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From a Personal Stance: SINGAPURA

I've been to different places IN the country and I wonder how the experience would have changed if I were to immerse on another land of different culture, language, and race.

Singapura, or Singapore is the first country I have visited. I went there on a 3rd week of January and the weather is just like in the Philippines, quite sunny. Same time zone, but 7:00PM in SG is like 5:00PM in our country.

First thing I noticed is how "urbanized" this country is. It's like a big Ayala Avenue, Makati...! definitely much better! East coast to west coast, transportation system is highly organized. You can hardly find traffic here. I am also amazed with their MRT/LRT system, how they are connected with ease, always on time, and that it can touch almost all points in the country (or maybe I'm just comparing it with the one we have. Haha!). Aside from train, one can also take buses to go over the country. It was my first time to see a double-deck bus! :) There are designated bus stations (and yes, loading and unloading should only be on bus stations!) where only certain bus numbers, depending on the route, will stop. You also need not necessarily prepare coins as you can use EZ-link for bus and train fare payments. However during late nights, when buses and trains are no longer available, one is just forced to take a cab. But note that midnight surcharge is 50% of the metered fare, while 35% surcharge during peak hours (7:00AM to 9:30AM, 5:00PM to 8:00PM).

Its people consists of a mixture of races: Chinese, Indian, and Malay. Almost everyone can speak English so there is no language barrier. One problem I had though is the "not-so-appealing" scent which I can hardly get used to, especially inside trains. It is probably due to the food that they eat, mainly curry and spicy food (also Chicken rice everywhere!). Different races, different cultures, different religions. Few of the major religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. I was able to visit their temples in China Town and also witness an Indian festivity (Thaipusam) in Little India. But regardless of the race, I find that people in Singapore are disciplined yet seem to be always in a hurry or busy. Maybe that's how they value time, unlike our what's so-called "Filipino time". Discipline may also be due to the strict implementation of their laws. Every disobedience has a fine, and so they say "Singapore is a FINE city". Haha. The taxi driver also informed us that despite the organized transportation system, there are still, at an average, 100 car accidents in a day. And this is mainly caused by frustrations of the people on so many laws being imposed.

Singapore may have been a progressive city-state, but it lacks natural resources which our country is blessed with. The only beach I saw was the Siloso Beach which is even man-made (I dare not swim.. hehe). Despite that, Singapore encourages tourists through different attractions and landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands Skypark, Universal Studios, and many more. :)

May 22, '11 11:35 PM | Multiply