Sprawling shopping centers, a multi-ethnic population, and a whole island packed with tourist attractions…say hello to Singapore.
December 14, 2009 9:42 by Dana El Baltaji
In November, I was in the mood for chili crab. It would’ve been easy to book a table at Peppercrab in the Grand Hyatt Dubai, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay over AED600 for one dish. Besides, I knew I could get it for much cheaper in Singapore.
It wasn’t the first time a food craving was the inspiration behind a trip. I’d travelled to Valencia, Spain in search of a paella negra, to Rome, Italy for frutti di mare, to Whitstable, England for oysters and to Lebanon for squid served with black ink (and a touch of lemon).
But with or without the craving, I knew one day I’d to travel to Singapore. As a serial expatriate, I’m always scouting destinations for my next base, ranking them on my personal livability index. Everyone I knew had raved about Singapore, describing it as organized, vibrant and thoroughly superficial. They also said that the tiny state was home to some of the world’s cleanest public toilets. I had to see (and use) them for myself.
And I did. They’re very clean. The Singaporean government has imposed a number of seemingly bizarre laws to ensure citizens and visitors maintain the nation’s level of cleanliness. Failing to flush the toilet can cost you SGD500 (AED1,320); the fine for smoking in public places or indoors is SGD1,000 (AED2,640); and bringing in chewing gum carries a fine between SGD$500 and SGD$1000 (AED1,320 and AED2,640).
The state’s laws are notoriously strict, but the results speak for themselves.
Singapore is, without doubt, the cleanest state in the Southeast Asia, but it hasn’t lost its charm because of its obsession with cleanliness. The state continues to boast vibrant cultural districts and stunning commercial areas.