I haven't been since, I think 1998, but my son was there 3 years ago and says I wouldn't recognize it! That's saying something as I have visited 3 times and went everywhere!
I loved the U-Tube nostalgic report - especially the haughty voice of the narrator ;D The music was a bit dramatic to start with and then calms down to a melodious jaunty tune! Funny thing is I recognize so many things in the video!! Even the row upon row of "sampans?' berthed along Clarke Quay. Well I think it is because I see the arched bridge up ahead......Now there are rows upon rows of restaurants and a Bum-boat ride if you want to waste some dollars. It's only now since looking at the video that I see what those little figures are doing with long poles - depicted in the blue & white china so sought after by antique collectors today.
I have visited Singapore three times in the last ten years and I will be returning there soon for an extended stay. I am wondering how I will occupy my days as I sheer away from amusement centres such as Sentosa island and zoos
The first time I visited Singapore I was amazed to see how orderly everything was. From the spick and span dual carriageway from the airport into town to the neatly clipped bourgainvillea planted in the central reservations. Not fully understanding how things had changed I was avid to visit Changi area and remants of the former prison camps. I was told that 'few visit that area' but I went there all the same in a taxi. I then realised that there was no taxi rank or possibility of a taxi cruising by to take me back to the city at the end of my visit. Anyway I was the solitary visitor to the museum containing photos and memories of those who had suffered during the war. I looked in vain for the beaches I had imagined to be close by but instead, only found re-claimed land stretching to the horizon. I finally found a taxi to take me back to my hotel and the driver, noticing my disappointment, slowed down to show me Changhi prison, not far from the remains of the concentration camp (for the British). He said that the prison was still fully operational and that many hangings took place there, mostly for those who were caught peddling drugs. Then we went back into town.
At the time I was visiting with my fiance who never liked to explore 'native' places and I was stuck with 5 star hotel dining rooms for the duration of each visit; but this time I will follow my nose and explore the backstreets.
I did make one quick getaway though, I was in a shopping mall and went into an optician's shop to buy something. I took out my LP guidebook and enquired where I could find some Buddhist temples. The shop owner was so delighted that he offered to drive me to the main one if I cared to go with him. I said 'yes' at once. So off we went. I cannot remember the name of this large, modern, bright and beautiful temple but it was here that I was given free pamphlets and books about Buddhism and so it was here that I was first introduced to the Buddhist dhamma. This was probably a turning point for me. The optician was kindness itself. He showed me as much as he could and then took me over to a large building where the dead, having been cremated and put into small boxes with their photos on the outside, are stored. There are thousands upon thousands of these container stacked high. You see, there is little space in Singapore for burials. Finally I returned to my fiance, who, after his high-powered meetings, was horrified that I had cadged a lift from the gentle Singaporean who had shown me so much.
Everytime I've been I do the same little relaxing ritual which gets me into the Singapore swing! Walking up from my hotel in Scotts Road I jump on the MRT at Orchard and take the line around the whole island. May have to change once to come back to the starting point - usually Raffles City , (but the system must have changed vastly since I was last there)I just adore looking at all the housing where the locals stay everytime the train stops at a station. The carriages are virtually empty if you go as soon as you have freshened up after arriving and then choosing a spot for an early dinner before getting the first nights sleep. We like the seafood places along the East Coast Parkway or Newton's Circus.
After a few days of strolling the gigantic shopping malls we have found ourselves taking the bus to Changi Village and waiting for a bumboat to Pulau Ubin(7km by 2km). This sleepy backwater is where time has stood still and looks like Singapore did 50years ago. Our old oil-stained boat ( a smokey noisy diesel contraption) chugged up Serangoon Harbour into the Straits of Johore and 2km off-shore docked at a rickety old pier in Ubin Village. Here we saw Malay Kampongs (stilt houses) teetering over a sludgy mangrove beach. The shops are just tatty junk but I found some fake wads of money that are used to burn as offerings to the gods. Feeling hungry we sat down at a really casual eating place. I ordered the 'local' chicken dish and I swear the chicken ran past me only 20min. before ;D We would like to have explored further but the heat got to us and one would definitely need to hire one of the bikes to get to the Thai Buddhist Temple and quarry where you can take a swim.
There are wonderful things to do in the outlying areas if you get a good guide book. We didn't ski but they let us in to this frozen artic slope to watch for a while before going to look at pottery, then ending up buying antique-looking knives, forks and spoons which I use every Sunday at lunch!
Great pictures. I have sometimes considered going to Batam, but then I decide that since I have seen several other area of Indonesia, I don't really need to visit the city for daytrippers. But it is worth it?
To be honest - I was a little disappointed in Batam. We booked a package deal and spent about 3 days there. The reason for going was to break from only staying in Singapore for two/three weeks. I did enjoy the clothing shops - really cheap. For entertainment we jet-ski'd but it was not too good in the rough seas. Otherwise I recall it rained....and rained....and rained As you all know, the brochure always looks ten times better than the actual venue!
One of the biggest changes to occur in Singapore in the last 10years was to let casinos operate. I read it has not all gone smoothly as the ever watchful eye of the lawmakers scan the horizons for impending trouble.
This was reported today: The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) has fined Marina Bay Sands (MBS) $255,000 and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) $130,000 for failing to comply with social safeguard requirements.
Both casinos failed to comply fully with the social safeguard requirements which are put in place to contain and control the potential harm of casino gambling to society. These include allowing Singaporeans without valid entry levies, persons with exclusions orders and minors to enter the casinos
Talking or listening to the locals may have you in a bit of a quandry the first time you hear the English language spoken in Singapore. Singlish - or Singaporean English is spoken at a machine-gun rattle and one could be forgiven if you thought they were communicating in a language other than English!
To begin with, pronunciation is so stoccato that many words are rendered unrecognisable - especially mono-syllabic words such as "cheque" and "book", which would be spoken as"che-boo", or "last week" becomes "las-wee". In contrast, in two-syllable words the second syllable is lengthened, and stressed by a rise in tone: ask a Singaporean what they've been doing and you'll variously be told "wor-king", or "sho-pping", "slee-ping".
The unorthodox rhythms of phrasing make Singlish so memorable. Conventional English syntax is twisted and wrung. Tenses and pronouns cast to one side. Ask a Singaporean if they've ever seen Michael Jackson you might be answered " I ever see him"; ask if they have a car and the response might be: "last time (meaning before) got, now no have". While enquiring whether they've just been shopping might yield: "go come back already"
With responses shortened down to their bare bones, single-word replies often are repeated for stress. So, request something in a shop and you'll hear "have, have" or "got, got". The Singaporean customer may respond with "where got?" by which he means "where is it?"
Suffixes and exclamations drawn from Malay, Hokkien and English complete this patois, the most distinctive being "Lah", as in "okay lah" and " so cheap one lah" (this is really inexpensive, isn't it?)
So if Singlish has you totally baffled, you might try raising your eyes to the heavens and crying either "ay yor!" ( with a drop of tone on "yor") or "Allama!" - both expressions of annoyance or exasperation!
In the Singaporean couple with whom I am friends, he speaks Singlish and she speaks proper clipped British English (think 'BBC News'). All of their parents spoke Chinese English (when obliged to speak English). I've always thought Singlish is a lot of fun -- it expresses so much enthusiasm (Wah! Loo'! Chickenrice all can eat 2 dolla!")
Christmas and Chinese New Year blend together seamlessly in Singapore. Since my youngest age, I have always delighted in a string of decorative lights, so it all suits me perfectly. The oddness of the hot tropical nights along Orchard Road makes the whole event even more attractive.
Great colourful ( and darn tempting!) photos of brilliantly lit Orchard Road! It makes me want to do some kind of round-trip via Paris ( to experience brrrrrrrr weather and the beautiful shop windows!).
I'm linked to YAHOO SINGAPORE so get all the latest news everyday. This week Orchard Road is to close on Saturday evening for a fashion show The stretch from ION Orchard to Ngee Ann City, or between Scotts Rd and Bideford Rd, will be closed from 7pm to 10:30pm this Saturday.
Having just viewed the recent photos I am sure it will be a spectacular event!
I'm old enough to still remember the old colonial villas smothered in vegetation that were along that part of the street before Ngee Ann City and the rest of the stuff were built. (And I will be able to prove it some day when I manage to scan some slides.)