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Singapore, the clean, concrete jungle

Just a dot on the world map, Singapore attracts not only business and tourist visitors but also the best skilled manpower from every country, especially India and China

Published: 27th December 2012 10:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th December 2012 10:56 AM   |  A+A-

Singapore

In the aftermath of my experiences in Hong Kong, my frequent sojourn to Singapore has been a pleasant and knowledgeable memory whenever I have visited this small city state.

The country is so tiny that it is just more that 700 square kilometres and that too because of reclamation of land over a period of 50 years.

Just a dot on the world map, Singapore attracts not only business and tourist visitors but also the best skilled manpower from every country especially India and China.

Considered as the easiest place in the world to do business, it is also the easiest destinations to visit with social visit visas available at the airport for 22 days. Right from your arrival to departure from this country, one does not face any kind of problem with the friendly, helpful airport personnel to the courteous people at hotels, banks, malls, parks, public transport and every other place guiding you with a cheerful countenance.

Conversing with the local people, who are a huge mix of Chinese and rest Malayans, Indians and Eurasians, is not such a problem as they speak English with an understandable accent.

Most of them speak English even at home even if their native tongue is Mandarin, Malayan or Tamil. Forty per cent of the people are foreign residents including students, skilled and unskilled workers working in the construction and service sector.

These migrants are mainly from mainland China, Malaysia and India but with permanent residency status.

The one thing that hits you while going round the city is the cleanliness specially for a visitor from India who has to bear dirtiness of every kind back home.

Heavy fines are imposed for littering and spitting and violating rules. The footpaths, the cobbled pavements and the wide concrete roads with orderly and disciplined traffic is another welcome feature.

Even travel across the city is pretty easy even for a tourist as one can easily hire a public taxi or even utilize the public buses that are easy to follow and the routes are clearly marked on the bus stands.

Every form of public transportation be it by buses, trains, taxies or cycles is encouraged in this small island and ownership of cars discouraged with only a few possessing it to keep the place clean and emission free. In fact, public taxis are pretty cheap compared to other Asian cities and one can easily use them to go across the island as it can be traversed in just two hours.

Laced with glass and steel structures of every corporate company in the world, Singapore is a concrete jungle with hardly any greenery.

The Financial District is littered with structures housing American, British, German, Japanese, Chinese and Indian companies that juts out to the skyline of the country like a colossus. In its zeal to be the business and trading destination of the world, the country has decimated its primary rain forests totally.

Less than five per cent of the country is reserved for forests which can be found only in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Faced with land scarcity, most Singapore residents are forced to live in government built accommodation in high rise buildings. Every four out of five residents stay in these subsidized apartments that are as big as four roomed flats or condominiums.

Well maintained with all facilities these residencies are nearby public swimming pools, outdoor and indoor sports complexes and are comparable to luxury apartments owned by Singapore's many a millionaire.

People from China, Malaysia and India have made their homes here since a long time and this is visible in setting up of different colonies like the China Town and the Little India.

Being a market based economy and the largest exporter and importer of goods, Singapore is an important shopping as well as a tourist destination in this part of Asia.

The city of lions as it is known, Singapore's national symbol being lions can be seen in various forms across the city. Be it airport, mall or hotel, the entry to these places are decorated by two lions standing on either side.

But the most famous tourist attraction is the Merlion, the half lion and half fish statue next to the river in the financial district. People say that a merlion was sighted at the very spot many years back. Another place to visit is the Boat Quay as from here the skyline of the city is very beautiful.

Abounding with hotels, restaurants and pubs, one can relax in the outdoor environs, relaxing with a drink and soaking in the atmosphere that is filled with hundreds of colourfully lit boats swaying in the gentle waters.

 

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