Strolling the Streets of Sing
On my second day in Singapore, Shirin and I slept in until noon and then we went to this Swiss themed ski lodge for brunch. I kid you not, there were alpine skis nailed to the walls and a sleigh from the 1800s. In a way, I think this is a good example of the craziness that is Singapore. After brunch, we headed to Chinatown.
Chinatown in Singapore is much like Singapore. It is the most orderly and clean Chinatown I have ever seen. People don’t really hassle you into stores here. It’s mellow. There is even a Tintin store here (c’est trop bizarre! I don’t know how the location was chosen.) I’m starting to realize that the Chinese are not the most liked people in Asia. In Indonesia the stereotype is that Chinese are rich and control business. There are several big businesses controlled by Chinese, so this does come from somewhere. In 1998 when Suharto fell, riots in Jakarta resulted in many Chinese deaths. I don’t know if the tension is still simmering here today. Shirin was saying that Chinese tourists now come to Singapore in packs on large buses so people are starting to dislike them for that and also for the business stereotype.
We walked Pagoda Street and then left Chinatown and went around the corner to the Hindu Sri Mariamman temple. You have to take your shoes off to enter, which I had no problem with, but, boy, was the pavement hot. The colors on the temple were especially bright and beautiful; it is well kept.
Ah, modernity! How your skyscrapers jut into the sky. The contrasts are all over Indonesia too. For some reason they seem much more shocking to me here than in Europe when you see a very old church and a skyscraper.
Mom, Dad, I think we should really reconsider the white walls and ceiling in our house. Just saying…
Our next stop of the day was Clarke Quay. Sam described this as an expat area where people will drink on the bridge here and relax. There are plenty of restaurants and bars around here.
In the outdoor mall on the other side of the river these overhangs were installed and Sam said that they supposedly keep the temperature a few degrees lower. All I can say is, it’s hot here. However you slice it, it’s hot. I think I am adjusting somewhat. I still sweat like crazy but now it doesn’t bother me as much.
The perfect end to any day is a beer along the river watching the boats go by…
In work related news (yes, I do work, a lot actually) back in Jakarta I have now been working on the copy desk for exactly a month. I work 3 p.m. to about midnight. I don’t mind copy editing. It’s a great skill to have and I have learned tons about Indonesia by editing stories for tomorrow (yes, it is fun seeing “the news” ahead of time). Some of the stories need a lot of work, but that’s how it goes. Reuters just picked up a story I did some editing on, see full story here. Now that I am more settled, I am starting to write, even though that means my days off are spent working, you’re young once, right? In other journalism news, here is an amazing story that I think anyone can appreciate. G’night to all and thanks for reading, makes the writing more fun.