Less than a week to go before we move out of our apartment—how did our time here pass so quickly? I never even got to write about food in Singapore. It’s one of the biggest things we’ll miss, of course: Food courts on every corner! Everything from popiah to sardine-o to fresh coconut juice to “Western Delights”! F&B (the local acronym for “food and beverage”) even in the National Geographic store at VivoCity Mall!
We’re awash with only-in-Singapore moments as we get ready to leave, especially after our return from Bali last week (a “vacation” beset by troubles for me, including several rounds of illness, way too many mosquito bites without taking malaria pills, and Internet problems). I was glad to get back to Singapore, even though I appreciated the natural beauty of Bali. I could live in Singapore, I’ve realized, which feels like an amazing internal place to arrive.
I present a few more photos here to illustrate the peculiar pleasures of our temporary home, although in some sense every moment here has been “so Singapore.”
Kiasu Smackdown, Part One: Last Saturday, we took in a movie at the Suntec mall and were treated to the sight of people circling the Fountain of Wealth. Here’s a typical, completely untongue-in-cheek commentary—the largest! the best!—from the site Your Singapore:
Fountains of fun
Listed by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the largest fountain in the world, the Fountain of Wealth is located within one of Singapore largest shopping malls, Suntec City.
In fact, the shopping and office district was constructed in accordance to Feng Shui principles. The 5 towering office blocks are designed to represent a left hand’s fingers, with the fountain sitting in the middle of the “palm”, symbolising wealth.
And during certain periods of the day, visitors are invited to walk around the fountain’s base for good luck. At night, the fountain comes alive with spectacular laser performances and song dedications.
Suntec city engages over 300 retail outlets, 50 pushcarts and 100 F&B establishments spreading across 4 floors. The mega mall is divided into 4 zones: the Galleria, offering high-end labels, the Tropics, emphasising on lifestyle merchandises and services, the Fountain Terrace, specialising in F&B, and the Entertainment Centre, comprising of a cinema, fitness gym, an arcade and many more.
Hint: The laser show is not spectacular. Neither is the F&B. But the Fountain is so bombastically ugly that it’s impressive, and I don’t mean that as cynically as it may sound. Despite the many clichés of Singapore that are true, the place somehow manages to rise above the clichés. It amounts to far more than fines for littering and hyper-consumerism.
Kiasu Smackdown, Part Two: Last Friday and Sunday, we had dinner at what’s become one of our favorite places: the Sentosa boardwalk. Not Sentosa Island itself, but the new boardwalk you can stroll across from the VivoCity mall, including several outdoor pubs and a people-mover walkway. It’s the height of glittering artificiality. It’s also a wonderfully designed outdoor lounge space and a paean to urban planning.
Besides, where else can you simultaneously see fireworks, a giant animatronic display of mating cranes, cable-car gondalas glittering against the sky, the Merlion glowing purple—as well as hear a live rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads”?