Places of Singapore

Naming a place to characterize Singapore is hard – Sentosa? Or The Merlion, Lau Pa Sat & Shenton Way? Perhaps Clarke Quay or the revamped Chinatown. Alright, maybe Orchard Road’s the best. I don’t know.

But I know every single of those above had elements of artificial decor, historical backing, and a whole lot of tourism board nonsense. Since a nation is made of it’s people, for if no one claims citizenship or belonging to the nation, it do not exist at all, and not land (not even the reclaimed ones), I thought a place to characterize the nation should be one well appreciated by its people, with a strong flavour of Singaporean activity.

I went to MOE today, and emerged untouched by the huge concentration of undesirable figures there, but I found a place, that do have elements that characterize Singapore a bit. Holland Drive, absolutely uninfected by NTUC Fairprice, has a rather great wet market with the nice smell of spices and dried food. Yes, it is kind of revamped market, but at least it’s still around and even when it’s mid-day, it’s still bustling with activity. The coffee shops around there were pretty full and though not the kind of place teens would hang out even if you pay them to, the food’s pretty nice. Unfortunately, the price is a little steep, but that’s inherently Singapore!

The funny thing is that these places are not alone, just like Jurong Bird Park is paired with the Zoological Gardens. A subsequent visit to ICA building revealed a little ‘Hong Lim Complex’ in the Lavender area, a place I would least expect to see such stuff. The design was very ‘Chinatown-like’, probably a feature of Jalan Besar GRC and the feeling is really familiar – cheap bag shops, hair salon chemical smells, the traditional Chinese medicine halls, the small toy shops that sell plastic balls, water guns that gets damaged easily, yo-yos that doesn’t allow you to walk-a-dog or rock-a-baby and plastic green soldiers that you see in Toy Story movie. And you get 80 cents milk tea (or Teh, which means 70 cents Teh-O) there, something that have recently ceased to exist in the city/downtown areas after the coffee shop price hikes.

Sometimes we really need not cover up so much, we need not erect some great statues, or spend thousands a year to put up paintings in canals to ‘brighten’ the heartlands. We don’t have to put up art exhibitions all around Singapore to have a ‘biennale’ – artworks/HDBs/Coffee shops/4D Betting Booths/Litter/People/Paintings are everywhere and more importantly, they are indeed Uniquely Singapore, unaltered, uncensored and entirely natural, in the Singaporean way.


3 responses to “Places of Singapore”

  1. Hey Vib set up a WP blog for me on leh. Call it thePropagandaMachine2. BTW it’s time to update your WP install too. I’m thinking of restarting my blog, and movabletype is evil (ie commercial) so I dun wanna use it anymore lor. Oh and how much do you know of customising WP? I might need your help to do some plugins and shit for skool.

    K take care, bye.

  2. No wait is your WP install is on public_html or I would set WP up myself lor but I don’t trust Techmosux and their weird server leh.

  3. Eh, Okay. You urgently need all these? Or can you wait a few more months when I move to siteground? My WP install is on simplicity, not public, so don’t worry. But the problem is ‘’ doesn’t sound like a good. Think of something better lah.

    By the way, my WP install is the most updated liao. Did you see wrongly or what?

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