Singapore Experience

Singapore Experience

February 16, 2023

By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Senior Vice-President, ITDC

Why do I call our visit to Singapore an experience? After four visits, I have no new tourist attractions to see except the ‘Jewel,’ a forest and waterfall re-created right in the middle of the Terminal 3 International Airport, a must-see place. The best months to visit Singapore are between November and February as this is considered to be monsoon months.

The secret of the fitness of an average Singaporean is the quality of water supplied to homes. Imagine one can drink from the tap anywhere — the water is minus all impurities. There are no scale formations on any bathroom and kitchen fittings.

I changed some bathroom fittings in Mysuru just one year back and they now look old because of the scale formations. In Singapore, even after 6 years, bathrooms look sparkling and new. One hardly falls sick there. How do they dispose of their waste?

In Mysuru, there is such a hue and cry about thin plastic bags but in Singapore, they are used in every single outlet. How do they get rid of them? I have been given to understand that they transport all their waste to an island and dispose of it at an underground facility.

Our flat was bang opposite the Singapore River. All along the banks, they have built gardens and walkways for people to walk or cycle and there are plenty of pubs, restaurants and discos. One can access the restaurants on river cruises. I also noticed that all the rainwater flows into the river. Every morning five boats clean the river of all waste and even dredging is done to remove excess soil.

Over 35 percent of Singapore is gardens and forests. They have created a huge dense forest right in the middle of the city with a reservoir which supplies 20 percent of the drinking water to the city. The rest is supplied from Malaysia.

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The Singapore Government claims that their drinking water is safer than any mineral water. One hardly finds any mineral water in any supermarket.

Health is wealth. Every Singaporean believes that. I used to go for a walk in the mornings and would find at least 300 people either walking or cycling.

‘Dogs life’ we often comment in a derogatory manner but in Singapore, dogs are literally kings. Humans go behind dogs to collect their poop and spray water if the dog has peed on a vehicle or a lamp post. The sheer variety of breeds I saw was mind-boggling. In my 3-month stay, I did not see a single street dog.

One of the oldest localities of Singapore is China Town where one can still see some heritage buildings. On the main streets there are cafes lined up where one can see senior citizens sitting with a glass of beer. I did not see a single dilapidated heritage building.

Not for nothing is the tag of the ‘costliest city in the world’ given to Singapore. If one has to survive everyone — from 20 to 80 years — has to work. It is common to see a 70-year-old taxi driver or a waiter. Medical costs are prohibitive, an RT-PCR test (mandatory for Indian travellers) costs 75 dollars. Every locality has a clinic and the head doctor would only see a patient if he is referred by the local doctor. 

I visited a Ganapati temple in China Town called ‘Lion Ganapati.’ They have a dress code and there is a heavy rush on weekends. I was pleasantly surprised to see many Chinese nationals praying. Ganesh has become truly international.

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We had visited an Indian locality called ‘Little India’ on the eve of Pongal. The Serangoon Road was brightly lit up but I felt that our Devaraj Urs Road lighting on the eve of Dasara was far better.

On return by Singapore International, was pleasantly surprised when they served a piping hot idly and sambar for breakfast. The only disappointment was that the plane landed in the old airport terminal of the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru.

I was hoping to see the hyped-up Terminal-2 but was told that it was closed for work immediately after the opening by the Prime Minister. The same fate is going to be for the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway. Due to election politics, the road would be hastily opened and again closed for repairs and pending works. The amount of work pending cannot be completed in two months in my opinion. Hope I am proved wrong.

One shortcoming I did notice while travelling from Bengaluru to Mysuru on the new Expressway — there are no restaurants or washroom facilities. A minimum of two food court space should have been provided on either side of the road and displaced eateries and toy-makers of Channapatna could have been placed there along with pay-and-use restrooms.

Everyone travelling on the Highway does not zip through. Senior citizens and children require bathroom facilities. Every time I visit Singapore, I come back revitalised but Mysuru is Mysuru and I missed it.

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3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Singapore Experience”

  1. Ajay says:

    It’s been more than 3 months since Bengaluru airport’s new terminal was inaugurated and yet it is not open to public. This is too bad. As you rightly pointed in the article the same might happen with Mysore-Bengaluru expressway.

  2. Howdy, Modi! says:

    This fool Ballal is back again, talking nonsense.
    The scale formation in water pipes or even in an electric kettle is because of the hard water.
    In Singapore corruption is punished with a long jail term after giving the corrupt person 20 lashes.

  3. Raampur Ka Laxman!! says:

    Hey @Ballal
    The posters can be assured of one thing in your articles: missing the obvious!
    In keeping with that tradition o f yours, your so called experience in Singapore, which at best is very shallow, misses the very obvious one finds in that country: MERITOCRACY. Unlike the degenerate practices of caste-based reservations in India, nepotism and corruption too driving the selection of candidates for university courses and jobs, where one can get into medical colleges based on hefty capitation fee, passing the exams based on aspects other than performance , and getting up to the level of postgraduate medical qualifications, in Singapore merit dictates who enters medical colleges, and who gets the degrees, based only on their performance.
    Hence, hospitals in Singapore are so good with excellent doctors. who know their speciality well, and hence their diagnoses and treatments are excellent. Indeed, if you had bothered to look around in depth, you would have noticed that so many patients from Karnataka, and indeed from Mysore, getting their disease diagnosis right there,. These were the ones who were fleeced by so called specialists in Bangalore and Mysore, who let them down owing to their stupidity and ignorance, as they got qualified as doctors, based facts other than merit!
    Hence, the young woman Nibhaya who was raped and abused by thugs-which is what India is famous for, was sent to Singapore by the Indian government for treatment after the AIIMS in New Delhi, where she lived, failed.
    Sometime ago, you prattled that Mysore with its hospitals and doctors should be the health tourism centre of the globe! What nonsense it was. It is indeed Singapore which occupies the prime spot of health tourist centre.
    Their national university is among the top 50 best universities in the world, a distinction that no university in India can match.


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