Published: July 22nd 2008July 22nd 2008
Does the sun ever come out in Singapore?
Singapore came as a relief after being in Phnom Penh, working to back-breaking hours. Everything in Singapore is easy and effecient, with immigration officials even offering you a candy while they process you in.
After being hot, sticky, and hardly finding air conditioning (much less a functioning air conditioning) for the past two weeks, Singapore came as a dream, as a re-connection to civilization. A short metro ride, and Orchard Road with hoards of shoppers unrolled in front of me. Borders with its magazines and books, sushi places, all the global brands of clothes lay there for the taking. The connection to "real people's lives and their struggles" are certainly absent, but the air conditioning, cleaniness, and easiness of modernity were a huge relief.
I was thinking the whole time about the future. Is Singapore the future? A secure, no dissent, effecient world where global brands are on display on a global smattering of faces and bodies from all over the world. There seem to be more women here than men. Asian faces in fashionable clothes carry all the global brands. Everything is globalized, effecient, clean, safe, and you are never a few blocks away from a Starbucks. Is
this what the world is trying to march towards? Is this the best future we can construct for ourselves?
Today, I went into Little India, which seemed quite a sterilized version of the real India......but at least the globalized world met a small challenge in its shops and on its faces and on its clothes. So full of Starbucks and the shopping bags of global brands, I move on to Jakarta tomorrow for the last week of this trip. And dreaming to go home where life seems a bit more real.