The first morning in Singapore greeted us with bright sunshine, a clear sky and an aura of welcome. We had our plans for capturing Singapore, only on tape, but I’m not going to bore you with those shooting details.
On the very first day we decided to go to the Central Business District (CBD), which hosts a number of tall buildings and when I say tall here in Singapore, it means tall.
It’s probably hard to not find an office of nearly every bank in the world in this area. Well maybe not every bank, but most of the biggies and some not very biggies, have their presence here. This is the most white collar area in Singapore.
Talking of white collars, I can’t hold myself from making an observation here. Singapore used to be probably the cleanest place in the world. It was impossible to find uncovered land here. In Singapore you could either concrete and asphalt or you could see grass and other plantation. Back in those good days one could not even imagine of seeing cigarette stubs, different packing materials, pieces of paper and other stuff collectively and commonly called “trash” on Singapore streets. But time and growing population have taken their toll.
Singapore these days is a huge construction site, with all sorts of development works going on. Unlike those times, when these activities were limited in number, currently construction sites are not so minutely covered during works. So as a result of relaxation in regulations, one can find a little bit of dust and post rain mud on the sidewalks. Other constituents of “trash” are also not a rarity now.
But as far as the white collars are concerned, you still can wear a white shirt for two days in a row, without noticing black streaks on the inside of your collar. So this slight degradation in the level of cleanliness is still a whole lot better than in many parts of the world. Your shoes still don’t need a polish every morning and the air is clean; free of smog and dust.
Well getting back to CBD, we tried to count the tall buildings standing in a cluster on the edge of the island and if our count was right we counted 23 of them (approximate number). The new additions in this area are the Esplanade theatre,s Marina Bay complex and the Bay Front.
Standing by the Merlion, you can also see the giant observation wheel, which in fact is the largest in the world.
Most of you might be asking a question: “What is a Merlion?”
Well Merlion is Singapore’s symbol. It is a hybrid of a Lion and a Mermaid. Looking at the image of Merlion probably you will understand what I mean. This Merlion stands near the Fullerton Hotel, facing towards the Marina Bay, but earlier it stood facing the sea.
There are a few Merlions in Singapore mounted at different locations, but the One Fullerton Merlion is by far the most popular of them all.
This area also has the highest observation platform at Altitude 1. But right across the Bay you have another high observation point in the Marina Bay on the 57th floor. So if you come to Singapore and you would like to take a bird’s eye view of the city, you have more than one choices and perspectives to do that.
Behind all those tall buildings, there are a number of open cafés on the river embankment. Why am I so especially telling you about the open cafés? Well if you are a smoker, like myself, you will have a hard time here. Smoking is not allowed in any of the public places and those public places include bars, restaurants, cafés and other closed premises. So, your best shot are these cafés on the embankment, but be ready to pay for the pleasure, because these cafés and bars are a little up-beat.
As always you will see a lot of dust bins or trash cans on Singapore roads, but if you see a trash can with an ashtray on top, it means you can smoke there, but if you find a trash can without an ashtray on top, you better not smoke there. And this goes not only for CBD, but all around the island. Maybe a few things have changed here, but the large amounts of fines for mischief are still applicable. Don’t expect to be fined for tiny amounts of 10 or 20 S$, you should look into paying 500, 1000 or 1500 S$ fines for things like loitering, smoking in the no smoke area and doing the first or the second in an elevator.
But I’m not telling you this to scare you off. Normally the law enforcers in this country are very humane, so if you commit a mistake for the first time, they will let you go with a warning, but be sure that you are on record after that and any repeat offense will be dealt with strictly.
One of the most interesting things in the CBD, are numerous sculptures, which can take quite some time if you decide to see them all in detail. My favourite is the sculpture on the embankment in front of Fullerton Hotel, depicting young boys jumping into the river for a swim, but I don’t want to force you into believing that this is the best work.
You should take your time if you are an art lover and especially if you like sculpture and walk through CBD at a relaxed pace. Your memories will be enriched with the art that you will witness, for a long, long time.
Well if you took my advice and you spent the whole day in this area, you can relax in the evening in the Merlion park and watch the laser light show, which takes place at 20:00 hours every day. To watch the show you can either take a seat at one of the steps by the Merlion’s base or you can sit in a comfortable seat of the numerous cafés and restaurants along the Bay front. But apart from the light show and Merlion and all other man made attractions, you’ll also see the bouquet of humanity or simply saying most of the ethnicities populating Singapore, at this spot, especially in the evening, along with a lot of foreigners.
I hope you’d enjoy your time in CBD, whenever you come here and if you don’t have a chance of coming here soon, don’t forget to see our United Colours of Humanity series to see it from our perspective.
Singapore may be a small country, but it has a lot to offer for the visitor. So stay with us and we will take you through the whole country in the following few days.
Stay with us 2 see it all!