Monday, April 15, 2013

Paul's Country Review: Singapore

Ahh the city-state of Singapore (Singapura), roughly translated as Sailor's Fist although scholars maintain that the true meaning has been lost through the forgetfulness of time. Christine is trying to tell me that it means Lion City, but that doesn't sound right at all - agree to disagree! Anyway, Singapore is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime and it should be mandatory training for New Yorkers to go just so they can learn how to use stairs, escalators, hallways, getting on and off of the subway and other basic, common sense type things. I was absolutely amazed at how organized everything was, how orderly and well-mannered its people were and how extremely clean it was everywhere. Maybe there can be some kind of foreign exchange program or something - I don't' know.

Where's the homeless guy peeing on the floor? Religious Zealots passing out pamphlets?

Notice the barricade that is between you and the tracks

One thing I noticed about Singapore and its people (Singaporeans? Doesn't matter) are the love of discotheques (I know you like that spelling) and computer gaming/Internet lounges. Most of the time they are conveniently located in one building. Christine and I saw at least 4 clubs, 8 of these gaming rooms, a McDonald's, a KFC and a 7-11 in one building. It kind of makes sense if you think about it though. You and some friends want to go out one night. You start at the Internet lounge to slay some dragons or shoot aliens. When you've had your fill of games you head to McD's or KFC for a well deserved meal. After that, some drinks and dancing till late in the night. Then you hit up 7-11 for the late night snack before getting on the convenient, easily understood subway for home. The next morning throw on some sweatpants and slippers and head back to the Internet lounge to finish that game you were playing, forgetting to comb your hair or brushing your teeth, leaving the game room only to use the toilet or to get something at McDonald's and stay there for (what I imagine) probably 12-15 hours - like the two young gentlemen we saw one morning.

The rest of the town is filled with fine dining, shopping, clubs and bars, museums and parks and some cool ethnic communities like Chinatown and Little India that kept us busy during our short time there.

It's a very cool city

Unfortunately, time did not allow us to explore Singapore's seedier underground. Apparently, held within the temple of the Merlion is a den of thieves and cutthroats. They deal mostly in the Black Market, but will not exclude themselves from sports gambling of an extremely dangerous sort. Maybe you're interested in a deadly game of Thumper, participants stand around a hollowed out tree thumping the ground with staffs. What this does is agitate some kind of deadly beast that resides in the tree. The participants each take a turn putting their arm into one of the many holes (I am assuming these holes were once branches that have been removed) and not getting stung by the beast within. If someone is stung by the beast they can expect a slow and painful death. First excruciating pain, followed by madness, hemorrhaging and finally death. If they so choose, the old, blind man presiding over the game can make it quick and painless. The game continues until there is only one person standing - to the victor go the spoils!

It's like the Thundercats Lair!

Some of you may be questioning the validity of this tale as we didn't actually see any of this, but I got it from Sammi a 7 year old street urchin who is a two time champion of Thumper. I asked how this evil den could be found inside of a family water park, he simply replied "Its the last place they'd expect". So wise Sammi. I helped him out by buying a bootleg copy of Flash Gordon.

Even the airport is cool!


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