For someone not excited by expensive branded bags, perfume, jewellery and electronics, what is there in Singapore? I have been there once and transited several times. So, when an opportunity of spending one week at Singapore came-up, I dug into my memory for what had stayed about the place.
The comfort of being a woman on the streets. This is unbeatable. The feeling of being secure, safe, un-ogled, un-groped, shutting the antenna that is ever alert for signs of ‘touching, snatching, asking, following etc etc is peace at a very different level. This was my the-most-loved thing about Singapore. I bought myself a tourist pass and went anywhere I wanted to go. Got off the MRT, walked around and came back. Not even one upsetting episode.
Walking. If you enjoy walking, this is one of the best organised cities. All the signages read easily and are aided by a picture. When they want you to use an underpass to cross certain roads, there is an arrow and a picture of the underpass. Very clear. No pushing, shoving and no vehicles honk.
The Botanic Garden. This one is my favourite. It’s a little too well maintained, true. But absolutely fantastic, free, open space to walk, to sit by the lake, to look at the many flowers, birds and animals.
The greenery in the city is noticeable. There are trees in every possible nook and corner, balconies, roadsides, houses everywhere. When you are tired from walking under the sweltering sun, the benches under the trees will come to your rescue. The buildings are experimenting with low-energy construction and design which is heartening to see.
I managed to see a batik exhibition at The Asian Civilisations Museum. Fantastic display, quiet, comfortable, you can take pictures, and there are benches to sit down and rest your legs. The traditional street ice-cream, a slice sandwiched between two crackers was the best thing when resting on the benches. I ate a Magnolia coconut and it was really good, soft, exact sweetness with pieces of coconut in it.
The most alarming thing, is the use of plastic. All shops continue to use plastic bags, even if some of them are recycled plastic. Very few people carry a bag for shopping. Food, drinks, are packed in plastic. Given that it’s a hub of vogue perfumes and clothes, the streets also radiate strong fragrances. And in that heat, most women wear stylish clothes, most of which are synthetic.
We woke up to calls of the wild roosters’ early morning. The mynas come back to their trees at the end of the day and create a massive cacophony that won’t allow any talking on the street at that time.
Two golden orioles sang sitting on the tree opposite our balcony, mynas came and perched for the breadcrumbs. A very satisfying time.