Saturday, January 16, 2010
Our friends, Martie and Wayne Lucas, who currently reside in Singapore, hosted the first part of our journey to South East Asia. We flew in exhausted following 22 hours of flight and arrived shortly after midnight New Year's Eve. They awaited with a celebatory toast and snacks for our arrival. It was the first New Year that we have rung in for a while.
The Singapore Harbor is a trove of upscale shops, ethnic dress and designer clothing. The Merlion guards the harbor well.
We lunched in Little India at a most excellent vegetarian cafe with atmospher to spare. Prostitution is legal in Singapore but Doug and Wayne seemed oblivious to an invitations.
Singapore is an amazing country and the focus of both admiration and critisism from the interantional community. Freedom of expression is critisized but the prospertity is envied. Fifty years ago Singapore was a malarial, backwater area that was expelled from Malaysia. Race riots teemed and all was not good. Lee Yuan Yew, the first Prime Minister took charge and transported Singapore to a modern power. Lee Yuan Yew pushed through an ambitious industrial and social program that transformed Singapore to an international commerce center. The standard of living is among the highest in Asia and the country is prosperous with admirable infrastructure and a spotless community. Deviation from presribed norms is not tolerated - as the plane lands the pilot reminds us all that drug possession is punishable by execution. Spitting on the sidewalks may no longer merit a prison sentence it certainly would merit a sizable fine. It should be noted that we saw no one intoxicated, drug affected or behaving improperly. Signs remind persons to put others first, not to think solely of them selves and to be worthy. Schools are ranked the first in the world, the downtown streets are 14 lanes that resemble Rodeo Drive.
Although the smells and sounds of Asia are clearly missing, Singapore is an experience.