Adventures in Singapore

Long weekend here in Singapore, so not much happening with the bike at the moment. I’ve been really enjoying singapore, and seek to denounce the myth that it is a boring place! Although, the locals are tough nuts to crack.

Highlights so far:

  • A couple of argentinians and I talked our way into one of the luxury residences at Marina Bay on a very hot Saturday. We thought we were heading to a garden but should have realised it was a roof top pool and spa complete with underwater exercise equipment, water massage beds blah blah. Not sure the almost totaly expat community appreciated the ‘swimming costumes’ we revealed but we sure enjoyed the swim! The over-weight, hairy, but very hospitable indian hedge fund manager in the spa was more than happy to accomodate the Argentinians. Putty in their hands.

  • Star Inn, Little india. Afternoon naan bread, curry and big bottle of Tiger. Snooze, cricket or a bollywood movie. All for $8.
  • Chinatown night markets – randomly spotted Claire MClintock as she walked by. Unbelievably. Not naming names, but someone should have bought that fossil…
  • A couple of frenchies singing Edith Pilaf songs at 3am in the morning after playing drinking games. Entertaining.
  • Beers with Jonathan from Niger talking about Africa and Australia and everything in between.

What I don’t get about Singapore:

  • Clarke Quay. On first impression, its amazing. Then, after a while, it was just wierd. A complete rift existed between the different cultures that were there. I couldn’t really work out what was going on, but suffice to say it was an experience.
  • The economy – how the hell does it work. Obviously the construction industry and the millions of Indians, Malays and bangladeshies and others that work in it are integral but Government stimulus on its own can’t run an economy. The number of shopping centres and junk and consumerism is staggering and ridiculous. A local was telling me that the effective income tax rate is only about 8%, but rent is essentially a tax as all housing and land is owned by the government. Rent is supposed to be expensive but is actually comparable to Sydney. And we haven’t even started on the giovernments foreign asset ownership.

     The imposing Marina Bay Sands from teh rooftop of the Esplanade
    In the shadow of Marina Bay Sands
  • The class structure. The divide between rich and poor is not obvious, I’m assuming the slums are hidden out the back somewhere. But the government at least appears to be concerned about the ppl working here – with lots of information available for workers regarding their work rights. But nevertheless, teh fact is some ppl are working long hours, for little money doing menial jobs whilst others are working in the professional services sector and earning big bucks. Somehow, the place works. I just don’t know how.
Raffles Hotel

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