Monday, August 11, 2008

What is Singapore like?

The best way I can describe it is that it is to ask you to imagine a Florida beach resort: with all the little mini condo/hotel rooms clustered together under the red tile shingled roofs, with covered walkways palm trees lining every street and sidewalk, and bushes of flowering ferns clustered at the roadsides. Now blow it upwards toward the sky about twenty-five more stories, hang clothing out slatted windows on bamboo rods, crank the humidity up about five times what it is in Florida, and you’ll have a superficial view of all of Singapore. Literally.

There are no slums. This is because in Singapore, there are no homeless people. Even buskers (those people who play music on the streets with a plastic cup by their feet) must have a license granted by the state. All of the buildings are painted in colors you see in tropical southern states: white, coral, peach, sea foam green, goldenrod yellow. Each cluster of high rises—owned by and rented to residents by the state—is our equivalent of a community and has its own swimming pool, track, playground, and network of covered walkways.

I must describe these walkways. If you have never stayed at a hotel resort before, there is no way to give you an accurate visual picture of what they look like. Basically, they are narrow, permanent roof fixtures covering all the sidewalks that wind between the high-rise apartment buildings. If I were completely ignorant of the climate here, I would presume they were meant to protect citizens from the rain, but I imagine they are more for protecting people from the blazing hot sun than for anything else. They’re certainly handy when the rain does come, but relief from heat is most essential here.

What I cannot imagine is what happens when a longtime Singaporean resident travels outside his or her country. What a shock it must be to realize that no other country in the world bothers to protect its citizens from the elements!

1 comment:

filiak said...

so it's the ideal commie state. huh.