Singapore, first-class city
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During our big road-trip in 2010, Singapore was on our list but we had to skip it fearing the red-tape necessary to get our VanVan entering the island-nation. Now that we live in Bangalore, Singapore is one of the most famous getaway trip for Indian weekenders who are also many to work or study there for months, years or for good. It’s also a symbol for Indians as this neat city represents the opposite of Indian megacities : very clean, organized, great infrastructure, modern, full of rules.
So we were quite curious to get there and have a look by ourselves at this very famous and performing city-state.
First mistake, after having visited Hong-Kong one year ago, we couldn’t stop ourselves from comparing those two cities which are both competing for the title of financial capital of Asia. But Singapore hasn’t the same power, history and soul than its counterpart Hong-Kong.
Here, people aren’t staying in tiny apartments in giant towers tucked between the sea and the hill, but in kind of near “projects” with parks in between. At least they still put big bamboos at their windows to hang up their clothes to dry otherwise it would really look like a giant boring suburb that could be anywhere else in the world.
Also, Singapore has, of course, a Dubai side. Some giant and ambitious architectural projets around Marina Bay with the famous hotel with the same name and a park, “Garden by the bay” which have made a name for Singapore around the world. Honestly, it’s really nice, unique and quite impressive. But even with nature, you feel that Singaporeans like to plan it, make it modern, neat, perfect. What wrong with this? it feels fake and it’s quite boring.
So, as we experienced it in Australia, nothing to blame with a pleasant city with a so-called good quality of life. No room for surprises. For that, you finally have to visit the Indian neighborhood, “Little India”, but you’ll understand that’s not really what we’re looking for when we have Big India at home…
Ok, we’re also a bit bragging and exagerating. We would be lying to you if we wouldn’t confess how we loved the abundance of asian food and total laid-back attitude of locals at the numerous “food centers” (also called “hawkers’ centers”), how we had to pinch ourselves to believe the number of cargo boats filling the horizon as soon as we watched the sea, how we liked the colonial architecture in the city-center, how we were glad to feel some urban culture in Gayland (which is not gay!?) and how we were amused to mingle with hipsters in Arab Street. So we were pretty satisfied by this big mix of cultures and styles in this city-concept but… there is a but which doesn’t made us fall in love with this city