23 Dec 2007


Am in Singapore now visiting Rizal and Pohling. Repin, Shasha and I took the express bus from KL - Odyssey. The tickets were not cheap - RM95, but the bus ride was not bad. The seats were wide and there was also plenty of leg room. They even had individual entertainment units - to watch videos or play games. I read instead and passed the journey quite pleasantly. The bus stopped for a few minutes at Pagoh Rest area - see picture - and I think I even nodded off for a while. We were also provided with a light lunch on board, which came as a surprise. It took us about 4 hrs to reach Singapore. Since the bus used the second link, immigration check was a breeze. No queue at all!

This is my first real trip to Singapore since my RELC days! And that was years ago. Singapore has changed and yet much is the same too. I noticed alot of new places, but what I loved best about Singapore is still the same - the greenness, the old buildings that are so well-preserved and the efficiency of its transport system. Aah.. a note - it can't beat Japan where efficient transport system is concerned. There the trains run like clockwork!!

I have gone through various stages of feelings for this country. Once it was just an extension of Malaysia - you could go across as if you were going to the next town or city. Until 1965 that is. Then everything changed - you need a passport to go across - first a 'blue across the border' passport. And now an international one. AAh Singapore - once I loved it like my own hometown. But then it changed hands. It belonged to another who gave it a complete makeover so you did not look anything like the sibling you came from. And then I hated you. After that I thought of you as soulless - but that again has changed. Under the PM Lee Junior I find Singapore more appealing, more personal. There is a depth about it that is so truly Singapore. It has made itself I think into a completely different country that the moment you step into the country - at the border - you are reminded that you are in a foreign land. But I feel at home too so that there is no strangeness at all. The sounds and voices are as in my own country, the people look the same, even the food is the same. And yet it is different too. It has its own identity that is uniquely Singapore.

I really love the way they look after their trees - mostly mature now- looking as if they have been there for centuries instead of only a few decades old. KL wants to be called a garden city, but I think Singapore achieves that effortlessly. Most of the roads are tree-lined, not just young newly planted trees but really old and gnarled ones. There are also lots of flowering plants - hibiscus, bougainvilla, even orchids along most of the roads. In Malaysia when they planted orchids in Shah Alam, after one month most of the orchids had disappeared( guess to where) or had died due to lack of maintenance. Oh I could talk about lack of maintenance till the cows come home but maybe let's just leave it at that.

Rizal's apartment is situated so near the MRT we could walk there. It's also near to the market and there is a mosque nearby. Today we went to Mami Mila's place and visited Mama Hashim. Talking to him and looking at him helping around the house one would hardly think that he has the big C. He is so active and insisted on helping Mami in the kitchen. Later Rizal took Shasha and me to the City Hall shopping centre - its a huge place linked to other shopping centres underground. But when we compare prices in KL I realise that its so expensive inspite of the sale. So ended up not buying anything!

Sophia is getting more and more cheeky these days. Tonight she didn't want to sleep - crying out loudly when her mum tried to put her to bed but smiling cheekily the moment Rizal took her out of the bedroom. That girl can really be cheeky at times. Will post some pictures later after we upload them.

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