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Singapore (24th Jun)
 
  Singapore doesn't sound like a a must-go for nature-seeking backpackers like me. If not for visiting Aileen, I don't think I would be here at all.
 
  Before I come to Singapore, I have the followings (right or wrong) in my common sense database about her:
  1. a small, but beautiful garden city;
  2. you make newspaper headline if you don't flush after using a toilet;
  3. no chewing gums sold in the country;
  4. she runs on democracy but there is almost no opposition in the government;
  5. they speak "Singlish";
  6. the average size of living place is 2-3 times that of Hong Kong.
 
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Singapore is full of expatriates. Holland Village is one of the favorite hang out spots. The building at far is public housing. 
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Another block of public housing.
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Singapore is really a garden city. Almost every inch of her is covered with green.
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Very impressively green.
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First bowl of food in Singapore. I am not sure but I remember it's called something like "Laksa" It's seafood and  noodle in satay sauce. Thick coconut taste. It's probably Malaysian food.    (reader emailed later and told Kam there is no satay sauce in a Laksa. Ok, I will say there is yummy sauce in there then.)
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Orchard Road - the upscale shopping area.
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Orchard Road ..  ..
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The very middle of the upscale shopping area.
  
  Walking the downtown streets is not my kind of activity. Let's get some food:
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Deep fried oil stick stuffed with shrimp. With the touch of sesame, it gets a !
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Chilli crab.  
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After dinner, a slow walk in a nearby park helps digestion. Singapore is the hub of Asia's oil supply. Oil tankers dotted the horizon waiting to pick up or unload their cargo.
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More food. It's "small pot noodle". Very common snake. Don't get mixed up. The noodle is eaten without the soup. The soup is to be drunken without the noodle.  
  
  Only on the second day in Singapore, we run out of idea of where to go. So we go where the tourists go.
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the Clarke Quay - very tourist oriented but we really don't have else where to go.
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Singapore's buildings are always colorful. I heard that it's by law that building exterior  has to be repainted every 5 years.
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walking and watching .. ..
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walking and watching .. ..
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walking and watching .. ..
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Bak Kut Teh ("Meat Bone Tea" in Chinese) is a must-eat in Singapore. But when I see it in person, I find that it's in fact a bowl of meat soup. Not a tea at all.  
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random shot  .. ..
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random shot  .. ..
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walking and watching .. ..
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walking and watching .. ..
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walking and watching .. ..
img_5952.jpg tourists come on, tourists come on, tourists come on .. ..  
  In the business area of town. Lots of office buildings .. .. 
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What's that black corner on the upper right? Kam, it's cheap wide angle lens.  
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Art & reality.
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Random shot. Guess these are average office workers.
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Huge food court in the middle of the office area. They have Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and other food. EAT!
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Subway station
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My subway ride.
  And god forbid, we have not visited the sign of Singapore, the Mermaid Lion! See how casual a tourist I am.  
  
  About culture and society .. .. 
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Singapore ladies are on the average ultra fit. I don't think diet coke has a market here.. ..
  .. .. and Kam, what on earth dose this lady have to do with culture!!??

My guess is that there is plenty of Malaysian lean body genes in Singapore's population.

Here in Singapore, I sense that everything is a cocktail of some other culture.

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In the subway, instructions are written in 4 languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
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This is a painting in the subway that tells the history of Singapore. Early Chinese came here to do hard labor and then settled to become 80% of the population.
 
  After a few days in Singapore. I still haven't gotten my channel tuned in. I still don't know in what language I should start a conversation with when I talk to strangers, even Chinese. And when I see Chinese Singaporean lovers talking to each other in English, which is obviously not their first language, I scratch my head. Why don't they use their first language?
  As it says on T shirts - "Singapore is a FINE city". You get fined S$1,000 for littering (exchange), S$200 (could be more, I can't remember) for running a red, S$100 for not wearing seat belt .. .. and the list runs on. Talking about littering, Singapore is basically a clean city but I do see occasional:
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cigarette butts ..
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coffee cups with ants ..
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and cigarette packs (forget to turn PIC 90 degrees )
and I see quite a few Singaporeans littering in Malaysia.

What do you make of it?

  A few days' observation is just a biased sample for me to draw conclusion on certain aspects of Singapore. Maybe it's just a bad start. Maybe when I get to know her more in the future, I will have different opinions. Let's keep it open.
 
  Food is the part of culture that I like the most. In Singapore, I observe that people like to do things the established way. Despite modernization, the way of preparing food hasn't gotten commercialized much. To wrap up this quick log, let me share with you the best food of the trip.
img_5975.jpgThis is my last supper in Singapore. We have this thing called Hoi Nam ("Sea South", probably means South East Asia) Chicken Rice. There are 3 components to the rice. 1 is the dish of chicken, 2 is a bowl of chicken soup, 3 is a dish of "chicken grease rice". img_5976.jpgRice is perhaps high cholesterol but the taste of chicken grease is deep reaching. The transparent jelly between the skin and the meat makes the skin not stuffy. This jelly is not easy to make. At least I don't remember seeing this jelly in Hong Kong for the past few years. Also, they somehow manage to make even the white meat super tender and soft. Gee, it's a no doubt !
 
  Ok, vacation is over. Back to office and reality.  
 
  Acknowledgement: Thanks to Seb for getting some of my food names and spellings right.

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