The question running through my mind while in Singapore and now looking back…is it a utopia or dystopia? And I still have no answer from myself, other travellers, people living there now, or those who were born there and have moved.
The perfect way to save money was housesitting for a few days in Singapore for a funny cat in an Australian couple’s cozy, but comfy apartment. While not centrally located, it was close to the train and to a great walking path that wound through neighborhoods I normally would not have visited and to the great walking/biking path that goes along the coast to the city. The heat and humidity continued to suffocate, only broken up by the fairly predictable afternoon thunderstorm.
While there, I was able to catch up with a guy I met in China for a little food tour at the Old Airport Road hawker stall, a walk around the Singapore Bay area full of tourists and locals, and then a night driving tour around the city so I could get the lay of the land. When I asked him why there is not even a trace of graffiti, he simply replied, “you will get a fine”. I know, I know, but that’s the case everywhere and there are still people rebelling!
I also found it fascinating as he told me about the reasons why so many companies choose to relocate their business there (which explains the enormous ships filling up the harbor). Again, leaving me curious as to how/why it works in Singapore, but nowhere else. It will be very interesting to see how it develops and ages over the next years and whether or not it can maintain this level of “cleanliness”.
I was disappointed to hear about the treatment of migrant workers and LGBTIQ members of the society and still left wondering about those experiencing homelessness and earning less than average salaries. My friend seemed to believe that the government provides plenty of affordable opportunities for public housing, but I would like to do a little more research on my own. On the other hand, it’s hard to know what information has been filtered through such a government. An interesting place this Singapore.
My days were spent wandering the distinct ethnic neighborhoods, sweating, biking around an oasis island inside the island, eating an array of Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes, watching the lightning and wind, and sitting in the air conditioned apartment searching for the cheapest flight to the coolest temperatures.