Sunday, February 05, 2006

Singapore is a fine city, lah




I know, I know, you have heard/seen that one before. But there is no fine for plagiarism, is there? It does make a nice opening line lah.
I was there for the whole of october, enuf time to look around, see places, hang out in the shopping malls, try some beer, make observations, draw conclusions…
here goes... in no particular order...
The Work
The work/training was good. I got a glossy certificate at the end of it. It did a whole lot good to my ego as well. It’s not everyday that you get to answer tricky questions and nearly top the reviews and tests; all that without too mucha effort, and I promptly attributed it to the stuff between my ears.
At the training room by 9 and out by about 7 in the evening was the schedule. Office was excellent with a nice view of all the flights landing at Changi. Every time you looked out of the window you would be assured of a flight landing or taking off. The Changi Business Place was dotted with many big firms. And as you would have guessed, the “diversity” ensured that you used up the entire lunch hour, filling more than just your hungry stomachs.
The Condo
Superb condominium when seen in isolation. But at the cost of staying in Hilton or Le Meredian, not too good. Check out the snaps, there a couple of snaps we took, of course after the maid had done her tidying.
I got the master bed room. On the 12th floor, with balcony and a glass wall on one side, the view had to be good. The condo had a pool, sauna and a gym (ya, do I follow it or is it the other way round?). It is a feeling to relax in a pool after the days work. I tried the sauna a few times, thou I not too sure whether I like it or not.
The Highways
“Hougang (pronounced AUGAN… with the last ‘g’ eaten up), Hougang street 91, Take the TPE highway”. That would how a typical cab ride home would begin, with yours truly in the navigators seat. It’s no fun riding/driving on those highways – cars stick to their lanes, everyone is at about 100kmph, hardly any overtaking, no squeezing between cars, no honking… so apart from a motorist who zips past you at 100, there’s nothing that is even remotely as 'exciting' as riding on Hosur Road.
The Bikes
The most common bike around is the Honda Phantom which is anywhere between 150 and 250cc. Our good ol’ Yamaha 100cc were also present. There are also loads of small scooty kinda bikes. A visit to the happening places of the city and there are lots of sports bikes the Hondas, the Yamahas and a few Harleys. Bikes still serve the purpose of transportation maybe a substitute to the very expensive cars. So you see a fair number of bikes on the roads. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any Bullets. Royal Enfield has a showroom here in Singapore.
The Shopping
Lots of shopping malls and maals around to ensure you shop till you are dead or run out of dough.
Mustafa center - Under its modest exterior, you’ll find every conceivable item here at some of the lowest fixed prices in Singapore. This is also close to Little India, a place where there is an aberration to the Singapore rules of no littering and no spiting. Maybe becoz they don’t want you to miss India.
Sim Lim Square - Row upon row of shops on four levels deal in stereos, tape decks, CD players, TVs, VCRs, laser disc players, cameras, handy cams and anything electronic. You need to do the Burma Bazaar kind of bargaining here.
Then there is Bugis, Orchard street, Suntec, etc, etc, etc.
The Gals
Guys wake up and catch the first available no-frills flight to Singapore. I fell for almost any chinki babe I saw. And in case you are wondering, there is no fine for gawking. (and btw, I traveled IA, cant promise the same if you travel anything else.) I had a Singapore colleague and he showed us around places. The city wakes up at 12 in the night and never sleeps. There are dance clubs that are filled to capacity on the weekends. I really mean it when I say filled – at 2 in the night, when you want to shake a leg, or a hip, or anything else on the dance floor, all that you can shake is a neck!! There is no room for anything else.
Zouk, Top ten and some-name-i-forget are some cool ones that you shouldn’t miss.
Hey, did I digress from the main topic? Cant divulge the details here, treat me out somewhere and I may loosen my tongue a bit.
The Ppl
Most of them are from outside. You can find women (n men, of course) of all races here. The reason why the government encourages people to make children. I have heard that it sponsors the upbringing of the “third” child of the same parents!!
I would get confused living there. There is no, one culture/religion that people belong to. They seem extremely paranoid about everything. You have signs and warning notices and endless announcements about even a very unlikely danger. Many sings are superfluous and downright ridiculous at times. Like this one in the men’s room that says “Please aim before you shoot”. Sometimes I wonder if this curbs creativity, leads to very compartmentalized thinking. And I am not merely referring to that comment in particular.
Okie there is one other notice that I read somewhere which I deserves a mention here.
Our Aim is to keep this toilet clean
Gentlemen Your aim will help. Stand closer, it is shorter than you think
Ladies Please remain seated for the entire performance
But I should add, the people are extremely helpful and make tourists very comfortable.
The places
I visited Sentosa and the zoo. Check out the hyperlink for more info. Truly fabulous places both. I got to do a bit of cycling on East Coast Parkway as well. I am running out of time and space, else I would have written about my Malaysian friend,etc, etc... but...
Ps: fotos at http://photos.yahoo.com/manojbhat1

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