When I was seventeen, it was a very good year…
So it was. Halfway through it, I zipped off to Singapore to make it on my own. Its been close to six years, and I’ll say! Its been one helluva ride.
Coupla weeks back I met these guys from India who were here for 3 days on a business trip. Quintessential tourists, in other words complete pains-in-the-neck who make sweeping generalisations and form opinions (that nobody cares about) merely hours after leaving the airport. The sorts that would have nothing to say about London except “ITS SO BLOODY EXPENSIVE”. (Well of course its expensive, you didn’t have to go there to figure that one out, Faraday!)
So anyway those opinions really got me thinking.. do I care that Singapore is a small country? or that it isn’t really a democracy? does that affect my life or my luxury? The way I look at it now, its the means to an end. Not the end itself.
Singapore is this teeny tiny little island which endeavours to take in the best of both worlds-East and West. That translates to a very luxurious first world kind of life at an almost- third-world price. And I guess sometimes, we don’t really see how good we have it here.
For one, let’s talk money. The taxation is just plum. Rent-to-income ratio is much much lesser than many developed nations. No substantiation required.
Secondly, I may not be the most well-travelled person in the world but from what I have seen, fine dining is at its tasteful best in Singapore. At a very reasonable price, you can savour the most absolutely exquisite culinary delights from the world over. So whether it is the humongous chilli crab at Lau Pa Sat for a mere 30 odd dollars or the lovely vegetarian fusion cuisine at Original sin at the same price (for one serving of course), there is something here for the gourmet in you and something for the gourmand in you.
Thirdly, for lack of a better idiom, it is quite literally, your window to South East Asia. Singapore has abundant budget airlines plying through it, making it the a haven for you if you have wanderlust. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia are all a blink and a yawn away. I don’t think anyone anywhere else has the luxury of spending alternate weekends in a different country. (Other than the Europeans who can take buses and get to another country…) All you need is a travel buddy and you’re all set to enjoy the rich Asian heritage all around you. Who cares if you can’t travel within Singapore? India is frikking huge and I don’t see nearly enough people taking weekend trips or visiting the far flung corners of the country. In fact I know plenty of people who never even travelled out of their cities unless absolutely required.
Fourthly, Singapore is expat paradise. Something few Asian countries can boast about. Whether you’re Japanese, Indian or American, everything is catered to. Whether you’re looking for poppadums, refried beans, dried seaweed or arborio, you’ll find them all in one aisle or the other. And its not just the supermarkets that are so cosmopolitan.
Fifthly,(if there is such a word) the night life is pretty neat! Given Singapore’s high benchmarks for safety and the availability of cabs right outside clubs to pick up your sorry drunken ass, I say clubbing is way definitely more enjoyable. I, for one, was shocked to find out that a simple bourbon and coke in Bombay costs double what it does in Singapore. And that, my dahlings, is something to think about.
Living an entire life in Singapore is probably unthinkable for many. I guess I am one of those too. And given that I left one country for another implies that I may leave the second for a third. And that probably has more to do with me than with Singapore. If that makes any sense.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that life isn’t peachy for anyone (is it?); so if you really think its worth your while to bitch and moan about a bottle of water costing you 3$, feel free to get out of my face.