I love it here, but maybe for all the wrong reasons. Singapore in five words is (5) pure unrelenting organisation and efficiency. Everything is set up for convenience and commerce; there’s no corruption, litter, crime, graffiti or drugs but instead a high quality pace of life for business execs and professionals on an island with no natural resources. There’s no unemployment here, no welfare. Everyone and everything has it’s place.
As I sit here, in my new outdoor office, among the palm trees in the thick, moist heat with the condo maintenance men grooming the shrubs, perfecting the already perfect lawns and Anna, my cousin’s live-in help, hanging my freshly laundered lavender scented cloths in the hot breeze, I know I’m in middle-upper class utopia. I can see why my cousin is never going to leave this place.
I love that across the street (that you may only cross once the flashing light as indicated so) there’s a convenience store that sells sushi and international groceries. There’s a massage parlor, video store and hairdressers. A couple hundred meters down there’s an oriental food court that sells freshly squeezed sour-sop juice and some of the best noodles in Singapore. Parrots and exotic birds squawk across the rainforest terrain.
My nephew showed me the multimedia presentation he put together for the parents teacher day at school. To teach them critical and advanced thinking, they give students responsibility over their learning and deductive reasoning. My nephew is ten. Occasionally we read the same books. This is the type of caliber that is prevalent in Singapore.
At Changi airport there were no queues and the currency exchange was placed exactly where it should be – within immediate sight and walking distance, where the teller offered me a Sim card, something that was first on my list of things to get, and she set it up for me. It was her job to make it as easy as possible and make sure Singapore visitors are connected and prepared for their high-tech stay. I received free merchandise for my purchase (a cloths organiser and neck pillow).
There was a designated line for taxis (however, there was no line of patrons, only a patient row of waiting drivers) and someone to collect my trolly once I was finished with it. It was if they new I would be there, at that exact spot at that exact point in time, like clockwork. It was flawless and the whole thing felt like an obvious flashing light saying, “this is Singapore, were are an elaborate powerhouse and we are the future”.
Next week I’m heading to Malaysia for an eco-projects start up event after Gina introduced me to a like-minded chap at Business Rocks, her fun, informal beer networking event. I am excited for myself. I’m excited about trying out all the different food, meeting the people, understanding the other side of the culture and to be emerging into my new adult high-flying life as an awkward bohemian aspiring writer.