you can see a whole range of designs used in their architecture. For example, the art gallery building looks like something you would see in Washington, USA while the Marina Sands Bay Hotel looks like something from the Blade Runner with it’s sparkling walls and sleek surfer board top balanced on top of the three wonky towers. Finally you have a wide green ‘treescraper’ in Singapore with grass and other foliage leaking out in it’s sides which I can’t even think of a similarity right now as I have never seen anything like it.
You would think seeing all these different types of architectures would be jarring however it seems to all fit into that feeling of a multiculturalism and is an exciting pleasure for the eyes as you never know what you will see next around each corner.
Then of course you have the myriad of different ‘towns’ in the city with their more emphasized culture and buildings. You can go to China town to get the most authentic Chinese pork dumplings while walking past Buddhist temples and lush green zen gardens. You can go to Little India to see Hindu temples with people dressed in their authentic Indian attire or squeeze your way through heavily incensed marketplaces. You can go to Arab street to see gold-topped mosques or peruse the shophouses for exotic souvenirs. Apparently you can even go to Dutch town although we decided that would perhaps be a waste for us to visit but we could imagine what you would see.
So from all this these different cultures working in tandem together throughout the city and seeing it all fit together nicely like a intricate jig-saw puzzle, you can’t help but think why can’t this work everywhere? It seems in our current time of fearful comments of “external cultures taking over Europe” that some people are terrified of losing their national identity only because a kebab shop opened in their town. After seeing Singapore, it seems insane to us to be scared of such a thing instead of embracing the beautiful mixture of options you can indulge yourself in when mixing together. Perhaps if those who are afraid could get a little braver and experience these “alien cultures” with an open mind they might even find that they may find themselves to enjoy the differences and similarities all at the same time. Just because we look different, eat differently and perhaps pray (or not pray) differently that down to our cores we all have those same basic wants and needs that everyone else ones. All everyone is trying to do is just get by in this crazy chaotic world of ours so if we could stop trying to decide the one way to live a life perhaps life would just get a little easier for everyone.