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28 Feb 2020

Switzerland of South East Asia – Singapore

Switzerland of South East Asia – Singapore

The title seems to be an exaggeration? None of these things. These tiny little state after the separation from Britain in 1965 during the life of just one generation, turned into a real economic tiger (or rather lion? city name consists of two Sanskrit words: Singa – lion and pura – city). The system of education, health care, and finally the GDP per capita is better here than in most of the Western countries. 80% of people live in houses, no corrupt politicians, you will not spot here on the streets drunks and beggars. Too good to be true? Read further what price Singapore society pays for this and what this amazing country has to offer to visitors.

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I was in very comfortable position that I had even two days to explore Singapore. Because the flight was so called multi-sector, which flew from Dubai to Singapore for 24 hours. After this time we went to Melbourne for 32 hours and back to Singapore for 24 hours again. The last flight was of course back to Dubai.

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For sightseeing I also had a good team. Good because Polish! Paulina from Gdańsk accompanied me  (as she turned out to be my neighbor) and Mickael (Polish parents but born in France). General speaking, the whole crew was really great, maybe except one Maltese, who attempted to manage us only because he was flying a few months more, but his aspirations were stopped very quickly. Checklist for sightseeing, as usual, has been prepared prior to the flight. Only thing remained to do was to apply points to visit on the map we received from the hotel reception and Go!

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At the beginning we went along the bay, surrounded by a number of impressive skyscrapers together with the most famous one – hotel Marina Bay Sands (the second most expensive hotel in the world $ 5.5 billion), consisting of three towers covered at the top of the boat-like platform. Then we went to the Gardens by the Bay, and we entered cloud forest under enormous dome, reflecting the conditions that prevail in these forests, eg. in Costa Rica, where I’ve been as well :D (post coming soon! ). In front of our eyes appeared a 42 meter high mountain, overgrown with lush vegetation, from which emerged a waterfall. Full range of shades of green, red, yellow, violet. In this interweaving smells and sounds! A feast for the senses!

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Completely intoxicated we left the cloud forest and went on the platform strolling among the so-called super trees, from where we admired the view of the city and of the aforementioned hotel.

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The next stop was Chinatown. About 25% of Singapore’s population are foreigners, mainly from China. Native Singaporeans, to put it mildly, doesn’t like too much immigrants. Often immigrants are treated with contempt. But someone has to work in pubs, bars, shopping malls, or as a cleaner. So, a few years ago, the government decided to let the citizens of other countries into Singapore.

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In Chinatown we no longer used the map. Were crossing the street after street, eat local specialties, posed for photos with Chinese girls working there until we came to the Temple of Buddha’s Tooth. Since I have already been to Asia a few times and saw a couple of Buddhist temples I must admit that this one was at least as impressive as those in Bangkok, but at the same time different from the others.

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The vast, rich in ornaments, majestic. Impression was intensified by the location of the temple. Compact buildings of the district did not allow to see the temple from a distance. Therefore, after pacing another streets, consecutive quarters, suddenly emerged from behind of the corner huge temple, causing the WOW effect (or in Polish o kur..!).

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We stepped in. At first I thought it was a restaurant. But none of these things, first impression was wrong. I just don’t know a shit about Buddhism ;)

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The day was slowly coming to an end, and yet we waited for night flight to Melbourne. Back to the hotel we went a little by metro (subway completely automated, without the drivers), some on foot. Infrastructure in the subway consisted of rails, gates, escalators, but also of a large number of cameras. Near one of the exits there was 5 of them! And this is another characteristic of Singapore. Surveillance at every step. Big brother is watching. It’s hard to find a space in the city, which is not “observed” by the eye of the camera. The camera system allows, among others, capture such offenses as spitting on the sidewalk, littering, or inappropriate use of the toilet. For such “crimes” you’ll be fined, or public reprimand will be given in the local newspaper. A multitude of actions, for which you pay a fine even gave the city the nickname “Fine City”.

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After returning from the city, two-hour nap and night flight to Melbourne. Although the flight itself wasn’t the most difficult and Australian passengers are generally friendly, however I could feel in my body growing luck of sleep. Constant fight with myself to not fall asleep on the seat, pinching eyes, and thereby worsening mood. Passengers disembarked, and in my head was only one thought – as soon as possible come to the hotel and sail to the land of dreams. However, as usual, the excitement of visiting a new place took over so the very same morning together with awesome polish crew we went to the city. Story from Melbourne will be but another time, because I have to go there again to discover more and keep up quality of the post on the same level as previous ones :)

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Flight back to Singapore also was not onerous, but sleep deficit continues to grow. We arrived late in the evening. However, instead of on the spot fall in bed I had the opportunity to go for a romantic walk along the bay of Singapore with a Canadian-Moroccan beauty, thereby, having in mind an early wake-up call the next day to complete the exploration of the Singapore, the sleep was again reduced to a minimum. But obviously it was worth it! :D

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On the second day we went to the famous amusement park of one of the Hollywood film studio Universal Studio Singapore. Amusement Park as an amusement park. The difference was about that the roller coasters, 4D movies and other attractions were arranged in themes of the films produced by Universal, such as Transformers, Shrek, Jurassic Park, and The Mummy (who happened to be closed). If someone is a fan of adrenaline and strong experience on speeding rollercoaster’s, I am afraid that he  will be disappointed. For fans of the aforementioned films, or family, the place is great. Anyway, attraction checked, Singapore visited. A few hours of sleep in the hotel, quick but intense session in the gym and return to the desert. Long-term recovery after the flight was more than necessary, but nevertheless satisfaction and experience of the visited places plus great team, fully compensated the effort!

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Lack of freedom of speech, press and television, lack of democracy, for several decades supreme ruling single party system that forces people to work hard and to participate in the rat race (10 years old children on the basis of the results of the tests in schools are divided into groups: “exceptional” ones with a bit smaller scores to “smart.” These are predisposed to power the university, and later lucrative positions. These who results were lower are eligible to the “normal” or lower group, will supply factories or the services sector). Government even urges people with higher education to bond with the partner also holding a diploma of higher education.

On the other hand, a high standard of living, a very good system of education and medical care, a strong army, competitive economy, impeccable cleanliness of sidewalks and streets, parks, playgrounds  and public transport, very low crime, along with high detection. So it rains the question whether the prosperity and security of such cost is worth it?

One thought on “Switzerland of South East Asia – Singapore

  1. Jose Garcia February 17, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    The photos are amazing! I had never considered that for a place to visit but I think it would be cool to. And you probably know this but… chewing gum is banned form Singapore because of it also being considered a crime when people spit it on the ground.

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