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Taking the road less traveled Spending a year in five continents to embrace my "inner turtle", to live simply, and to avoid being shark bait!

Singapore Weekend

SINGAPORE | Sunday, 22 January 2012 | Views [545]

Sis and I in front of Merlion, snapped by my 4-year-old nephew, not bad!

Sis and I in front of Merlion, snapped by my 4-year-old nephew, not bad!

My sister, her 4-year-old son, and I went to Singapore from Hong Kong for a long weekend just before Chinese New Year. It was my first time there so I was looking forward to it, but I was more curious how my nephew would react to his very first plane ride, his first stamp on his brand new passport, and first trip to a place where Cantonese isn't the first language. Well, less than an hour after takeoff, he already announced he was bored and didn't know what to do. Kids nowadays! No gadgets and they have no clue how to entertain themselves.  I kept him busy for a while by having him walk up and down the aisle to count the number of rows; that only lasted 5 minutes, so he ended up playing Angry Birds on my iPod Touch until we landed.  That will teach me!

Singapore was very much how I thought it would be: hot and sticky weather, clean streets, metropolitan, and orderly. Most impressed:  metro system was very efficient, and passengers in crowded trains readily offered their seat when they saw my nephew. That never happens in HK!

We did mostly kid-friendly activities: half day in Sentosa (a Disney-like attraction playground with a fake beach, Universal Studio, resorts and restaurants, cable car and other rides, and "natural" preserves with animals and walking trials), Singapore zoo (the hour-long downpour at the end was the most memorable part, it was like a scene from Jurassic Park), and food-sampling at "hawker" style food courts.  We almost committed a faux pas at the first breakfast: we were about to send back the eggs but realized everyone was eating it as-is, turns out it's a popular Singaporean-style breakfast item, soft-boiled egg mixed with soy sauce, oil, and chili.  Also memorable was the long queue to buy pork jerky (apparently it's a popular gift for Chinese New Year in SG); we thought we got there early, but there was already a queue with at least 30 people about 20 minutes before the store opened! 

Another impressive trait is that English is widely spoken, especially by frequently tourist-facing workers such as taxi drivers (good luck with that in HK); however, the downside with the government pushing all SG citizens to learn English is that other languages, such as Chinese, are now less spoken by the younger generations. Their parents may send them to Chinese lessons, but they prefer English, probably because it is easier to grasp. 

The best and funniest part of the return flight to HK: my nephew saw an older lady sitting in the row behind us playing on her iPhone, and being a kid, he shamelessly hovered over her to see what she was playing. The lady was very nice and even let him play a few games. Hurray for free babysitting! 

Tags: sentosa, singapore, zoo



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