[Singapore] Humble Observations in 2015 【新加坡觀察】

Today marks the last day of my stay here in Singapore. Some would think that ten days here is too long for a holiday, others would think that it takes a life time to truly get to know this island-country (as with every city and every country). 

It's truly been an amazing time for me here, especially since this is the country of my childhood, where I established my perspective for this world, where my values for the connection between urban life and the natural environment were built. 

Throughout these few days, I've gotten to see the "typical" Singapore, the "past" Singapore from my memories, as well the super new cosmopolitan eye-blinding bling bling modern Singapore! I was SO amazed when passing the CBD district and Marina Bay for the first time after already spending an entire week here! How well my friend had me tucked away in the REAL Singapore, away from all the lights and buildings! 

However, I may have been hanging around the "typical" Singapore environment, I have not been around "typical" Singaporeans. My friends have made this experience so much more unforgettable than I had ever thought. 

I feel so blessed and lucky to have chosen to come to Singapore right now, when they are holding their SEA Games (already winning EIGHTY-TWO gold medals as of today!) as well as celebrating their SG50. It is also considered the rainy season now I think, so it's not as blazing hot and scorching everyday, but cloudy with a comfortable breeze all the time. 

Here I'd like to list my own insignificant observations I've made over the past few days, however minute and probably only interesting to my own self. This is my idea of Singapore in 2015: (criticism and responses are welcome!)

1) Singaporeans will always wait for everyone's meal to arrive before digging in together.

2) There is always SO MUCH ice in all the drinks! 
--- and you can't have it with no ice either, because it will then just be HOT.

3) Most of the staffs in restaurants, shops and public infrastructures are elderly people. Whereas the younger generation is mostly in hipper and cooler cafes. I THINK this shows the country's policies towards elderly employment.

4) Even with the super clean malls and luxurious furnishings, bathrooms are not always as clean as they should be.

5) Escalators move remarkably fast. Always stand on the left side (not the right!)

6) LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO is playing EVERYWHERE. This is my theme song in Singapore this time. What are you waiting for?

7) Ethical diversity does not seem as fair and equal as I idealized. There is a still a general gap between all races. Chinese are still the majority. Groups of mixed Chinese, Malayan and Indians are not that typical. And most labor-workers are of Indian ethnicity.

8) Underground passes are a big deal. Whenever possible, they would go underground.

9) Shopping malls are another big deal. I can't believe I got sick in Singapore because of too much air-conditioning

10) There is construction EVERYWHERE! As I said ... Singapore is not perfect. Yet.

I couldn't help with all the observation, comparison, contrasts, marvel and even criticism with this country all this time. If there is one thing to take away from these ten days, it's this:

Singapore is not perfect.

Maybe it is because of all the media coverage, its international reputation, its many many many over the top praises for its cleanliness, order and ambition, you'd almost expect a PERFECT Singapore. Where everything is clean to the last drop, where everything is meticulously planned, where everyone is Utopian happy, where this is the kind of cosmopolitan city the world is striving to achieve.

But it's not.

Singapore is growing. It's learning. It's adapting. It is still on its way to finding its own cultural uniqueness, distinctive from global cosmopolitanism, yet in tune with the rest of the world. But it is doing so with confidence and pride. Again and again this has been reaffirmed in their culture. Just take a look at their national anthem:


Majulah Singapore.
Onward Singapore! 

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