Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Singapore Trip Part II

Pardon me if I seem to be gushing over Singapore. What to do, haven’t been out of the country much. The last time I was in Singapore was when I was seven.

One can’t help but compare. In this case, it is between KL and Singapore.

For someone like me who uses the public transportation, Singapore’s one is like paradise. Frequent buses, common ticketing (EZlink prepaid card), notices put up at bus stops which show bus routes – basically a seamless system.

No such thing as alighting at a station, getting out the station, crossing the street to another rail system. Heck, the bus stops are right in front of the stations.

Of course, the system isn’t perfect. Still, it is like ten times better than what we have here. I have not waited longer than 20 minutes for a bus in Singapore, whereas waiting for 30 to 45 minutes is pretty common in KL.

My second day in Singapore was spent at the shopping malls. We visited Suntec City, Citylink and Raffles City. I bought a couple of Polo tees and a pair of pants for myself. I also bought a book for P’s niece.

At about four, we proceeded to the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, their performing arts center which overlooks Marina Bay. The two buildings, which are also called The Durian locally because of its spiky and pointed roof, do not look as nice when captured on film.

At least, not on my camera. Check out the those on Visit Singapore’s website though.

There were an exhibition going on. Something about Asia being traditional and modern at the same time. Of how colourful and diverse our societies are.

There was also a very interesting giant elephant balloon.

After that, we crossed the bridge to the other side of the river where Merlion Park is.

I think it's pretty self-explanatory why it is called Merlion Park. Though it is not actually a park. Just the Merlion and some food stalls around it.

Earlier, I had made dinner plans with a Form Six friend of mine, SM, who is currently pursuing her Masters at National University of Singapore (NUS). We agreed to meet up at Holland Village.

We had dinner at this place called Essential Brew, where its trademark is that tea leaves are infused or added into the dishes.

I haven’t met SM for more than two years. Of course, conversation revolved around her life in Singapore and comparisons with Malaysia.

She said that the food in Singapore is bland, people there are really competitive and would not think twice about stabbing you in the back, there’s no place to hang out at night (i.e. no mamak), shopping malls close at 9.30 p.m..

Nevertheless, there are good points too. One that I can remember clearly was “When you see a policeman in Malaysia, you get scared. When you see one in Singapore, it’s OK.”

Which was what I noticed too. Crime in Singapore is less than 400 for every 100,000 people, which is one of the lowest in the world.

I see people jogging on the streets at almost all times of the day – even after 10 in the evening.

One can also walk the streets alone at night after midnight and yet feel safe as streets are well lit. I don’t think many countries can boast of that.

We finished dinner at about nine. It was great seeing her again after all this while, as she is still as bubbly as ever.

I went back to P’s place after that and got a good night’s sleep. We planned to go to Sentosa the next day.


Shigeki said...

Singapore is totally happening right now, isn't it? I so wanna go down there!!!

AJ said...

Mmmm I love the photos, except for the darn durian! It really is very very ugly!

Derek said...

shigeki: Yup, it's such a coincidence that wingedman is also going. You should too!

aj: Er .. it actually looks quite OK. It just doesn't look that good on picture. ;P