Monday, December 22, 2008

Singapore report day 4

No pets.
No police.
No napkins.
10000 Malls.

It's exciting to stroll through a Boom Town like Singapore. Signs of prosperity everywhere, from the ubiquitous construction crane to the well manicured public spaces. It's a lush and beautiful place, designed for comfort and efficiency and there is plenty of both.

In three days here so far I have seen no police cars or uniformed security personnel, except for a demo vehicle in a harbor shopping mall. Odd, given the size and complexity of the city. The discipline of the cane?? Who knows.....

There are no dogs. Leashed or unleashed. No pets of any kind that I have found though I imagine goldfish and hamsters abound somewhere around here.

No napkins either. Carry your own tissues. Luckily all the cuisine is finger licking good, so I'm adapting with no problem.

SG is a completely westernized society in terms of its public spaces and amenities, from retail to housing stock to public transport to signage. A few neighborhoods that Jase has taken me are evocative of the old Singapore including Chinatown and the Bugis district around the Raffles hotel. Everything else appears to have been constructed during the last five to ten years.

Dress is casual. Reminds me of Miami or LA style-- jeans shorts t shirts polo shirts. Have seen no fashion statements on the street or elsewhere. No dyed hair. No piercings. Very little flash. No one appears to want to stand too far out of the ordinary in terms of outward appearance.

The people are very polite but shy, and it is not easy to get them to laugh out loud though they smile easily.

One of the pleasant surprises here is the degree of multi ethnicism. Dark skinned south Indians, copper toned Malays, pale Chinese, and much else in between. Malay influence is present in restaurants, street and subway stop names, and Muslim Malay women in traditional Islamic headscarves. Charming and wonderful and perhaps a harbinger of things to come elsewhere around the globe.

Public transport is superb and of course immaculate. Bus service is frequent and many stops have digital signs indicating time to arrival of the next transport.

And then we have malls. Lots of malls. I mean really a lot. And populated with retail brand names you know well. The moment of epiphany came yesterday as I was trying to escape from the enormous crowds at the new harborfront mall. I could have been in any of countless malls of our own. All I wanted to do was leave, as quickly as possible.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

Getting restless. On to Indonesia.

sent via Blackberry wireless PDA

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