dinsdag 6 november 2012

Singapore city

It's popular to dismiss Singapore as a kind of Asia Lite - blandly efficient and safe, a boringly tasteless, disciplinarian and unadventurous place where citizens are robbed of their cherished freedom to spit on the street and chew gum. Utter nonsense.

Singapore is in fact one of the most enjoyable cities in Southeast Asia. As you zoom in from one of the world's best airports along the lushly tree-shaded expressway or on the zippy MRT train line, you'll quickly realise this is no traffic-snarled Bangkok. And as you stroll through the fashion emporiums of Orchard Rd, poke around antique shops in Chinatown or take a walk around one of the dozens of beautiful city parks, you'll know the city bears no comparison to crime- and poverty-ridden Manila or Jakarta. 

Kampong Glam’s gold-domed epicentre is Sultan Mosque, named after Raffles’ buddy Sultan Hussein Shah. Originally built in 1825 with a grant from Raffles and the East India Company, it was replaced 100 years later with the current edifice. The prayer hall can accommodate 5000 worshippers; a glaring red digital clock compromises the atmosphere a little, but at least everybody knows when to pray. The massive rug on the prayer hall (no entry to non-Muslims) is a gift from a Saudi Prince, whose emblem is woven onto it. [source: lonelyplanet]

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