Sunday, August 8, 2010

Still no gum in Singapore

"Well, don't bring like a whole box.." our Singaporean friend said. "Just enough for your own personal use."
So chewing gum was still frowned upon. We flew Cathay airlines to Singapore. Economy class but printed menus, (four choices for dinner!) complimentary wine in those generous little tumblers, and great choice on the music channels, including the Korean Music Box, Malay Hits, Thai Mix, Philippine Sound Wave, Mandarin Zone, Chinese All Time Hits and Mumbai Beat.

I knew Singapore had long since lost the old Imperial cobwebs though all the taxi drivers asked; "-Where you from, Sah?" The clipped Sah! taking me back to old wartime movies.

Singapore has always sounded like a clean, cold, Asian New York - nowhere to go but up - but there are trees everywhere and the trees grow up with the buildings, six or seven storeys high, and so elegantly pruned they are a delight to contemplate. The Singapore Orchid Show was part of the Singapore Garden Festival, organised, like the whole of Singapore it seems, by the the Parks Department. (motto: "Let's make Singapore our Garden.") The city is all over green, and at night, lights up like a classy Las Vegas.

And like Las Vegas, well ordered. Prostitution is legal. There are recycling bins in the hotel rooms, and a notice propped up on the breakfast buffet at the Grand Pacific: Additional charge for food wastage.' (The fine according to the number of grams left on your plate.)

That's my kind of nanny state. Plant trees or else! And clean your plate!