Sunday, August 09, 2009

let me count the ways...

i know that i've been likening singapore to disneyland time and again, but i've never really explained what i mean by that. so i've composed a little list of ways in which singapore is exactly like disneyland:

1. it's extremely artificial, tho' well-done artificial.

at the aquarium on sentosa, someone swimming in the tank reminds you of the artificiality.
oh, and that you're on a moving, rolling walkway, tho' that doesn't show in the picture.

this is a little artificial swimming area for children that is ON THE BEACH.
because it's not enough that you can go into the south china sea, RIGHT THERE.

2. it's very safe.

i believe this sign bears no explanation.

3. it's incredibly clean and even sanitized - example, you cannot buy chewing gum in singapore. it's illegal to import it and sell it there. if you have some in your bag when you come in, that's ok, but don't try to sell it to anyone! and for odin's sake, do NOT spit it out on the ground.

these capsules on the singapore flyer are sanitized by a team of cleaners between when one group gets off and the next gets on. it's astonishing to watch. and i was so astonished, i failed to photograph the three guys doing the cleaning. 

4. it's all surface and if you scratch that surface, you find that what's below it is totally artificial (this is kind of a repeat of 1, but it's so marked it bears repeating).

this is a fake tree, made of concrete. of course, a real tree has grown up around it, but the tree trunk in the picture is a well-made fake concrete tree that supports the little bridge over to the point that claims to be the farthest southern point of the asian continent. tho' it's probably a fake little manmade island. and i'm not sure that counts.

5. you can be entertained at every moment if you choose that.

one of the ways we chose to be entertained...the fish-touching tank at the aquarium on sentosa.

sabin touching a little shark.

6. the landscaping is lovely.

in the butterfly garden on sentosa

7. they both have the death penalty (ok, not so sure disneyland has the death penalty, but i did get kicked out once for wearing a bikini top).

i had no picture that went with this, so this is just another gratuitous shot of clarke quay since y'all liked the other one so well.

8. both are climate-controlled.

you can see the umbrella-like roofs which keep in the outdoor airconditioning at clarke quay.
and it's not just misters, it's actual giant air-conditioning units.
i can't get over it!

9. pink dolphins. admittedly, i don't know if disney has any pink dolphins, but it would be kinda disney-esque.

yes, this photo is a bit grainy, i forgot to reset the ISO from inside the aquarium. my bad.

10. there's lots of drama in any performance, whether it's the dolphin show on sentosa island or the disembodied voice when you reach the top of the singapore flyer or the animal show at the night safari and the singapore zoo--they're all over-dramatized.

even the birds were overly dramatic!

three of them hopped onto sabin's hand to get the sweet liquid. she wasn't entirely pleased about that.

the drama was especially evident in the announcers at the various shows we attended--night safari animal show, dolphin show, etc. but there are no pictures that do it justice.

11. it's all about consumerism, baby!

in the vivo mall at harbor front

fancy new ion mall on orchard road next to wisma atria (another mall)

12. there is a shocking lack of awareness of the issues facing the world (global warming, global financial crisis, you get the picture).

and while i think it's undoubtedly an excellent place to be an ex-pat, i don't think i could live there long-term. i'd have to know that it was a specific, pre-defined amount of time, or i'd go crazy. but it is a nice place to visit. there's lots to do and it's clean and safe and the taxis are cheap and the food is great, but we are definitely glad to be home.


Bee said...

I think that air-conditioning the outdoors pretty much says it all. (And how did that dolphin get to be pink?)

So many fantastic photographs here, J. You have provided such a vivid portal for the artificial charms of Singapore!

Laura Trevey said...

LOVE the peacock sign!!

clairedulalune said...

Oh I loved this post and your fantastic photographs! As always making me laugh out loud as well!

will said...

Anything that's "clean and safe" in this day and age is definitely suspect. Dizzyland is an apt comparison - so is the metaphor of Mussolini getting the trains to run on schedule.

Anonymous said...

I have never been to either place but they are definitely great pictures. said...

Outdoor air conditioning? This is my kind of place! But "Beware of Peacocks"? And what's this about no chewing gum? Maybe if they gave the chewing gum to the peacocks, they'd have fewer car attacks.

Unknown said...

Outdoor air conditioning and a beach within a beach? Who has these ideas? Glad to have you back!
VW missess, they are getting lazy!

Anonymous said...

now see, having spent too much time in very dirty Asian cities, I really do appreciate the cleanliness of Singapore.(ducks ;) )


rxBambi said...

Wow. I had no idea Singapore was like that. I consider myself *fairly* well traveled for an american, but seriously, no clue. I have just added one more spot to my list. Now getting hubs there might be more of an issue. What did your husband think?

kristine said...

I remember reading what percentage of singapore's GDP is accounted for by air conditioning - I cant remember the figure but it was staggering (tho unsurprising).

i've been to singapore many times but i realize from your post, I didnt really do much of whats on offer! You've been much better at seeing and doing everything. Were you there for pure holiday or were you working as well??

Pattern and Perspective said...

Looks like a lovely place to visit. I'll have to put it on my list of "Oh, the places I'll go"! Fantastic photos.

Char said...

that's one of those places like New Orleans - fun to visit, but I wouldn't want to spend more than a few days there.

fun shots!

Meri said...

Fascinating -- who knew? I do love the colorful quay, made even more colorful by the back story.

Mari Mansourian said...

great photos, I can't get over the outdoor air conditioning

enchantedartist said... does seem it's a bit disney-esque. Should I mention, I've never been big on Disney? I love the colours of the buildings, but I'm not sure about the poor pink dolphins.

Thanks for sharing all these great looks like you are having a great experience! :-)

Sarah Anne said...

The outdoor air conditioning blows me away. Who thought of that?

Ju said...

Although I'm sure it's a great place for families on holidays, don't think I will be taking mine at any time soon. There are many other great places, maybe less organised and sanitised but with more character and culture. The pictures are beautiful.


paris parfait said...

What fun photos! Love the one w/ the bird on your head. Thanks for this glimpse into your working holiday!

Kim: said...

I love-love-love your photos and explanations. I'm going to be making my own "Beware of Peacock" sign now. But I think you need to do a 31st secret to explain the expulsion from Disneyland for bikini top. ;)

spudballoo said...

Gosh super photos as always! I adored Singapore, suits my slightly scared of travelling traveller personality. So clean, so safe, so bright and shiny.

I could never live there, those endless blue skies would drive me insane. But it's fabulous for a visit. Looks like you had a wonderful trip. Despite coach...shudder.

Anonymous said...

I'm from New Zealand and am aware that we have an indoor aquarium quick similar to the one pictured, with a moving walkway. For a time there was also an attraction called penguin soccer. In parking lots outside of cities there are warnings about Kakapo (green parrots) attacking cars and stealing your windscreen wipers or something. I have lorikeets in my garden in spring. They are super shy though. The pool beside the beach reminds me of an artificial beach in Brisbane built right beside a lake (the lake is probably not fit for swimming, but still a weird little placement).

Enjoyed the similes of Disneyland and Singapore. Surprisingly informative!

molly said...

that would surely be a lot to take in and digest and...well, i'm glad you're doing it for me!