The Sights and Sounds of Singapore
Singapore is a very interesting and vibrant place, and is known as the “City of the lion” which symbolises its courage, strength and excellence particularly in facing challenges. Singapore is a fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian as well as the thousands of business men and women who live there for work, from all over the world.
I was a little apprehensive about going to Singapore purely because of its chequered history and also because of their rather stringent requirements about what is socially acceptable and what is not, and in fact many incur a penalty in the form of a fine if not followed.
In dealing with each of the ethnic groups in Singapore there are specific rules of etiquette to be observed but as a casual tourist you need only embrace some peculiar ones to Singapore. As a business person these intricacies are more paramount
For instance: Chewing gum is banned totally, littering is also a fineable offence as is j-walking and smoking in public. Do not take food or drink onto the MTR (Mass Rapid Transport) – you will be caught and fined. Do not tip. A lot of the other rules are pertinent to each ethnic group and I think that universal courtesy will cover most of these – keep your hands to yourself. Keep relatively covered and be polite and pleasant as you undoubtedly are wherever you go.
In saying all of this however, I really like Singapore and when a deal for flights to Singapore came up while reading the online news on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I jumped at it. Check out this page http://www.flightcentre.
My top 5 picks for Singapore are:
Take the city tour bus
- This helps you to orientate yourself to the city and takes in many iconic sites. What I like about this city bus is that the commentary is done by drama, music and other students predominantly. This means that not only are you getting the history but also some interesting entertainment as well. The tour guide on my sisters’ bus was a wealth of information about not only the local site but about her family and what a typical day in a Singapore family is like. They were also treated to her singing opera as that was what she was training for.
Do some walking tours around Singapore
- This allows you to get lost in a city (so, I can’t read a simple map) and to delve into areas off the beaten track.
Visit a Little India
- This is indeed a microcosm of “big” India. Crowded, noisy, colourful with excellent markets and aggressive stallholders. The food is sensational and cheap.
Eat at Little China town
- This very colourful district is so worth it particularly for the food and atmosphere. We watched as people went up to a street vendor and just pointed at different ingredients, and suddenly a magnificent bowl was produced. We did the same – not sure what everything was but it was sooo good and again ridiculously cheap.
Little Arab town
- See the mosques and listen to the bells calling to prayer amid the hustle and bustle of this quaint little town.
Singapore is much more than this, but I enjoyed its ethnic mix and diversity, its cleanliness and friendliness. Don’t dismiss a cheap flight to discover something new and unexpected.
Photo by adforce1 on Flickr