You have already read about the incident on the border check in Singapore. Well, this was not the first time I had a problem with their authority. Yes, a few years ago, when I was in Singapore for a week I had a close encounter with them. Back then I was leaving the country and they kept me on the border because my picture in the passport was different than I was in reality. Sure, I had lost a few pounds. However, if you had paid just a little attention you could have seen that you were looking at the same person. Well, in the interrogation room I was in a company of two very strange looking guys and a lady who was hiding in a truck wheel. After some questions, where I had been and where I was headed, in addition to five different photos of me and a few documents, such as the driver’s license and some other cards, they released me. Not to mention, I almost missed my bus because the driver refused to wait a little bit longer. In his story, I was a drug trafficker and my life was over right there… Anyway, I left the country and that was it at the time.
So, in my book Singapore is for sure a very strict country and their residents are controlled. However, I think this is not bad. My experience with Singaporeans is that they aren’t very smart and they need to be controlled. To be clear, I was in touch mostly with those behind the counters, services, restaurants, bars, and shops. You need to explain everything three times. And it is not a language difference. It’s just too much data to process. For example: in a restaurant, you order a dish without any sauce added. The first response will be: “O.K., let me check it for you, Sir”. And then the waiter goes to the supervisor who says: ”O.K., we can do that.” After a few minutes, your order is ready to go. That is why it’s not uncommon to see a white guy as a manager and a bunch of Singaporeans performing the service.
And when I say a bunch I really mean it. There is one for bringing you water, another one for taking your order and the third one for the service. Sometimes, there is another one for bringing you the bill. Anyway, they are extremely nice. I haven’t met a more polite nation than Singaporeans. Well, yeah, sometimes you will lose your nerves with your order. However, they will soften you with a smile. I also noticed they are very paranoid. You will get the feeling, they are preparing for a world war or something. Every new condo must have a bomb shelter. You will see a lot of military activity and jets are flying on a daily basis. All over the city, there are billboards about terroristic attacks and how to respond. A friend of mine also said they have a lot of drills in case of an attack, catastrophe, etc.
What I love in Singapore are their green surfaces. You are in a crowded and modern city, but you won’t have that feeling. Everywhere around you is greenery. They are including the greenery in their architecture which is amazing. And for a photographer, that is more than amazing. You know, that huge contrast – greenery and concrete. Because of trees and good public transport, the air in the city is of high quality.
What I don’t like there are shopping malls. Oh my god, even if you don’t want to visit one, you must if you will take MRT (their subway system). Their subway systems are mostly crossed in shopping malls and the links are right through it. But O.K. This is a minor disadvantage. So, Singapore in my eyes has a high rate, and I can imagine myself living in this country.