I am a little uncomfortable to write here. Blogs are for self-absorbed people who think their bullshit matters to anyone. We are now members of this egocentric elite, but unlike all the others we know for sure that it matters – to a few – hi mom.
I want to mention how much work it was to prepare for this trip. We sublet our apartment and knowing that strangers sleep in our bed now still makes me feel uncomfortable. However, I pictured myself, wondering if in 30 years from now I’d remember 2017 saying „jeez am I happy to have kept my apartment for myself only“ or saying „I am glad I got over myself and did the trip“. It is pretty obvious what I went for, however, it’s not easy, as I like my belongings and I like to keep them to myself. People who think of their stuff just as stuff and share it without second thoughts are independent and enjoy a special kind of freedom. I try to think that I am like them now, to create as many positive aspects regarding the sublet and to stop thinking about strangers in my bed, bathroom and on my couch. I don’t want my belongings to weigh me down and experiences are so much more valuable than any object. Well, the fact that I mention all this, only proves that I am not quite there yet. Maybe I’ll be cooler one day.
When we were at Tegel airport we met an Asian looking business guy who was interested in Nicolas. He told us about his baby daughter who could say „daddy“ at the age of six months and who could walk at the age of nine months. He also mentioned he travels a lot. It reminded me of the Simpsons episode when Bart has a new pet that gets all the attention. As a consequence their dog learns all sorts of crazy tricks, like juggling three balls while riding a bike, only to get some love and attention as well. Quite a few parents have a Pavlov reaction to little kids and mention what their child could do at the same age. I don’t want to do that. Ever. Next time I meet a parent like that I might say „Oh you got a very clever kid then. Our Nicolas is a special needs child with a fatal disease but we love him just the way he is and we are happy to spend a lot of time with him for as long as he is still with us“.
Singapore is a very pleasant city. It led to discussing the obvious question. Could you live here? Stephan enjoyed it very much. He is biased due to the pleasant temperatures. It is amazing he can be this happy just because he is able to take off his coat. The ability to be happy because of little things is something I appreciate about him. Singapore is pleasant in so many ways but I find the fines they inflict on relatively minor misconducts or even normal conduct disturbing and it affects my behaviour. Drugs: death penalty, fishing at the Marina: 3000 Dollar, chewing gum: 1000 Dollar, Nicolas farting in an elevator: 5000 Dollar? At some point Stephan lay down on the accurately cut grass of a public area to enjoy the moment and the absence of his scarf and mittens. I got nervous and made hectic gestures to get him off the green again. It seems paranoid now, however, a country that inflicts fines on not flushing the toilet and not trusting their citizens to have a common sense of decency makes me nervous.
Sure, it is nice to live in a clean city, but it comes at a price and I think it is too high. Homosexual relations are considered „against the order of nature“ and I cannot imagine myself tolerating this kind of anachronistic nonsense by choice.
We saw many sporty people in Singapore and many people in business outfits. The area around the Marina is populated with joggers and noisy mass fitness intructions take place. So Singapore wants to be good at business and being fit and athletic is part of the deal. The malls offer clean shops with noble brands and everything is spotless. I felt very misplaced.
I was blown away by the botanical garden. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and free of charge. The garden is huge and only visiting the Orchid Garden requires a ticket which is absolutely worth the price. It is hard to tell if I was in a good mood already or if the garden is simply fantastic. I am sure it sounds cheesy but it looked and felt like what I imagined the Garden of Eden to look like when I learned about it as a child. Usually, I am not too interested in plants unless I can eat them. The Botanical Garden in Singapore, however, offers a tropical atmosphere and displays exotic plans in a seemingly natural and pleasant way that is just extraordinary. It is like being in the jungle, but only the good parts of it. The green, the blossoms, weird shapes, warmth… Maybe a bit like a fruit you don’t have to peel and that doesn’t have a pip and is just ready to eat. Actually, this too is a facette of the same Singapore I mentioned above. In the Botanical Garden, they organized and cleaned up nature with the same accuracy they used in the city. The reason why I like this approach in a garden is probably because this is the only way I get to enjoy this kind of environment and all the plants in such density without the dangers and the hassle of the actual jungle. It is very inspiring to be there, whereas the citiy, due to its cleanliness and restrictions didn’t offer much inspiration at all. Maybe I am unfair with Singapore, but to me it looks like a place where few people might buy arts but not too many or no people actually create art. Although….is architecture art? Probably yes. The skyline of Singapore is pretty impressive to a European person, such as myself. The famous Marina Sands Hotel, which looks like a ship on three towers is kinda impressive. I tried to show it to Nicolas when I was holding him and asked „Is he looking at it?“ In nine out of ten times the answer is negative. He is more impressed with bugs, lights and his own hands than with icons of money. Or maybe he is just shortsighted.
The city symbol is another peculiar sight. It is a spewing lion-mermaid and it looks so ridiculous, I’d assume it was a weird expression of Singaporean humor I’d approve. Having said this, all I have previously mentioned about their fines, humor doesn’t seem to be a likely explanation.
All in all I did enjoy Singapore and it was a good place to start our trip, as this city allowed a smooth transition. They are good at being tidy, at speaking English and it is quite comfortable in many ways, such as public transport. My impression in a nutshell: If being comfortable is the desire of the moment, Singapore is the place to be. If being inspired is the need, Singapore is a poor choice.