Sing or Ring?
25 November 2019
What do you get if you throw unlimited millions of dollars at a small Asian island?
Singapore apparently. All shiny, glittering architecturally splendifferous buildings sat on pristine streets, some oxygen giving green spaces and its cooling, bar lined river. New York or London......... but without an atmosphere. Sterile. Sorry to the majority who loved it, but I'm afraid, we just didn't "click". All just a bit too clinical, but maybe I should have given it more than the few hours we had. Or maybe not. Caviar before swine and all that. Or maybe I've not got used to being brought back to earth from our exhalted, Indonesian super star status. I mean no one, not a single, solitary person in Singapore asked for a selfie with me. Outrageous.
We were berthed across the Johor Straits, a few hundred metres of dirty brown river, from Singapore in Malaysia's equally shiny Puteri Harbour Marina. The Puteri Harbour marina was surrounded by tower blocks comprising, we were told, fifty thousand apartments, all empty, all silently awaiting the completion of the rail link from oop north Malaysia to Singapore. Malaysia's grand plan to get a share of the Singapore dollar was, or is, to create the opportunity for folk to "earn in Sing', spend in Ring". Ring being Ringgits, Malaysia's currency. All that was needed was a slick commuter rail system. Only problem is, the rail link, depending on who you talk to, is either stuck in a political siding somewhere or been totally shunted off the "to-do" list. Somewhere there's probably a Fat Controller making a few bucks maintaining the status quo, keeping the dosh in Singapore. Gotta keep the funds coming in to keep the chewing gum ban enforced.
Getting to Singapore from Indonesia was interesting. The nautical equivalent of making a dash across a six lane freeway. On crutches. We made an early start. However, we might as well have been teleported as, after four months in the Indonesian archipelago where things were, shall we say, a bit rustic, landing amongst the high rises, neon lights and restaurants where you got such fancy things as a knife and fork and where beer cost more than a few baw-bees, it was quite the culture shock. Nice as it was, I'd take Debut, Bau Bau, Tifu or most of the other amazing places we visited in Indonesia over modern city life anytime. All these poor folk in blue suits, the uniform of the oppressed, striding purposefully, iPhone in hand, no doubt doing all these incredibly important, mission critical things that once seemed so important.
Ha! Try squeezing into a slot between a bunch of bulk carriers all doing fifteen knots. None with brakes.