Teach Middle East Magazine Jan-Feb 2018 Issue 3 Volume 5 - Page 46

Travel

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT SINGAPORE

BY RICHARD CHIN

Let me admit from the start that , it ’ s taken three weekend breaks to Singapore for me , to warm up to the country . I have never had any huge negatives from any of my visits , so it was difficult for me to fully comprehend why after two visits I could not form a concrete opinion about the place . In fact , this article has been the hardest one to write thus far , and has involved multiple restarts . It was only after a chat with another friend who ’ d also been , that the pieces started to come together .

Singapore has a lot going for it . It is a multicultural society , with a stable economy and a high literacy rate . The infrastructure is well-developed and rivals any of the other major cities of the world . There is a low rate of crime and police corruption is almost unheard of , due to the enviable salaries that members of the police force take home . This tiny island state , situated at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsular , is the financial leader of SE Asia . It is for all means and intents , perfect .
My first visit to the country was over Chinese New Year . It was my first time experiencing this holiday in a country that has a Chinese majority population .
However , it seemed as if the whole country , not just the Chinese , were out on the streets enjoying the festivities . The celebrations were amazing and , though concentrated around Chinatown , were happening all over the city . The atmosphere reminded me of Christmas and New Year ’ s Eve rolled into one . The decorations , the sight and smell of foods , the cultural shows and the busyness of last minute shopping combined , to create a feeling of joy and happiness .
For that first trip , I managed to book a hotel in Chinatown . It was an older building that had been restored to the glory of its colonial past . There was wood everywhere , from the cream-coloured walls to the rich , dark brown polished floors , staircases and bannisters . The façade of the building and those around it , made me think of a scene from a period movie . This scene is repeated across the city and is in immediate visual contrast to the extremely modern structures that dominate the city ’ s skyline . Despite this disparity , they somehow exist in harmony , blending well to create the tapestry that I have come to discover typifies the Singaporean experience .
Trip number two was shared with a friend . My flight got in late and I was extremely hungry when I finally got to the hotel , so we took a recommendation from hotel reception and went in search of a local noodle house that closes late . We found it after a few minutes of walking and enjoyed a tasty and satisfying bowl of soup . This leads me to a point that I need to make about the food in Singapore . It is GOOD ! Every meal that I have ever had there , whether Indian , Malay , Chinese or Western , has been flavourful ! You can find meals that suit any price range and taste . My “ go to ” places to satisfy my hunger are the “ hawker ” ( street food ) eateries , where local cuisine is prepared and sold in a sparse environment and is at the lower end of the budget . However , if you ’ re looking for something a bit more upmarket , there are a few Michelinstarred restaurants around . A quick search on the Internet will point you in the right direction .
It was on trips two and three , that I saw a bit more of the sights . My friend and I , started our one day together , with a visit to the National Orchid Garden . We enjoyed strolling through the garden , admiring the exquisite beauty of the numerous varieties of the eponymous flowers that were on display . We both had our DSLR cameras with us and had a grand time practicing our photography skills . It took us about two hours to walk the entire property . From there , we went to the Marina Bay Sands , an iconic building that is world renowned for its infinity pool , which overlooks the city . This hotel ’ s pool is so iconic that people travel from all over the globe to take selfies in it . With flights so plentiful from the Middle East to Singapore , I would encourage you not to wait as long as I did , to enjoy the great things Singapore has to offer .
Travel THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT SINGAPORE BY RICHARD CHIN L et me admit from the start that, it’s taken three weekend breaks to Singapore for me, to warm up to the country. I have never had any huge negatives from any of my visits, so it was difficult for me to fully comprehend why after two visits I could not form a concrete opinion about the place. In fact, this article has been the hardest one to write thus far, and has involved multiple restarts. It was only after a chat with another friend who’d also been, that the pieces started to come together. Singapore has a lot going for it. It is a multicultural society, with a stable economy and a high literacy rate. The infrastructure is well-developed and rivals any of the other major cities of the world. There is a low rate of crime and police corruption is almost unheard of, due to the enviable salaries that members of the police force take home. This tiny island state, situated at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsular, is the financial leader of SE Asia. It is for all means and intents, perfect. My first visit to the country was over Chinese New Year. It was my first time experiencing this holiday in a country that has a Chinese majority population. However, it seemed as if the whole country, not just the Chinese, were out on the streets enjoying the festivities. The celebrations were amazing and, though concentrated around Chinatown, were happening all over the city. The atmosphere reminded me of Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into o RFRFV6&F2FP6vBB6VbfG2FR7VGW&6w2BFR'W7W72b7B֖WFP6r6&VBF7&VFRfVVƖrbBW72f"FBf'7BG&vVBF&FV6FvBv2FW 'VFrFBB&VV&W7F&VBFFRv'bG267BFW&Pv2vBWfW'vW&Rg&FP7&V6W&VBv2FFR&6F&'&vƗ6VBf'27F&66W2@&7FW'2FRf:vFRbFR'VFpBF6R&VBBFRRF氦b66VRg&W&BfRF066VR2&WVFVB7&72FR6G@2VFFRf7V6G&7BFFPWG&VVǒFW&7G'V7GW&W2F@F֖FRFR6G( 26ƖRFW7FPF2F7&GFW6VrW7Bআ&&VFrvVF7&VFRFPFW7G'FBfR6RFF66fW GfW2FR6v&VWW&V6RG&V&W"Gvv26&VBvFg&VBגfƖvBvBFR@v2WG&VVǒVw'vVfǒvBFFRFV6vRF&V6VFFg&FV&V6WFBvVB6V&6b6FPW6RFB66W2FRvRfVB@gFW"fWr֖WFW2bvƶr@VVBF7GB6F6gr&vb6WF2VG2RFBF@VVBFR&WBFRfB6v&RB2tBWfW'VF@fRWfW"BFW&RvWFW"F6W6R"vW7FW&2&VVffW&gVR6fBV2FB7V@&6R&vRBF7FRג( vF( Ч6W2F6F6gגVvW"&RFP( ƆvW.( 7G&VWBfBVFW&W2vW&P67V6R2&W&VBB6B7'6RVf&VBB2BFRvW VBbFR'VFvWBvWfW"b^( &Prf"6WFr&B&PW&WBFW&R&RfWr֖6VƖЧ7F'&VB&W7FW&G2&VBV66V&6FRFW&WBvBRFR&vBF&V7FगBv2G&2GvBF&VRFB6p&B&RbFR6vG2גg&VB@7F'FVBW"RFFvWFW"vFf6BFFRF&6Bv&FVvPVVB7G&ƖrF&VvFRv&FVF֗&rFRWV6FR&VWGbFPVW&W2f&WFW2bFRWW0fvW'2FBvW&RF7vP&FBW"E4"6W&2vFW0BBw&BFR&7F6rW Fw&62BFW2&W@GvW'2FvƲFRVF&R&W'Gg&FW&RvRvVBFFR&&6G262'VFrFB2v&@&VvVBf"G2fGv6fW&2FR6GF2FV( 20662FBVRG&fVg&fW"FRv&RFFR6VfW2BvFfƖvG26VFgVg&FR֖FFPV7BF6v&RvVBV6W&vPRBFvB2r2FBFVFRw&VBFw26v&R2FffW"