Monday, June 01, 2015

Spending More Money in Singapore

Story by. Ahmad Yani Hasti (Editor: Christopher K. Shon)

Finally, there came a day that I could travel overseas for the first time. The destination was in the neighboring region of Indonesia, called Singapore. It was on Monday, June 1st, 2015 and I only had one day to do this tour. Indeed, it was a tough, full-day tour, considering this strange nation was still new to me.

However, I felt quite lucky because I went there with some people who accompanied me to help me on my way. There were a beautiful woman, called Eka Darmayanti, and two other people who had previously traveled to Singapore. The two are a married couple, Mr. Irwan Sahala Tambunan and his wife, Mrs. Andi Pratiwi Bachtiar. Together with them, it became easy trip for me.


Photo by. Ahmad Yani Hasti – Model: Irwan Sahala Tambunan
Taken from Monday, June 1st, 2015 at Merlion Park, Singapore.
On arrival, I was fascinated to Singapore immediately. Singapore is a small island, but it’s been quite densely populated. Bustling activities here were combined with technological sophistications in the form of a subway system, cable cars and skyscrapers. But its natural environments were not ruled out so as to be added to the beauty of Singapore. There were several interesting gardens in the downtown area and some of quite large gardens at the airport area. Even on the streets of this metropolis, some leafy trees make the city green. It wasn’t surprising anymore that Singapore is also called as Garden City. Moreover, Singapore has a serious commitment to maintain its natural environment. Those who litter on the street would get quite an expensive fine for their offence. People who litter could be fined as much as hundreds to thousands of Singapore Dollar. In this case, they will lose a bunch of money that could be better used for fun, such as shopping.

There are more than a dozen of rules that you should know if you want to walk around this city. Probably you may not like these many rules applied in Singapore, but you should understand that all of these were made to create a comfort zone for visitors and, ultimately, provide the greatest benefit to the citizens of Singapore. Regularity, grandeur, security, and beauty were presented to make visitors feel more comfortable. All of these aspects made Singapore become one of the hottest destinations in the world.


Photo by. Irwan Sahala Tambunan --- I got photo shoot at Merlion Park, Singapore,
Monday, June 1st, 2015.
Singapore is a haven for shopping lovers. With so many malls magnificently built to sell lots of branded stuff as well as a variety of items, Singapore has become Shopping Paradise for tourists. Orchard Road is one of the places that you can’t miss. This is the one-way street that you will be connected directly to the station of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), an en masse transport service in Singapore. In Singapore, the MRT system in the form of trains with advanced engine and technology will allow you to reach to various destinations with ease.

Honestly, I was not really familiar with this MRT system so that it was not easy for me to use it. I have an advice for new people who would travel to Singapore, especially for people who only have limited time to travel this place. You need to get enough information about this place, about the MRT, and all the MRT routes that you will take to get to the destinations. But you should just ignore this, if you think that you will get lost in the system. I was lucky to be accompanied by the friends who are familiar with this system on the occasion of a day tour. Because it didn’t take long time for us to get to the places that we wanted to visit.

Photo by. Ahmad Yani Hasti --- My friends and I were going for shopping at the malls in Orchard Road, Singapore, Monday, June 1st, 2015.
Eka couldn’t wait any longer for shopping in Singapore. She was interested in buying perfumes and cosmetics. So, we hurried to take her shopping in Orchard Road. Formerly, Orchard Road was only an orchard, then turned into residential area, and lately, it has been transformed to an entertainment hub and the main shopping street of Singapore.

Only few minutes walking in Orchard Road will make you feel the privilege of shopping in Singapore. Here, tourists would feel the luxury of shopping at the malls with the tropical atmosphere around the streets at the same time. In Orchard Road, you can see malls after malls are adjacent to each other. However, the scene is magnificent and spacious. Each of them were built with a unique design. Inside the malls, all stores are very clean and tidy with good air conditioning system. While on the outside, you would enjoy the sunshine while the shades made by lush and green trees let the pedestrians feel cool. Even along the street of Orchard Road, you would find a variety of upscale restaurants and hotels in distinctive buildings.

Photo by. Ahmad Yani Hasti --- At Monday, June 1st, 2015 there were many people spending their money for shopping in Orchard Road, Singapore. It was a unique place for shopping. You will find some luxury malls and get the tropical atmosphere at the same time.
While shopping in Singapore, I felt money seemed to be talking. Here, money has power as it resolve all the problems of meeting your desires. So, while leaning on an outlet while the ladies were busy with shopping, Irwan and I had some chat and jokes. I could not forgot Irwan told me that, "Money is not everything, but without money we do not have everything."

In my home country, Indonesia, or other countries in Southeast Asia, the cheap stuffs are not difficult to find. Whereas it is quite different in Singapore, all cheap items seemed to be things of the past. But what we got were not really bad things. Rather, most of them are genuine stuffs from various countries, including popular brand items. Primarily in Orchard Road, there are so many kinds of stuffs are sold there, probably almost every stuff that you are looking for. Any types of new electronic gadgets, trendsetter clothing, popular cosmetics, perfumes, antiques and legendary stuff, artsy high furniture, fashionable accessories, and so on.

I thought it might be a loss if you visit Singapore and not spend your money here. At least you could buy small items that are affordable to you as souvenirs. If you had a lot of money when visiting Singapore for the first time, you should be tempted to indulge yourself to spend lots of money to buy luxury stuff and brand items here.

Merlion Statue: Icon of Singapore

Within a day while I was in Singapore, I went to Merlion Park twice. First visit to the park was before our shopping at Orchard Road. Second time was shortly before our leaving Singapore. On the first visit, I only felt that I needed to get there and take some pictures. If I didn’t go to Merlion Park and I took a few pictures beside Merlion Statue, the Singapore’s national icon, then it would feel bad for me. Merlion is known in Malay for sea lion and it was depicted as a creature with a fish’s body and a lion's head. A fish’s body is the representation of Singapore as a maritime and port city. At the ancient time, it was called Temasek in Old Java, which means sea town. While a lion's head is the representation of Singapore's original name, Singapura, it was known in Malay for lion city.


Photo by. Irwan Sahala Tambunan --- Usie (group selfie) nearby the Merlion Statue at Merlion Park, Singapore, Monday, June 1st, 2015.
I was not really satisfied with the pictures that I had taken during the first visit because previously the sun was too bright and made disturbing glare. On the second visit, it turned out be a fascinating view for me. That afternoon, Merlion Park was becoming increasingly more crowded, especially around the Merlion Statue. I later found that it wasn’t only tourists who packed this place, but many Singaporeans themselves came here. Some of them were cycling, some were walked, and not a few were just sitting around here, relaxing and chatting with their colleagues or their families.

It was fun being here, enjoying the sunset while waiting for the sun faded from the sky. Especially when started their lights. The most amazing and usually eagerly awaited was the light coming from the magnificent building and Singaporean proud called Marina Bay Sands. This hotel has various venues of entertainment. When it grew dark it would feature colorful lights that seemed to break up the night sky. All this flickering lights from the skyscrapers provided interesting views of nightlife in Singapore.

Food Party and Mini Conference on Food Hall

Singapore is known as a multi-ethnic state. The population is dominated by ethnic Chinese, then mostly Indian, Malay, and some other expatriates from all around the world. This certainly affects life in Singapore in all aspects of her culture, especially the food and the way of communication. Here you could see how the food is unifying different cultures. Restaurant or any food hall in Singapore is a place where various ethnicities are gathered. It serves various foods from different countries. Any place where people are eating was crowded with a diversity of people. You feel like to be at a party where the delicacy of many people find good foods, ranging from many kind of dish such as noodle, laksa, curry, rendang, etc. And you would find them fried, boiled, steamed, and simmered everywhere.

At lunch, we went into one of the shopping centers then passed through a door marked "Asian Food Hall". By the name itself, we could guess if this place serves various Asian foods. Unthinkable for me when I saw so many food lists on the menu, most of which we were unfamiliar. I ordered Ramyun Noodle. It was an instant noodle with orange sauce. It tasted very good and I lately knew its original name was Shin Ramyeon Noodle which came from South Korea. The price of these food halls offered was relatively cheaper than those on the Orchard Road area. It was only about 5-12 Singapore Dollars. Besides the food I ordered, there were still many other menus that I could choose in Singapore. There were various foods combined with the flavors of Chinese cuisine, Malay, and Indian spices. I was sure, this combination will enhance your passion of food.


Photo by. Ahmad Yani Hasti --- On Monday, June 1st, 2015, I ordered Ramyun Noodle at Asian Food Hall in Orchard Road, Singapore. It tasted very good.
Being in this food hall was likely to attend to a union conference of nations, but only in a small scale. The ways of communication by the visitors in the food hall gave me different feelings. From many sides, I heard Malay, Bahasa, Mandarin, Tamil, and Tagalog at once.

Even though the national language of Singapore is Malay, but in practice most Singaporeans use English to communicate daily, Mandarin by mostly Chinese, and Tamil by most Indians. Instead we also find a new different way spoken English by younger in Singapore. It is called Singlish or Singaporean English, it is an English with simpler structure while the language and its accent heavily influenced by other languages of ethnic groups in Singapore such as China, Malay, and India.

This language and cuisines in Singapore have been a powerful example on how every culture influence each other. It was a good thing for the foods to bring a unity among peoples. Restaurants and any food halls in Singapore could made it happen. And all of this would became truly appealing experience for us. You must trust me lah!

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