The Spotless Lion and the King of Irony

Singapore Travel Blog

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The CBD by night. Pretty, dontcha think?

Singapore's name was, according to my second hand book swap Lonely Planet, originally derived from the Sumatran words for lion and city. If the city is indeed a lion (although in the financial world it's known as one of the Asian Tigers - go figure) then its government is a big rough tongue, licking the fur made up by its four and a half million inhabitants into shape whether they like it or not.

On the surface of things, which is all a tourist here for a few days can expect to witness, the grip of the government on everyday matters means that the place is spotless, utterly spotless. Honestly, it's cleaner than the winner of the "World's Cleanest Whistle Competition 2008." I've never been to a city so well scrubbed before; it's absolutely extraordinary.

Everton players adorning the side of my hotel - The Seventh Storey. It's always comforting to know that you are sleeping close to Andy Johnson's elongated groin.
And d'you know what? As a lad who was brought up never to drop litter - I applaud them for it. Yes, the streets and subways of Singapore gleam, reflecting the ultra-modern Asian city state that it is. I don't quite know how they've done it, there's certainly no sign of a hefty police presence on the streets, but the 200 dollar fine signs seem to be working wonderfully well.   

Is Singapore the most intoxicating, wonderous, exotic city on earth? No. Neither is it the cheapest. But it is safe, clean and pleasant to meander around for a day or two, even at night. I came here not expecting a great deal, but I enjoyed my time negotiating the centre and Little India etc. There's also plenty of scope for scoffing - the grub served up at the ubiquitous food courts and hawker stalls is relatively cheap, plentiful and wildly diverse.

Raffles Hotel. Very posh. Didn't have a Singapore Sling, slunk back to my budget digs for a cheap Chang instead.
 You can have a few beers should you wish at the British ex-pat bastions along Boat Quay or elsewhere. Oh but be warned that, if it's your first taste of Asia's climate, the place is hotter than Shakira and stickier than a fairground toffee apple.              

In other, more personal, news I made my first confirmed sighting of the sanatorial delight that is the Asian squatter toilet. This is basically a plumbed in porcelain basin set into the floor over which you must squat to conduct any bog business. For now I was able to avoid the ordeal of losing my squatter virginity.

The obligatory coy carp money shot.
However, straining thigh muscles surely await in many Asian locations where, unlike Singapore, the western alternative is not readily available. Can't wait. 

I discovered something even more unexpected down by the river. It was my last night in the city and I decided to try my luck snapping a few of the impressive CBD sky scrapers lining the river all lit up and looking mighty fine. Mission accomplished I wandered over to Boat Quay, a riverside tourist leisure street. I swiftly set my internal sat nav to "Dodge," attempting to avoid the restaurant touts luring in moneyed foreigners with the promise of fresh crab and other delicacies.

Then, to my dismay, my ear drums began to quiver to the sound of karaoke.

A car speeding through an intersection at night. So arty it makes me want to vomit.
Not just any singer, not just any song. It was caterwauling that any moggie would be ashamed to call their own. It was a song that should have been banned by human rights tribunal years ago. Oh yes - some misguided bloke was wailing out, in a voice more shocking than Ronaldo's recent ladyboy indiscretions: "You say it beeeeesst, when you say nothing at aaaaAAAAAaaaAAAAllll!!!" The world, I thought to myself, is the king of irony. And I walked on just that little bit faster.  



Salad's Singapore Shopping Guide       

Do you like shopping in seemingly endless, plush, shiny malls? Then go to Orchard Road - it's great - hurray!

Do you hate shopping in seemingly endless, plush, shiny malls? Then don't go to Orchard Road - it's rubbish - boo!     

Do you like to think you're gonna grab an electronic gizmo at a bargain price? Go to Hong Kong instead - it's cheaper apparently.


Not put off? Then try Sim Lim tower but always haggle like your life depends on it. You can also get some tax back (VAT, GST or equivalent) at the airport if you get a receipt.

Salad's Travel Tips: Like a minimum wage acned teenager slaving in your local supermarket, I'm always happy to help!

mybu84 says:
well, if they could buy you for the pig's organ soup, i am not surprised you thought Little India was clean;):):)
Posted on: May 11, 2008
Saladin79 says:
Yeah, you're right, it's filthy - it's just that the Singaporean government gave me 3,000 dollars and a year's supply of pig's organ soup to keep quiet about it.
Posted on: May 08, 2008
mybu84 says:
you know, we stayed in Little India, and unlike the rest of the city it was DIRTY!!!
maybe they have done something to it since october 2007, but i doubt it.
Posted on: May 02, 2008
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The CBD by night. Pretty, dontcha …
The CBD by night. Pretty, dontcha…
Everton players adorning the side …
Everton players adorning the side…
Raffles Hotel. Very posh. Didnt h…
Raffles Hotel. Very posh. Didn't …
The obligatory coy carp money shot.
The obligatory coy carp money shot.
A car speeding through an intersec…
A car speeding through an interse…