Awesome place, this Singapore. They are so pro tourism that they have free tours into the city which can be done even without a VISA. We went via Singapore and decided to take a city tour. We first thought we would go around the city, hire a cab, follow the Nalanda trail and visit the zoo. But all that would require enthusiasm and time. We had barely 5 hours of it. So we too the guided tour instead.
Apart from the obvious cleanliness, Singapore is quite green. Though they have 5mn people here, it doesn’t look crowded at all. Also, you cannot imagine walking from one tourist attraction to another. The bus was comfortable and took us to the city centre where the merlion spouting water stands next to the esplanade. The merlion is disappointingly small in size. I really thought it would be huge since every picture of Singapore I have seen till now has it. But better than the merlion was the Esplanade which has two domes in the shape of earlier headphones. They really look splendid from a birds eye view.
The weather was pleasant…pretty much like Mumbai…yes, I find Mumbai weather pleasant, not cold and cruel like Bangalore at least. LA is like Bangalore though. So much for avoiding that city.
I don’t know if the Singaporeans were always so active in promoting their country so people would come to live there: people who could work in selected fields like Research, Bio Chemistry, Technology. The guide said Sir Standford Raffel came to Singapore and was instrumental in developing it. He came to India and asked people to settle in Singapore to start trading. Singapore as a trading destination is inherently exemplified at the most micro of levels. Take for example the airport. Its duty free shops and the variety, the push marketing around the globe to shop here and the marketing literature in all the magazines strewn across the airport are ample proof. Somewhere, they sat down and made a plan to promote Singapore. This message got translated to even a tour guide who tries her best to convince us to stay here for 2 years and work in essential fields.
I have never seen anything like this happen in India and I doubt we would ever do. It is too big, too unorganized and I doubt that we can ever be so blatant about selling our country. It is dear to us on many emotional levels that justify working in places without toilets, living amongst disease bearing mosquitoes, drinking unsafe water and trusting out lives in the hands of doctors who never attended college. I doubt any other country can boast of such patriotism.