Tuesday, October 07, 2008

World Tour: In the Land of Squeaky Clean

After almost a week on island beaches, I decided to make the short hop to Singapore to see a friend from ETH who's now working there.

I imagined Singapore to be squeaky-clean, if somewhat sterile and commercial, and it was. The places I went to were lined with malls selling fashion, jewelery, and other useless items. Kind of like what you'd find in an airport.

This has advantages as well: At 31°C/88°F and 100% humidity, walking around outside can be a pain. My aforementioned friend has thus mapped out his walk from work to home such that he maximizes the distance covered inside air conditioned malls. Judging from the architecture, Singapore had its brightest days in the 70s and 80s, when most of the skyline seems to have been built. There is some new construction, such as the casino they dubbed "integrated resort", but downtown lacks any adventures in architecture.

Singapore clearly wants to be all business, at the expense of fun: No chewing gum, no spitting, and no pornography. Alcohol is expensive, and restaurants seem to close at 10 pm. The Internet is censored I couldn't even access YC Hacker News.

On the plus side, the place in an oasis of wealth, cleanliness, and safety. People seem educated and cosmopolitan. As I was geting into a taxi heading back to the airport, I had the urge to negotiate the price - a Pawlowian reflex from weeks of India and Thailand. But then I realized I was in Singapore


ZHou Wenhan said...

Hi Gabor,

Welcome to Singapore:). It's a small dense city so I guess it ain't much fun here. I m bored during the weekends.I lived in Silicon Valley for a year and much prefer the valley.

Anyway, I linked to your blog post on my site neardeals.com(http://neardeals.com/blogs/98). It's my final year project at University and I am geotagging stories so people can see whats happening around them. Do take a quick look and let me know of any feedback you have.

I will be interested to learn about your new startup when it starts:)

Anonymous said...

You must be in the wrong part of Singapore to feel the way you did about the country. There are a lot of things to do in Singapore. In fact, there are more places to eat after 10pm in Singapore than here in silicon valley. And the food is WAY better in Singapore.

Zhou Wenhan said...

welll....there isn't many parts of singapore quantity wise. I guess I am more outdoors and prefer the nature.

Can't agree that food here is better though. It is more Asian with deeper variety but SV is more global. Breath vs Depth i guess.

Thailand Travel Man said...

Never been to Singapore, but I understand it is most modern and most prosperous country in the region. When I return to Southeast Asia cum mid-November, I will be going to Malaysia for the first time Have you been there Gabor?
See me at Twitter

Anonymous said...

I've spent the last year in Singapore, and I have yet to find a site that's censored. HN loads fine for me.

It seems to me you arrived with preconceived notions, and you did not venture far from the commercial centre.