FYI, if you happen to fly Cathay Pacific this month, we have a story in the inflight magazine, Discovery, on hip Singapore venues that blend old colonial architecture with sleek, modern design. To name a couple: the National Museum and the uber-popular shops and restaurants of Dempsey Hill.
I think Singapore gets a bum rap for having destroyed remnants of its vibrant past. But really, it has retained far more of its historical architecture than most cities in the region. Take a stroll and look around; Singapore far surpasses the concrete jumbles that dominate much of urban Southeast Asia. Plus, honestly, most historians will tell you that a “vibrant past” was also a stinky oneâ€”and an inefficient, unsustainable one. Just read about the days when the city’s streets buzzed with vendors and the waterways clogged with pollution. Some people lament the loss of open vending. But back then, the lifeblood of the cityâ€”its waterâ€”was unusable. Singapore relied on Malaysia for its water. Not so now. Decades of clean-up efforts have turned this city around. In the future: look for more waterside parks, boardwalks, kayaks and other ways Singaporeans integrate clean water into their daily lives.
No, I don’t quite understand the disparaging remarks about a modern Singapore. But more on that another day….