Finding Singapore

by misslampa

The negative that has been said about Singapore, it’s all true. It is densely populated and this makes rush hours impossible, it’s too urbanized for some bakasyonistas, too pricey compared to most Asian countries, and too touristic that you get the feeling most of what you see is just for show.

Here’s us posing with the merlion, that mythical creature which has become Singapore’s mascot.

But why should all that stop you from appreciating Singapore for what it unabashedly is: a first-world country that thrives on tourism and meeting the demands of our consumerist culture? Yes, there’s a mall at every corner. Yeah, water is three to five times more expensive – and almost everything else, for that matter. But yes, tourists from all over are still flocking to this island, and I’d like to think it’s not just because Singapore has one of the most efficient and orderly public transport systems. Or that foreigners can buy a Gucci without having to pay the 7% government service tax.

The Luge part of the Sentosa Skyline-Luge ride at the Imbiah Lookout

Because really, if you can find it in yourself to enjoy everything that others find annoying about this country, then a trip to Singapore can’t possibly disappoint you. Because, as in every other place, there’s a lot to experience here – from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown to the tourist attractions at the Imbiah Lookout and even the hope one can’t help but feel while silently declaring one’s wishes to the universe at the Fountain of Wealth.

Clarke Quay in broad daylight

And perhaps it’s just the kid in me, but I think capping a night off with their one-dollar treat – ice cream sandwiched between two wafers – is quite fun as well. :) I didn’t get to experience Clarke Quay at night because I was with my family, but because of this as well, I got to see all three animal parks [Jurong Birdpark, Singapore Zoo and Night Safari], attend mass at Singapore’s oldest cathedral, and learn a bit about how Singapore came to be at the Images of Singapore Museum.

And the biggest delight of all: seeing my parents’ faces light up like a child’s as they watched the lights and fire show entitled “Songs of the Sea” in Sentosa. For that alone, I’d be willing to fly to Singapore again.

The trick, to my mind, is to look not for what about this or that makes you miss home or how this or that is much better here than in any other town or city you’ve been to. You simply look for Singapore – food, places, people, the works – and that’s exactly what you’ll be delighted to find. :-)

19 Oct ’09 , 12:59 a.m.

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*And yes, the news that bubble gum is no longer outlawed in Singapore is just as true.

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