Republic of Singapore.
National Museum of Singapore.
A city-state grew after Thomas Raffles established the Port of Singapore.
Thomas Raffles was a secretary of the British East India Company, known for the Raffles Hotel.
Singapore was originally a British colony, and it is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Indians, Chinese, Indonesians and etc, who flowed in through the plantation projects implemented by Raffles remained and formed a multinational nation.
Singapore consists of more than 60 islands centering on Singapore Island, which has a population of about 5.7 million and is only about 50km from east to west.
Singapore is a very young country that became independent from Malaysia on August 9, 1965.
Colonial monuments “Dalhousie Obelisk” and “Victoria Theater & Concert Hall”.
I arrived at Singapore Changi International Airport from Denpasar International Airport (Ngurah Rai International Airport) in Bali, Indonesia.
The informations about Singapore that I had heard in advance was
“There is a Japanese who was detained at the airport for possession of drugs, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.”
“A Japanese man who spit out gum on the road was caught and detained.”
That kind of stories, such a law was strict, or urban cleansing was advanced.
Could I be able to enter Singapore without a problem?
I usually smoke while walking, have long hair, wear a T-shirt, shorts trunks, sandals, and very little money.
It reminds me the experience of being denied entry at London Heathrow Airport.
I managed to pass the immigration inspection and entered Singapore even though I was worried.
The Merlion in Merlion Park is a symbol of Singapore.
Symbol of Singapore with a half lion half fish statue.
Didn’t Singapore get its name from the word ‘lion (simha)’?
Heading to youth with haste.
It would be too late if I caused some kind of trouble, and according to what I heard, sleeping outdoors would not be allowed, so I hurriedly headed to the youth hostel, to avoid being detained by the police as a suspicious person, and to collect informations.
During my stay in Australia, in England, and during my travels in Europe, I hadn’t seen so many “Asian travelers”, but there were not a few Asians in this youth hostel.
…well, it’s natural here in the middle of Southeast Asia…
Also, I felt that there are many individual travelers, not groups.
Youth hostel is somehow prettier than ever.
People who were in the same dormitory room started exchanging information naturally, and in no time it felt like they were open to each other.
“Aren’t you hungry?” said somebody, then we were going out to eat something together.
Coincidentally, we all have different nationalities.
Inevitably, “Suddenly, some people start talking in German” or “Chinese is flying around.” that kind of matter never happend, It was conversations only in English that everyone can understand.
I have experienced a sudden change into the world of German when I was speaking in English, and it became difficult for me to stay there, so this situation gives me a sense of security.
According to their talks, in Singapore, there are three distinctive towns, like,
Kampong Glam(malay town),
and they have completely different atmospheres for each.
Well, I guess it’s like Chinatown in Sydney’s Haymarket.
a specific area suddenly become China, something like that.
…On that day, We hung out at the food court for a long time, talking about our trips and so on.
Fake branded watches.
Oneday we went out for a ramble in the city with some youth hostel friends, a local man came close to us and said,
“Fake watches, Do you want to buy?”
… Oh~~~, this is the soliciting of the “fake watche” that has been a problem~.
For some reason, I got a little excited, thinking, “I am solicited now!”
Some of my colleagues clearly show disgust and say “No thank you!”
But I foolishly and involuntarily said,
“That’s interesting. Let’s see how good it is. I definitely won’t buy it, I promise.”
…Of course I regretted it later.
In the end, we parted ways with someone who wanted to go and someone who didn’t like it, and we followed the local man to the second floor of an old building.
The hallway of the building that we were guided to was dim with no lights, but when the man opened the door, it suddenly became bright and there was quite a crowd.
Illegal replicas of watches made by famous manufacturers that I know, such as Omega, Bvlgari, Rolex, and Seiko, were displayed in showcases.
As I was looking curiously, a man approached me and said,
“The real thing has small letters carved on top of the number 7, but this counterfeit has small letters carved in exactly the same place too, Isn’t that amazing!”
“This one also has a real diamond in the same place as the real one.”
I negatively said,
“No way~. It’s a glass ball anyway~~~.”
the guy desperately said,
“Really true. Real diamond!”
the convasation gose on like this…
When I asked him
“But it’s amazing. How do you guys make this?”
The guy showing the photo and said
“It’s handmade~. One by one.”
He seems to be proud of himself and his mates.
Well, that skill is amazing… but, fake is fake, illegal is illegal.
Then we went outside, just as we thought, the guy was quite persistent, so we forced ourself to go outside and left quickly.
…If we bought something like this, we would be send to a detention center…
It was dangerous, but a little fun tour.
After that, we ate curry with naan in Little India, saw the Merlion, and went back to the youth hostel.
When I said, “We’ve been to Little India,” The other man said, “That place seems to be dangerous.”
… Well, it’s just a way of thinking, but if you said you wouldn’t go because it’s may be dangerous…
You never could…
Head to Malaysia.
The area where tourists and backpackers go in Singapore is concentrated around Marina Bay where Merlion is located in the southern part of Singapore Island and the area on the Singapore Strait side from the center to Changi Airport.
For the time being, I had walked around and saw as much as I could, so I decided to head overland to Malaysia with other backpackers.
First, we decided to go to Johor Bahru, a town on the Malaysian border.