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Five Reasons TO travel to and live in Singapore

This article (written in 2010) was the source of some Twitter rage back in April of this year.

Yep, April 2013. I’ve never been one to be on task with current issues. I’d make a horrible news reporter!

You can go and read it in its entirety, but I wanted to touch on a few pieces and give you :

my [more than] Five Reasons TO travel to and live in Singapore.

A bit of forewarning? I link up a LOT to previous blog posts that I’ve written. I wrote a LOT about the things that I loved about Singapore and I’d love for you to learn more about that country. Pick a couple that might interest you and read up on it! 

The author says :

Two days after arriving in this ‘island state’, I couldn’t wait to leave Singapore and, since then, I’ve never been back. In fact, if you’re thinking of traveling to Singapore on business or vacation, these five big reasons might make you think, like I do, Singapore is definitely a country to avoid.

She goes on to get a bit clearer in why she holds this opinion. Read on with me as we delve in further.

1. Singapore Is The World’s Most Boring Country – One of the smallest countries on the planet, Singapore has little to do to keep you entertained. Sure, if you like shopping malls, or sitting in restaurants, Singapore has many of them. But other than tacky Sentosa Island with its Universal Studios Theme Park, there’s little else to do except shop and eat.

The dictionary definition of boring is monotonous, tedious, irksome, tiresome, humdrum. Singapore might be sterile when compared to other well-known tourist hot spots in Asia, but things are only as [insert descriptive word of choice here] as you make them.

She also says :

Half the fun of being in Asia is its lively streets, smells, sounds, street nightlife, food stalls and cities that never sleep. Singapore, on the other hand, is one of the world’s most sterile countries, with all the outdoor food in ‘hawker areas’ (dull, compared to Bangkok), and with none of the street life of most Asian cities. After being in Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, I felt like I was sleepwalking in Singapore – it really was that dull. After my second day in Singapore, and a ‘city tour’ that took all of three hours, I was so bored I booked a flight back to Bangkok two days early as I couldn’t stomach one more day in the world’s most boring country. Singapore is a country to avoid.

Wait. The author could only stomach Singapore for two days? Poor thing, I can only imagine the trauma that Singapore caused her.

If she had been cut from the creative-traveler-mold, she would have found that one can spend ALL day in a place like Tiong Bahru, the Cloud Dome, or the Sungei Buloh Wetlands. Wait, there’s also the Treetop Walk,  Katong and Joo Chiat and mornings at Woodlands Town Garden. Just take a look at our original Singapore Bucket List!

2. Singapore Is Expensive – Compared to most other Asian countries, Singapore is expensive. With things like taxis, hotels, shopping and eating on a par with America, I saw no point in visiting an Asian country, then spending as much as I would in America, if not more. For cheap yet amazing places to travel in Asia, avoid Singapore completely, and try Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh – basically anywhere but Singapore.

I cannot disagree with the author on this point. Singapore IS expensive, but only if you let it be. Hawker stalls are ridiculously inexpensive (unless you’re in the Woodlands, and then the joke is on you!) and even shopping can be stupid cheap (hello, Mustafa and the wet markets!). Shoot … if you can’t figure out how to buy on the cheap, just make it at home!!

3. Everything in Singapore Is Regulated – A society gone mad with rules, you hardly dare breath in Singapore, in case you do something that’s against the law. Chewing gum is against the law and bubble gum and chewing gum are not allowed to be sold in the country. Forgetting to flush the toilet could get you a fine of $500, if you’re a gay man and discovered kissing another man you could end up receiving a jail sentence, and don’t forget people are still caned in Singapore for some crimes, including that really serious one of chewing gum.

Yes, Singapore is a bit over the top when it comes to its rules. Enter Exhibit #1 – the motorcycle laws. The organ donation situation riled me up and then there’s the weird kiasu business, although that’s not officially a rule. Parking is WAY regulated, but after being back in the United States for a minute, that’s a good thing.

4. Singaporean Culture is Conformist – In other Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia, the culture of the country is fascinating as, with less rules, citizens are free to experiment with ideas. In Singapore, due to the restrictive laws, the Singaporean art scene practically non-existent. Not surprising really as, if you stifle a people’s creativity and imagination as the Singaporean government does, then people are socialized to conform and think within the box and not outside it. Not a catalyst for great artwork, literature or any other cultural experimentation.

Oh good lord. Vincent doesn’t conform, and neither do the folks that I encountered on my morning walks. Culture is all around you … you just have to find it … and shame on her for DARING to say “within the box” when she apparently has no idea how to find her way out of one herself. I would challenge her to return to Singapore for Thaipusam … please.

5. Singapore Is One of the World’s Most Censored Countries – Censorship in Singapore is rampant. Political, racial, sexual and religious issues are frequently censored, with most TV programs, movies, magazines and newspapers censored by the Singaporean government. Movies have scenes cut from them, certain books are not allowed to be sold, some music can’t be played, cable TV has some shows banned, and newspapers and magazines have to be careful what they publish in case the government shuts them down.

For many reasons, I’m choosing NOT to comment too much on this subject, but my experience in Singapore isn’t much different than my experience living in Delhi, India for three years. I have a problem with people who pass judgment on a place / situation / person after a short amount of time. Please, there is an opposite effect of censorship … when you have too little of it and too much freedom of speech.

As a writer, and as someone who travels around Asia often, for the above five reasons plus many others, Singapore is the last place in the world I would ever go back to. Censored, conformist, bogged down with rules, and the dullest place on the planet – Singapore? You can keep it.

Dullest place on the planet? Not when you have THIS happening in the Woodlands, this in China Town, and THIS amazingness at Gardens by the Bay and these little bits and bobs.

I’m trying really hard to understand the reasoning behind her publication of this piece, when just a quick look at her recent pieces finds the content stream relating to a bunch of talk about bunny rabbits.

Cassandra, you should really give Singapore another go … or at least give it longer than 2-3 days before ripping it a new one.

 

Strange Food Offerings in Singapore

Our littles LOVE sandwich wafers. Mostly the vanilla flavor, but the strawberry finds its way into our pantry every so often. These, however? I don’t think so. Durian is a very powerful and not pleasant smell, I can’t imagine what these taste like.

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This isn’t a strange food, but look at that price! You’d better REALLY need a Ben & Jerry fix!

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Yum. Seaweed flavored Pringles.

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Need a little sea cucumber with your fish head? No worries!

 

 

 

 

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I have many more photos, but will stick with those … oh! These also … my favorites were the tuna flavors!