What more to Singapore...

Singapore Travel Blog

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... than eat, drink and shop?

Well, I admit I did those three things pretty well. Apart from hawker food and black pepper crab, my dad and I had a very nice Penang Buffet experience in Jurong. The restaurant was a little out of the way, but we were there with some friends of my dad's and it was a popular place. There was make-your-own assam laksa and hokkien mee, stingray curry, beef rendang, make-your-own ice kacang, chendol and chinese cakes and much more. I tried 'century egg' which is fermented egg. The white of the egg goes a semi-translucent green-black colour and has the consistency of hard jelly. It tasted like egg but not like egg and the piece I had was more than enough. (People generally eat it with other things, like porridge, but I thought I should try it as is...). The assam laksa was great and I went back for more (assam is clear, sour soup, as opposed to coconut-curry laksa; my mum has always made the assam style and I never really used to like it, but look what happens when you grow up!).

My drinking experience was courtesty of my big brother. He took me to Bar None one night, which is off Orchard Rd. It costs $20/25 to get in (cheaper for girls, and it includes one drink) and there's apparently an age restriction: only men over 28 and women over 21 are allowed in, although neither of us were asked to prove our age (I'm 22 and my brother is 9 years older). There was a live band who were pretty good, and played covers - a mixture of pop songs and older classics. In between, commercial dance music would play and there was serious overuse of the strobe light. We had long island ice teas all night which cost around $20: not cheap, but at least they were good and strong! I was curious about the supposed age restriction and the expensive drinks - to me, it seems to create a place where rich, older guys can pick up young girls. Hmm. We stayed for a couple of hours but called it a night after 1am, neither of us up for a big one (and clubbing with my brother is a strange idea in itself).

Now, anyone who's been to Singapore knows it's the place to go shopping. Shopping centres are everywhere, and new ones are being built every day... if you don't let this blatant capitalism get to you, and you have some money to spend, then Orchard Rd is a good place to start. It's lined with shopping malls that cater to different types - brand names, funky one-off designs, department stores and everything in between. I ended up with more money than what I came with, thanks to the goodwill of relatives I haven't seen for ages, so I did my bit of trawling through stores.

Okay, I lie. I did do one proper cultural thing while I was in Singapore - I visited the art museum. I believe my motivation was guilt, because I wasn't really in the mood to look at art, but I'm glad I went. The museum charges for exhibition entry: there were 3 exhibitions and I wasn't sure how long I'd last, so I chose one called "All the Best" which featured some artworks collected by a German body. As I find with most contemporary art, there were some really great, interesting, vivid, thought-provoking, intriguing, breath-taking works.... and there were some really crap ones. I stand by my opinion that some 'artworks' just aren't worthy of artistic criticism, they're that soulless.

Some people might say that Singapore is soulless. I was inclined to think that way before this recent visit. But now I know... (and in retrospective comparison with Malaysia) that it may be more expensive and sterile than other Asian countries, but if the weather wasn't so damn humid it could well be a better place to live in than (gasp) Australia!

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