Spotlights on cold concrete and traffic to the sky – that’s how I imagined Singapore. In my head it looked a lot like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
On the ground, in the real world, Singapore is no less fantastic. All it lacks are my noir imaginings.
It’s ultra clean and efficient. Public transit is everywhere. Green space abounds and crime can’t be found. The people are often nerdy, always friendly and seem genuinely happy.
They’re also hell-bent on racking up karma points. I’ve had stacks of invitations for dinner. One kid plopped a bag of groceries in my hands because I let him take a picture of my bike.
And the best one, the kicker of them all: a few days ago I caught two guys stuffing money into my pocket. I protested but they flatly refused to take it back. They told me to buy new bike parts and then had me follow them to the nearest shop, just in case I got lost.
All they wanted was a handshake and a photo.
After some of the places I’ve been it’s hard to fathom a spot like Singapore. But it’s here and very much rooted in reality. Good thing, too. These days, that’s exactly where we need it.
I’ve stayed for a week, camping on the beach, staring at the water. Now it’s time to go. I have a two-month visa for Indonesia and a ferry waiting in the morning.
Wish me luck!
p.s. Thanks to my friend Juay for creating the YouTube video. Very cute.