After being here in this cool country for about two and a half weeks, I figured it would be cool to write a shorter summary of what it’s been like, what I’ve done and update my impressions.
My first impressions with Singapore are very good! It’s apparent that they’ve successfully built a well functioning country and society. It’s clean, people have good manners, and I think there is a tangible feel of community, even though the nation consists of a very diverse collection of ethnicity and languages. The official language is English but every day I hear Mandarin, Bahasa (Indonesian), and a few others. The Singapore English (Singlish), sounds like a surprising mix of south African English and Jamaican English. I’m not making it up – it’s just how they pronounce certain words that give the dialect this cool sounding blend. Being a well experienced traveler and having lived in over 7 countries, I find that Singapore has built it’s country around cherry picking good traits and best practices from other successful, leading countries.
And I’ll definitely take back what I said in my previous post about the rain here only being a fine mist.. Since then, we have been “blessed” with a few monsoon-like rain and lightning attacks that have been pretty awesome (if you’re indoors).
Interesting stuff I’ve noticed, and facts:
- Singapore was awarded nr 1 in the category Best travel destination in Lonely planet 2015.
- So far I’ve seen only ONE piece of trash on the ground (a lonely can)
- Singapore started the worlds first formula 1 night race
- So far I’ve seen only ONE mosquito
- Stated to have worlds 2nd most efficient healthcare, according to Bloomberg
- The government here seems to care a lot about health and well being. It’s the first place I’ve ever visited to have FREE PUBLIC GYMS spread out over the country.
- So far I’ve only seen ONE fly
- Stated to be 2nd safest city in the World (Economist 2015)
- Was worlds largest indoor tunnel for skydiving
- The public transportation system here is very good, and cheap. You can reach almost any place of the country conveniently by using the MRT and buses.
The skyline here is totally incredible. I’ve been to both Dubai and New York, and to be honest, the skyline in SG blows both those places out of the water. There are just too many freakishly cool architectural buildings here that other places can’t compare. I’m talking about Marina Bay Sands, the helix bridge, the museum, merlion, on an on. If you like architecture and buildings, this is a very good place to snap pics and marvel at innovative construction.
Shopping here is excellent. I’d state it as better than Dubai, as SG has a wider range of pricing options to cater for everybody’s wallet – and more malls. This has to be the place on earth that has the most malls per area of land. It’s like every stop on the MRT has it’s own mall, and it’s not uncommon for 2-3-4 malls to join together by sky walks over the trafficked streets below. If you are looking for shopping – this is a GOOD destination. SG has everything from highly luxurious uber expensive malls with marble floors and walls, down to the “luggage market” – a kind of flea market set up close to the parliament building where immigrant workers such as house maids sell used clothes at very cheap prices out of their suitcases.
Food choices are good here too. There are restaurants from all over the world, at all price levels. All malls have food courts as well as restaurants, where you can find anything you want. I’m planning on trying a few top end exclusive Asian food restaurants here. The interior design of those places is absolutely stunning. Places like Imperial Treasure Super Beijing Duck Restaurant, Japanese Gourmet Town, Black Society Seafood Chinese DimSum, Chrystal Jade Golden Palace, to name a few. Gordon Ramsay also has an establishment here, and other top name chefs. If you prefer cheap but delicious street food, SG has PLENTY of options. Just visit any of the hawker stalls or food courts where you can find food from most Asian countries (and western options) for very low prices. Amazingly enough, there are even two hawker stalls here that have a michelin star each! How cool isn’t that.. The cheapest michelin meal in the world; 2$. I’m definitely gonna check that out.
The university courses started last week, and NTU has a system called the “add & drop” period where students panic frantically for about two weeks to try to get their optimal schedule and register the courses they want. Luckily enough, I got all my courses on day 1. I had been very strategic in planning my courses, and opting for those that had a lot of vacancies, no final exam, and no classes on Fridays. At the same time, all of the courses I got are about stuff I’m genuinely interested in, and will find useful in both my private life and future career. I managed to get a very good schedule, with class on Mondays to Wednesdays, which means that I have four days off per week! That gives me a lot of opportunity to take shorter trips to other Asian countries. And only one of my courses has a final exam! The courses I got were:
- Digital Marketing: Connecting with customers in today’s world
- Creative Strategies
- Advertising Creativity and Copywriting
- Introduction to entrepreneurship
So as you see, I’ll be learning a lot of good skills that are highly applicable to almost any ambitious persons repertoire. In creative strategies and Advertising, the teacher is a really good German gentleman with 25+ years of running his own advertising boutique, with prestigious clients from the auto industry and more. The first day we had to cut the lesson a bit shorter, because he said that he had to attend a “f*ck-youlty meeting”. That immediately reminded me of a funny scene in Hellboy, where one of the actors says ‘focused’ with a German accent – and it sounds like he says ‘f*uck-used’ 🙂
So what have I actually been up to these last two and a half weeks? I’ve done a tone of stuff already. Time has really flown and it feels like I’ve been here for 6 months. Here a few thing I’ve been up to:
- Visited most of the bigger malls
- Visited Chinatown
- Had measurements taken for an Asian style business suit by one of Singapore’s best tailors (post about that is coming)
- Bought a cat mask and a panda mask
- Participated in NTU’s Chinese new year event and concert
- Secured two coming DJ performances. One at a culture night, and the other for student farewell party.
- Tried lots of new exotic fruits and foods
- Met my internet friend from 6 years for the first time
- Took pictures of the gorgeous skyline
- Tried three new Ben & Jerry’s flavours
- Lost 4 kg’s
- Tried two of the free gyms on campus
- Continued making my weekly radio show
- Made my first elevator pitch
- Signed up for a hike
- Signed up for a course on how to pickle veggies
- Got myself a Korean haircut
- Signed up for introduction to latin dance
- Signed up for the NTU buddy system
The best thing though is that I still haven’t visited any local neighborhoods or any of the main city attractions, except for an evening walk to see the skyline. I’ve saved all the best stuff to explore during the spring! Singapore has a TON of cool stuff to do, like plant-animal-wildlife related, Sentosa island, universal studios, and on..
So far I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol or gone to a party. Don’t worry mom, I’m not becoming straight edge or muslim, it’s just not very high on my priority list at the moment. One of my absolutely favorite things to do is go to exclusive hotels and just look at the lobbies, restaurants, lounges and bars there for design inspiration. So that’s on my to do list as well. I’ve been quite busy just having fun, studying, getting involved in activities etc. Have so much stuff to write about! So keep your eyes open because material is coming.