When I had landed at Changi, I had expected that I would be in this country for just about 45 days. But after multiple extensions, things have moved past 4 months and still counting. The best part about such extensions is that you get to know about the country, the people and the culture even better over an extended period of time. This would be way more than a tourist would know.
Normally when you are a tourist to Singapore, there are certain specific places you would visit. Whether it is Sentosa or Universal Studios or Marina Bay or even the Night Safari, these are some of the favourite jaunts of to – be tourists. But how many times would you go to the Arab Street to have some lovely Arabic food? How many of you would go to a nightclub to party? How many of you get a chance to see Little India during Diwali times?
Experiencing all this and much more gives one a great chance to seek a better and more deeper understanding of the people and the country in itself. After 4 months, I can very well say that though at times I still feel like a tourist, there are other times when I actually seem to know the directions to places better than many others.
Moreover, to understand the way the people think here, you need to spend more time as well as interact with them on a more consistent basis. Whether it is slogging till 4am at night or them being really hard working to complete various tasks, the Chinese (who are in majority) are so much like us Indians. They do go out on weekends but when it comes to work, you can literally make them sit at one place and get most of the stuff done.
But then if this is Indian, a lot of other stuff is European-isque. Whether it is the cleanliness or the maintenance of the roads, the orderliness in the MRTs and buses, people always follow all the rules. Because they know that if they don’t follow even one of them, the fines are huge. Add to that the stares people give to such offenders.
Interestingly, another side to Singapore are the old areas like Little India, Arab Street, Bussorah Street, Muscat Street, Baghdad Street, Geylang among others. With their narrow alleys or lanes, you would surely feel out of place in Singapore. Many of them were built about 50+ years ago. But they have constantly been revamped to prevent them from degradation. The government has also ensured that the old way charm of such places retains among the new concrete buildings coming up everyday. These places are quite popular in their own reason. Whether its Indian, Arabic or Authentic Chinese food or the excitement of finding one of your own, people do come to frequent such hotspots.
All in all, the times in Singapore have been awesome to say the least. And things go on!