Sunday, October 04, 2009

Singapore life...

So I should probably say something about Singapore since I've been here so long. Not really too sure what to say. I think the thing that stands out the most when I go out into the city is how quiet it is. The metro is always full and yet there is no sound at all. I've been out a few times late in the city centre but apart from a couple of hot spots, it is totally dead at night. And early too....
I think my favourite domestic thing here is the laundry. Ya, so I'm strange. But in the variation of the usual hang your laundry out to dry, they take it to a new level here with half a dozen poles about 2 meters long that they hang out lengthwise from the window with the clothes. When it's raining they hang them from racks on the ceiling in the kitchen. Very efficient. Not sure how often people drop them but that could be very dangerous. I wonder if pedestrians ever get skewered?
Efficient I suppose is the best way to describe the city. The transit system is great, things are clean (more or less) and seems a little too organized. In fact the censorship is quite high here still as my hosts point out all the time. Mostly in terms of foreign media products, film, music, etc where the Singaporean version is often highly edited.
Of course to keep everything in order here there are some pretty strict rules. Locals joke that Singapore is a "fine" city. Yes, "fine" indeed. It's a fine of $500 to eat or drink in stations or on public transit, $1000 to smoke outside designated areas, something ridiculous for spitting, littering, jay walking, carrying durians around, etc. You still can't bring in commercial amounts of gum either. The worst part is that all the police are undercover so you end up a little paranoid and suspicious too. Maybe it's this paranoia or maybe because they are "wealthy", but the locals here really aren't the spontaneous conversation type at all. Seems a little too boring.... In all was surprised to learn that Singapore has the highest population density of any country in the world with something just over 1600/sq km (excluding Monaco and Macau, which are tiny) but it really doesn't feel like it. I suppose that's because the whole country has just under 5 million people so it seems more like a big city.
You've probably heard about the disasters striking south-east Asia recently with typhoons in the Philippines and Indochina and earthquakes in Indonesia (and Samoa). I was sitting here on the computer and felt the Indonesian earthquake even though it was a couple hundred km away. Rumble, shake. I started to get a little dizzy. It went on for a couple seconds and then came back a couple times. Very low grade shaking but definitely noticeable and the towel on a hook beside me was swinging. I didn't think too much of it, but the papers here said a lot of people fled other buildings. Hmmm....maybe my survival instinct isn't that good.
Yesterday was also the Chinese lantern festival. I don't really know, but something about eating mooncake (yummy) and coloured lanterns. I went to the Chinese Gardens for a late night walk and had a look see. Lots of groups having picnics in the dark and the park was lit up with coloured lanterns while others were walking around with theirs. Interesting, but, as with all things Singaporean, deathly silent...
My search for work here has been fruitless and they are quite strict in this country about that sort of thing so I've all but finalized my decision to go back to the Philippines sometime very soon.
Ammon

4 Comments:

At 8:08 PM , Blogger Ju_B said...

Hello again. I have been in Europe for two weeks with little internet access so I didn't check your blog for a while.. (I really enjoy reading it, so have become a regular.. hope that's OK!)

You put it nicely in words, what Singapore is... I feel exactly the same hehe! It was kind of odd having to board a plane in London to come back here (Singapore)..

I was thinking - not sure if you're a climber, but my friends and I go to an indoor gym close to little India approx once per week. You'd be more than welcome to come along before heading off to the Philippines!

Cheers,
J

 
At 7:36 AM , Blogger The Watkins said...

I'm not a climber but it could be cool to meet. I am leaving on the night of the 12th now so could be busy leading up to it. Give me a call or something. 96118220
Ammon

 
At 9:29 AM , Blogger Ju_B said...

Hi Ammon, how are you?

I'm sitting at my home in Queenstown, having just returned from a dinner at Orchard Rd with a friend. I was thinking of calling you (thanks for posting ur number) to invite you along but then I suddenly felt like some weird stalker hahah. I've never met up with someone whose blog I've been reading before, so it's kinda funny... In fact, I never really read blogs until recently!
It also feels sort of odd that I know so much about your life and you know so little about mine... so, I'm sorry if this is all a little random!!! :|

Well, if you're alright with it (I'm guessing this may be the case) then that's cool! It would be nice to hear your stories face 2face.

My friends and I are going cycling on Pulau Ubin this coming Sunday .. roughly from 10am on.. you're very welcome to join.. I'll give you a call after work tomorrow then :)

Cheers! and thanks to all for sharing your awesome travel adventures with the internet-world.

J(ulie)

 
At 5:12 AM , Blogger The Watkins said...

You're not a stalker are you?? lol
I'm not rich, famous or beautiful enough to have a stalker....
So give me a call at least. Travelling is all about turning strangers into friends :)
Ammon

 

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