Impressions of Singapore

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want to take a picture of the merlion minus the crowds? do it the day prior F1

I have been putting off writing about my trips to Singapore since there’s just so much to write about. I am torn as to where to start. It’s the first foreign country I’ve visited. Initially, I wanted to first write about getting a passport but my experience might be irrelevant now that they issuing machine readable passports. I have yet to see personally what these new passports look like. Mine was the old one, the one with brown cover. I’ll probably write a post about my experience in the future, for comparative purposes.

So Singapore.  A year ago, my knowledge of the country was limited to the few that I have heard from people and what I have read from books.

In college, I took an elective course on South East Asian Literature and of course, literary works from Singapore were among the ones we studied. Our professor, by way of introduction, related her own trip to the country. I remember her saying that it’s small, with a land area about as big as Metro Manila (or was it Greater Manila Area?). That it’s a very clean, very green, very modern. That they are very strict about their rules and you can’t chew bubble gum there.  The novel she had us read was The Serpent’s Tooth by Catherine Lim. My copy’s still with me, along with most ofmy college reading materials, stored in a box in my room. I’ve been telling myself to find time to read it again, now that I have been to the country.

I have met people who have gone to Singapore prior to my trip there. They affirm what I have learned in that class. And had something more to share. It’s a small country. Very clean. Modern. A first world country. A business hub.  People are very disciplined.  Are workaholics. Their English is more British and that they end their sentences with “Lah”.  Cost of living is high compared to the Philippines. But taxicabs would give you your change down to the last cent. The transport system is very organized.  Prostitution is legal.

My prior knowledge is also pretty much influenced by my brother who works there. And he’s saying what other people are saying. People there would return stuff they found to their owners. An officemate who lost his wallet got it back intact. The good samaritan never showed her/his face. It was delievered to their office.  You can’t cross just anywhere. You can’t litter anywhere. You can’t get fruits from trees you don’t own without permission. When stuff are on sale, they really are on sale. Not just a measly 10% got shaved off. Imagine Body Shop Soaps for only 1sgd or P30+.

While I have my brother and his wife to turn to, added knowledge always helps. I read up what I could on Singapore from internet sites before and during my trip so as to maximize my stay. I wanted to know what places people are visiting, what they are buying, what to eat and since Singapore’s strict with their laws, the dos and don’ts.  I found the following blogs and forums useful:

1. Travelerfolio – “an award winning travel photo blog”. Picture heavy. Entries not limited to Singapore alone.
2. Angryangmo – bits and pieces from an expat living in Singapore. A couple of helpful tips thrown here there.
3. Girltalk Forum’s Singapore Threads – Discussions on shopping in Singapore, living in Singapore,  and traveling to Singapore.

I have heard much about Lucky Plaza, Sentosa, Night Safari, Singapor Flyer, the Merlion, Chicken Rice, F1 Races, and the Great Singapore Sale. My appetite whetted, I was ready to go.

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