Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Some notes from November: Singapore's a really interesting city-state, ripe for tourists with interests in urban planning and certain concepts of utopianism. I'd thought I was over a cold, but typical cabin compression brought about a relapse lasting throughout our vacation. Luckily, the environment was pretty good for someone mildly sniffly, with plenty commercial comforts. Some things about Singapore: while the country is very compact, it's designed so that I could never quite glimpse the massive crisscrossing highways from the urban areas. Lengths of greenspace delineate and separate these things. Similarly, the nestled pockets of incredibly preserved British colonial enclaves manage to inhabit areas in and behind numberless malls without losing an iota of their cultivated museum charm. Singapore is a highly regulated city-state in other ways: street vendors have been collected into "hawkers' centers", public spaces are meticulously scrubbed, Christmas decorations follow municipal themes, and legislated fees for anti-social digression are rampant. Singapore is a "fine" city, the many t-shirts1 say. There are heavy penalties for spitting, not wearing seatbelts, peeing in elevators. Everything is tightly controlled, yet I never saw a police officer. I think there's probably heavy fines for not turning yourself in. This systematic regulation is reason enough for one interesting aesthetic difference between Singapore and Hong Kong: while an eyesore of invasive street signs characterize both, Hong Kong's are mostly advertisements while Singapore's signs are usually helpful directions. We had a nice time. We went to the midnight zoo,2 Haw Par Villa,3 and rode what may be the world's tallest Farris Wheel.4 For Thanksgiving dinner we ate at a wonderful place in little India. I had mustard greens. On our last night, I nearly broke my back crawling down into the harbor for a bad photo of the world-famous Merlion.5 I'm okay now. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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