September 8, 2007

What I Know about Singapore
Singapore City, Singapore

The little island with a deep wallet.

Singapore's technology

Singapore is hot melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and expatriates (often from the UK or Australia)—comprising 76.7%, 14%, 7.9%, and 1.4% of the population, respectively. It's a superstitious lot, and there are signs of spirit appeasement everywhere in the city.

But all Singaporeans are said to have two unifying passions: Eating and shopping. And from what I've seen, the rumors are true.

Singapore is truly the technological hub of SE Asia: Cell phones, computers, and gadgets of all kinds can be found here. I still have a U.S. perception of the technology that's out there in the world, and looking around the IT malls here are like gazing into the future. Singapore seems like it's easily a decade ahead of North America in such things. I even came across the PDA keyboard I was desperately searching for a few months ago.

The shopping is huge, designer, and expensive on a sprawling avenue known as Orchard Road. Singapore isn't a destination for discounts any longer—residents jet over to Hong Kong for that—but there is certainly enough posh clothing, electronics, and books to keep people happy and spending.

Tatiana seems to think the "people are less ugly and better dressed" in Singapore, compared to the other Asian countries she's seen. One thing's for sure, they certainly appear to be more wealthy.

For some reason this country reminds me of that stereotypical Asian kid in the suburban neighborhoods of the United States—the kid that's endlessly pressured by his parents to play the piano or violin, get perfect marks in school, and date within their social class. It's like all these kids grew up and made a city for themselves.

The architecture has me snapping my camera above the horizon often—I really love the contemporary feel of the city. Many buildings are bold, elegant, and original. I'm absolutely amazed what has been built on the swampy, soggy, jungle that use to be this island.

Coupled with the impressive buildings, is an equally impressive MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) subway system. The underground stations are huge, modern, and very functional. I think it's safe to say it's probably the best engineered subway infrastructure I've ever seen.

Singapore is an oasis of logic and order in an otherwise illogical and chaotic region of the world. Without doubt the country is worth seeing, but for how long really depends on how much you're willing to (over-)spend.

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