After several months in countries where pyjamas are casual street wear and face masks are as banal as earrings (I’m looking at you, Indochina) it was a delight to arrive in Singapore and walk among such well-dressed folk.
It felt like the “work chic” and “party dress” pages of a BCBG catalog had sprung to life with thousands of women around me.
See post for a photo gallery.
In As Good as It Gets, Jack Nicholson played an anal, obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon. He was lovable. He had a soul, an undeniable love of pleasures.
Singapore is that kind of city.
Here are our favourite pictures from our week spent there.
Why settle for three square meals a day when you can have five or six?
Only tourists should be allowed to lose their money pointlessly in a casino.
Durian is revolting until you spend money on a good one. Then it’s divine.
And more wisdom from the world’s sweetest-smelling city-state.
Singapore is a trickster, but it doesn’t know it. It makes you think it’s a business city with obsessive-compulsive disorder and no sense of mirth.
What a farce. Singaporeans take their pleasure very seriously. Venture past the tourist trail of Chinatown, the malls of Orchard Rd. and the overpriced cafés of Sentosa Island and you’ll a city contending for a spot among the great capitals of fun.
If you’re there, don’t miss these delights.
Declining food in Singapore is as productive as asking a computer to hurry up. Insisting is just as foolish.
It is how Singaporeans express affection. It is how they honour guests. It is what they know best.
The challenge of the foreigner is to convert frustration into flattery.
A tragicomedy in three acts.
No Chinatown should be this clean.
Singapore’s Chinatown doesn’t even look like a Chinatown. It’s a trendy neighbourhood in the North American West Coast with some noodle joints sprinkled in. Instead of noisy fruit markets, chaotic grocery stores and a glut of no-frills restaurants, you see lines of 19th century houses with matching bright colours.
It’s what you assume would happen if everyone in China developed OCD. Or if they made the collective decision to became gay.
When the initial dazzle with Singapore’s modernity, its cleanliness, and its style subsides, the uncomfortable questions start creeping up.
You are tempted to ask: how is the country so clean if its main ethnic groups – Malay, Chinese and Indian – aren’t exactly famous for their urban tidiness?
You may also wonder: why are there so many Indian men with Chinese women, but not vice-versa?
And those are just the contrasts you see on the surface.