Jet-lagged, sore, exhausted, and beat after one day in Singapore. After my friend and I settled down at Temple Street Inn at Chinatown or 牛车水, we explored and covered a lot of grounds for the first day of being here. Tons of shopping malls, multitudes of small food vendors with endless amount of selections, and thats just the beginning. There are tons of people here, the idiom “people mountain people ocean, 人山人海” best describes the sea of black heads in the Chinatown district flooding the streets. This is probably due to rush of people participating in the Chinese New Years festival.
I heard from my friends that Singapore’s airport was probably the best airport on the face of the planet. Initially upon entering Singapore, I didn’t really share in their collective praises, however, when I returned to depart for Malaysia, I realized how savvy, efficient, and hospitable this airport and it’s customs are. Firstly, the design and layout of the airport, with it’s festive decor and colors (Chinese New Years) was quite eye-candy for me. Secondly, in terms of efficiency, all the procedures from checking in our baggage to security protocols were done in a fast and painless fashion. Heck, the security trays were so cleverly devised and compartmentalized that it was almost enjoyable getting our personal carry-ons checked!
An educated guess says that Singapore is close to the equator, therefore, as you may already conceive, Singapore is quite warm (at best in the winter season) and humid all the time. The climate is probably comparable to the weather in Taiwan.
I was able to attend a local church called New Creation Church. This is my first time participating in a corporate worship service with the attendance number in the thousands (approx. 5,000). It was quite a sight and an incredible experience. It was truly encouraging to see a diverse group of people (Malay, Indian, Chinese, etc) come together to worship Christ. A glimpse of eternity perhaps.
Be Bored No More
One cannot possibly compose a sentence or a phrase to convene one’s boredom or lack of activities in Singapore. This expression simply does not exist. Here are a couple reasons why:
Shopping Malls: To my shock, all MRT stations are accompanied by an impressive and colossal shopping mall (the U.S malls got nothing on an average mall in Singapore). One is never away from indulging in one’s shopping pleasures, nor is one’s appetite ever prolong and deprived for more than a couple minutes due to masses of food stalls, street vendors, and restaurants concentrated around the MRT stops borders. Comforting to others, for me it was quite a phenomenon to soak up with my senses. (List of districts and tourist sites visited: Clarke Quay, Little India, Marine Bay, Merlion Park, Chinatown)
Tourist Attractions: Sentosa is arguably the epicenter for entertainment in Singapore, inside it’s borders lies Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, and many more. However, aside from these priced activities, there are quite a large amount of free activities one can participate in such as the Art Science Museum, Garden by the Bay, Chinese Garden, etc.
Arcades-Cyber Cafes: In almost every mall there are sections for arcades and internet cafes. Aside from these, other activities such as pool or board game stores are also available to quench your boredom.
Food: I am not endorsing eating to satisfy your boredom, but add on group of interesting friends and the delicious food and enriching conversations will be sure to dissolve your boredom. As for the selection of food, in every food court there exists an abundant selection of cuisines, albeit mostly Asian, but there will be so much to choose from that boredom wouldn’t be the issue, instead, the frustration to decide what to devour. ( Lists of cuisines: Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Korean, American, etc. Lists of eats: Ice kacang, Laksha, Kaya toast, etc.)
Love driving? Well, Singapore is actually quite a nice place to “vroom vroom vroom” if you are willing to pay the price tag. Based on my Singaporean friend, the very act of wanting / needing to drive will make your butt cringe since one must pay about one-fifth to one-quarter of a million U.S. dollars ($100,000 to obtain a driving licenses and $100,000 to $150,000 to buy the car, assuming its a economy brand like Toyota, Honda, etc, and not a fancy BMW) to actualize this desire and satisfy your hot foot.
I can’t imagine how fierce the competition is here in Singapore. With its dense population ( no research guess, 5 million people?) in an area about 30 miles, everyone is trying to survive and make a living. I admire and respect the individuals who work long hours in labour intensive trades and businesses to support themselves and most-likely their families also. Moreover, I was blessed and privileged to accompany a friend to visit his family. One particular visit involved seeing a relative in an elderly home, and to quote my friend, “it’s the kind of stuff that softens your heart”. Yes, indeed. This visit invoked personal insecurities and fears common to humanity: unstoppable entropy, incompetency, abandonment, loneliness, and the inescapable reality of death. This gives more reason to strongly consider and ponder life’s important questions such as: Does God exists? Is there an afterlife? I respond in the affirmative to both these questions due to the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Yes, I do believe. It’s reasonable faith.
*These experiences were made possible by the Gilman Scholarship