Singapore (S.E Asia trip part 3 of 3)
Singapore Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
2nd December 2009
Current Mood: Bored
Category: Travel and Places
Hopping on a bus at Singapore airport I was fortunate enough to meet a little old Chinese lady who, getting off at the same stop as I was, offered to walk me most of the way I was going.
Waking up in the Prince of Wales hostel the next day I was immediately checking myself out, for I had an adventure to go on. Back in Jakarta I met a girl who told me about an island with beach off mainland Malaysia, a beach that was almost deserted. So on a whim I decided to take the 130km trip into mainland Malaysia looking for a port to take me to this island with The Beach. Hmmm, guy meets stranger who tells him about a beach, so he decides on a whim to go to The Beach.
...and generally it sucks.
I’m sorry Singaporeans, but it does! The place is a lot like a major European city, which when you’ve travelled how many thousands of miles to South East Asia you can’t help but feel a little ripped off. Take the famous Orchard Road for example, man that road is wank. Everyone kept banging on about ‘Orchard Road this Orchard Road that!’ but unless you happen to be the girlfriend of a professional footballer you ain’t going to have much fun there - it’s fucking expensive. Orchard Road is known for its malls and boy does the road have a lot of them, so here’s Del’s Advice On Orchard Road Sightseeing: Pick a mall, any mall, see it and tah-dah! You have now seen the entire Orchard Road, for each mall is an exact replica of the one next door. So much so that I thought this can’t be right, something else must be going on here and I was right, these shops are all fronts for other businesses not quite approved of by the general public, if the general public happened to find out about it that is. Personally it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out, although it would be nice as it would mean I’m now in the same category as Einstein.
Then there’s the traffic system in Singapore. First impression was that it was a relief to have organised roads, whereupon coming from Jakarta if you wish to step across the road you got to step in front of car that looked like it had driven off the movie set of Mad Max. So a nice organised system where you wait for the red traffic light man to go green was familiar to me what with coming from Britain. So I wait for the flashing red man to turn green. And I wait. And I continue waiting knowing I risk a heavy fine if I get caught attempting to cross the road whilst the man is flashing red. And he continues to flash red, with the roads empty of cars mind you. Soon I swear the red man has a big smile on his face whilst flashing his middle finger at me. Christmas trees get turned on more than that green dude. Fuck you I thought, and soon all road rules of Singapore meant nothing to me.
It was here where I met the wonderfully cool TB’er Kong. He showed me around a bit of his town and told me about some fancy foods of the country. One in particular cost a bloody fortune, like a few hundred bucks, and was made by a bird that regurgitated its stomach insides up. Apparently this stuff is good for you and you can pay extra if the bird happened to have a hemorrhage and coughed up some blood. My business mind started going into overdrive here: You know why it is we don’t drink rats milk? It’s cos their titties are unable to provide sufficient supply for humans to consume. And here we have a bird with an equally small stomach, nowhere near as large as say, a human. Ergo if I walk down London’s Camden High Street at 4am on a Saturday morning I’m bound to come across plenty of regurgitated contents on the pavement, with not only speckles of blood but the added bonus of donor kebab meat and partially chewed sausages. 2 companies in Singapore have already expressed interest.
The Chinese Heritage Centre you’ll find in Chinatown, obviously, whereupon you can discover the immigration history of the Chinese back when their country wasn’t doing too well back in the 50’s or something. So you got China right? From what I understand imagine a massive poverty explosion in the centre of China with all the people getting blown away to the surrounding countries. Singapore is one of those countries ��" if you ignore the big mass of land called Malaysia between it. So it’s now sometime a long time ago and there’s shed loads of poor Chinese migrant workers arriving to find their fortune. They didn’t immediately find it, but they found a lot of opium. Ironic really cos in today’s society the opium would be the fortune. First the Chinese used the opium as a pain relief against their hardworking bodies, an excuse I’ve since memorised for next time I face a judge, before eventually going and getting addicted to it. Then came the brothels, an area full of men will attract that sort of thing. And there were bad ass gangs too. So all in all we were looking at an Asian version of an 1980’s Brixton. Did you know that the Chinese use light, noise and the colour red to drive away evil influences? Neither did I though I’m a little sceptical about the claim, so I’ve posted a red stick of dynamite with a note saying ‘light me’ to several ex-girlfriends of mine. Red, light, noise, it’s all there. I’ll let you know if it was successful when the police catch up with me. Being poor the Chinese couldn’t afford to see a doctor when they were ill, so what they would do is clean a cockroach, pour boiling water over it and then swallow the nasty bugger. No wonder they needed to see a fucking doctor with practices like that. There was also big noise pollution in Chinatown too, often caused by Professional Mourners. You read me right there, Professional Mourners. What would happen is someone would die from the many deaths available in Chinatown and the unemployed people would pull on their best mourning suit, go out and cry loudly at the funeral. I’ve taken the business cards of several unemployed women and asked them to cry hysterically at my funeral when I pop my clogs, no harm in looking popular with women I say! Gambling was also big, with one particular dude having such an addiction he chops off his little finger in attempt to break his habit. Rumour has it he bet it wouldn’t work. Then Singapore decided to clean up the mess by banning opium dens, gambling dens, then the brothels were next and since then Singapore have been banning just about anything they can think of, chewing gum ,firecrackers, obscenity… in fact Singapore have requested help from Japan by asking them to invent some new shit just so they can go ban that an all!
Also in Chinatown you’ll discover the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum that displays Buddha’s tooth which had me asking many questions to myself, most noticeably ‘What the fuck? Does it actually have Buddha’s tooth? And who was Bhudda anyway?’ Personally I can’t understand the attraction to some fellas molar yet this Buddha dude’s grinding nasher is dead popular with visitors and locals, so I went to see it didn’t I? Staring at the Relic Stupa I was to discover that it was made from 420kg of donated gold. Donated gold! Currently I am awaiting council planning permission to build my own temple next to Buddha’s and ask for donations of unwanted copper, that stuff shifts for a fortune back home. After putting some holy guys in a state of comatose by taking my trainers off I entered the room that held the world’s most famous tooth. And there it was, behind some glass in front of me. Somewhere. Honestly, I couldn’t make it out surrounded by all the gold decorations. You could whack a prehistoric sabre tooth canine in there and still not see it, never mind someone’s puny leaf munching molar. I’m assuming this Buddha guy was a vegetarian, he sounds like a vegetarian. So alas, if it wasn’t for the free drinking water in the temple my trip here would have been a complete blow out. Naturally before leaving I found and stole the Buddha’s molar and have now entered negotiations with a senior tooth fairy for its sale, the latest offer being 1 million Singapore Dollars and share options in Petronas.
Nearby Chinatown is the Thian Hock Keng Temple which has the proud boast of being built in 1839 without the use of any nails. Maybe they used chopsticks? Anywho I was a little sceptical about the buildings sturdiness and called up my mate the Big Bad Wolf and asked him if he fancied another challenge after his little piggy conquest. Forget having to huff and puff, Big Bad Wolf only had to aim a fart in the direction of the temple and we saw the whole thing collapse. Lesson of the day Singapore, if you want to become westernised then use some nails
The park in the middle of Singapore is home to the Battle box, which was the base where Lt General Perivale of the British Army made the decision to surrender to the Japanese invasion in 1942. On the walls of the waiting room there’s all these newspaper clips of what was going on at the time, with one article inparticular catching my bloodshot eye. It told of a story of a ventriloquist who threw his voice to lure enemy snipers to a location whereupon they were snatched and forced to marry a soldiers hideously ugly sister. Nah not really, they were shot. But a ventriloquist in the war! And wasted on sounding out a couple on snipers too, man it’s not how I would have gone about things. Firstly sneak the little stage act up near Hitler and just as the Jew hater opens is gob to make a speech have the ventriloquist take over:
Daily Mail December 3rd 1941
Hitler brings end to war with somewhat unusual methods
The Daily Mail is please to report that Hitler officially and unexpectantly announced an end to the war whilst giving a televised public speed yesterday morning. Politian’s close to Hitler aka The Fuhrer said he was in a relaxed and usual mood before his speech that followed…
‘’Loyal people of Germany! Having seen our proud nations population become diminished due to terrible loses in this evil war, I hereby pass my final rule of regulation P116 that women’s pregnancy shall be reduced from the standard 9 months to a new cycle of 6 months. Along with the reintroduction of Jews to society we shall see this country’s economy thrive once more. I now step down as official leader of this twisted party as I have to attend London to answer some questions about camping. But before I leave I ask you kindly to join me in a sing song….. ‘Ooooooh, you make we want to shout, put your hands up! Shout! Put your hands up! Shout! C’mon now, Shout! C’mon Now, Shout! Shout! Shout…..!
Hmmm, I’m not quite sure what just happened to me there. But anyway, on with the memoirs…
So we’re in the Battle Box which is a communications base borrowed into the grounds of the park. Apparently it used to be bloody hot in there and the Brits had the good idea of cutting away the top of the doors for ventilation. Good idea? I thought it was a great idea and a few hours later I was kicked out of the hostel for sawing away all their doors. To make the surrender official Perivale took a stroll to Fort Siloso, found on the island of Sentosa.
Sentosa is an island where Singaporeans go to get away from the city - well it’s either that or leave the country cos the city takes up the land in the country. On the island there’s some bird parks, a crappy beach, a log flume of some sort and a whole bunch of other things that held little interest to me. Much like the mainland then. It does however have the before mentioned Fort Silo, which was pretty much useless as a fort when the clever Japanese invaded from the land when the guns fort were pointed out to sea. By the time the soldiers would have turned the guns around the internet would have been invented.
Singapore is very famous for one particular area of something - food. And it’s true, which is why I ain’t going to bang on and on cos I’d only be repeating the obvious. My biggest compliment of the place was that I found myself a little pissed of when my stomach was full. There were two reasons for this, the first being the grub is so great you wish you could just keep eating and eating. The second reason being there’s bugger all else to do in Singapore.
Thankfully it was eventually time to bugger off. 2 weeks ago I was in a Western culture; 1 week ago I was in an Eastern culture. Now I wasn’t sure where I was, it was like a scientific sci-fi movie where a scientist creates a messed up hybrid animal. The Fly comes to mind here. This place is a clash of cultures with a proper imbalance coming as a result. Whilst the west has shopping malls, Singapore has gone over the top with theirs. Alcohol was introduced, but in respect for the eastern culture the price is out of proportion. Of course you can’t deny this is a testimony to how well Singapore has thrived as a world economy, particularly when compared to its South East Asian cousins, yet I couldn’t help feel the place had a massive lack of character. There was nothing here that yelled at me ‘This is Singapore!’ and ultimately I was eager for the date of my flight to Australia, and when it did I never looked back. No no wait, as I entered the airport a hot looking air stewardess walked past me, then I looked back. 8 out of 10, very nice, will probably come back to this place…