Singapore new – and old

Friday, 4 December 2015

I’ve been to Singapore twice this year and explored a variety of old and new sites.

???????????????????????????????◄ I was not knocked out by the Gardens on the Bay – extending from across the freeway from the Marina Bay Sands ‘Integrated Resort’ down to the new waterfront. The big attractions are the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, two ‘anti-greenhouses.’ Anywhere else in the world you construct a greenhouse to make things warmer for the plants. Here it’s chilled like a Singapore shopping mall, which is to say it’s icy. Plus in the Cloud Forest apart from a couple of levels right up at the top, the ascent or descent of the artificial mountain is all by lift or escalator. Well you rarely see a Singaporean walk when they could ride, most of the time everybody is totally stationary on the escalators. There are warnings everywhere about climate change, global warming and all the other environmental problems, but here’s energy being eaten up big time.

On top of all that entry to the two attractions is a very pricey S$28, I could see most of this stuff for free in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens or Kew Gardens in London. Not impressed.

???????????????????????????????▲ The rooftop swimming pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel has been a big attraction ever since it opened with its infinity edge looking out over the Singapore skyline. At the opposite level, ie down in the basement, is the casino, the real reason for the existence of the ‘integrated resort.’ From my position – ie having no interest in gambling, it’s just like any other casino, which is to say a vision from hell, lights flashing, one armed bandits lined up towards infinity, and they can smoke just to make hell even worse. I have to show my passport to get in and to get out, Singaporeans and Singapore residents have to pay S$100 a day.

IMG_4969 - Merlion, Marina Bay Sands - 540▲ Signs of the old blend in with the new. After all the land reclamation the Merlion no longer marks where the Singapore River flows into the sea, but you still can see that symbol of an older Singapore with the triple-towered new Singapore as a backdrop.

I’ll post on an even older Singapore tomorrow.