Home from Home

As promised our second entry will be about Singapore which was my home for the last 2 years and the one for Hazel for a bit longer. You would probably agree that it’s very hard to do any country justice in a few lines of a blog entry. Nevertheless want to share a few impressions from my time here (so it’s Kevin’s view on things).

So what is the island of 5 million people, which only came into existence 47 years ago, all about? Good question. I think one of the great things in Singapore is how on such a small space such a multitude of cultures and religions can live together without any major problems. This mixture for sure also adds a lot of variety in terms of culture (e.g. you see Muslims celebrating Ramadan and a few months later you see Orchard Road decorated for Christmas) and needless to say also in terms of food. One could probably argue that the government with its regulations (such as housing quotas per ethnicity per building) plays its part but besides that I think it’s still pretty great to see the tolerance in terms of culture and religion.

I have already mentioned food but need to expand this section a bit (in the same way food helped to expand my belly ;)). Singapore is one of the best places in the world for food as the above mentioned diversity is reflected in the wide variety of food. From delicious road side Laksa (try Sungei Road Laksa at Kelantan Lane Hawker Centre) to Sushi to Indian Curry to Chicken Rice to Chilli Crab – Singapore just has it all at very reasonable prices (have a look at the pictures). As a consequence I have seldom cooked in the last 2 years. Food and where to get the best of it is therefore also a favourite topic for locals as well as for foreigners living in Singapore.

Besides food the second favourite past-time is shopping. You can literally walk up almost the entire Orchard Road (which is the local equivalent of the Swiss Banhofstrasse) without leaving shopping centres. Perhaps it’s because it’s so hot outside that people like to stay in air-conditioned shopping centres for extended periods and the goods they shop is just a by-product ;).

One thing, which is also noticed by a lot of visitors, is how green Singapore is. Besides various parks there are trees at almost every corner and along the main roads. I would say you need to search for a long time to find another city this big which is as green. The newest addition to Singapore’s greenness is the Gardens-by-the-bay – a 1 billion SGD (780 Million CHF) project. Besides a lush garden with a lot of greenery they built two big glass houses where plants from all over the world are grown and you can even find an artificial waterfall. Definitely worthwhile visiting if you happen to be in Singapore (http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/home.html).

Worthwhile noticing is that the above gardens are completely on reclaimed land which means that a few years at the same place was only water. 20% of its original size or an astonishing 135 km2 in Singapore are reclaimed land. If you are ever in Singapore and happen to walk along beach road and you wonder why the waterfront is actually more than one 1 km away…, land reclamation is the answer.

There would be a lot more to tell about Singapore but I want to keep this entry short and sweet. Hope the pictures give an impression of my home from home for the last two years.

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