“Poverty is the mother of crime.”
- Marcus Aurelius
July 10, 2012
Kerobokan, Bali, Indonesia
I got back from Singapore last night where I spent good 4 days and here are my thoughts on this city/country. First of all while in Singapore, I couldn’t stop comparing it to Hong Kong. Ever since arriving to airport I saw that everything works. I mean everything. Immigration process is ifficient, lines are long but fast. All lines. Taxi, bus, MRT, shops, restaurants, etc, etc, etc. Diverse population of different races, good roads, preserved colonial and new architecture, clean streets and everything is flowing in a perfect order. I saw more Lamborginis, Ferraries, Porsches and other exotic cars in 4 days than I saw in Dubai during my 2 months stay. It really fascinated me. Especially living in Asia for the last 3 years, it looked way too clean. Too clean to be true. I was extremely pleased and excited.
On my last day of stay I went to casino. I was surprised when I had to have a passport to enter casino. Apparently foreigners may enter for free, but Singaporeans have to pay 100SD to enter. Immigration stamps were also carefully examined before entrance was allowed. The same happened during hotel check in. I also noticed ridiculous amount of forbidden signs all over city. Penalties are high and people obey. Smoking in non designated area 1000SD, Littering 500SD etc. I started to feel less and less comfortable around. It started to look less and less appealing and more and more artificial at the same time. In Hong Kong I feel much better because amount of cultures and reasonable policing and more affordable choices than in Singapore. Singapore really reminded me one of SciFi books I read when I was a kid. A perfect order society. Society made of rules and law enforcement. Forceful comfort and harmony. I have to say that the system works, unlike in States where all policing and rules are in place it’s still in shit and barely anything works regardless of enforcement power. But I didn’t feel free at all. Safe, comfortable, chic but not free. Singapore is also more expensive than Hong Kong and it’s much harder to find cheaper alternative such as accomodation, food, hang out place. Beer Prices in restaurants around 10USD, street, 5USD and the same for any type of food. Burger king breakfast 10$. I prefer Hong Kong because of it’s unorganized dirty wet markets found in Kowloon, clean and vibrant downtown, hills, people and crowd. You may eat as cheap as a dollar or as expensive as you wish. There’s room for all. Looks like it’s real. Singapore is artificial. That said, it is definitely a great to build a business, meet new people, get things done. But be prepared to pay… everywhere…. every time.