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My Malaysian Affair - Chapter 1
Singapura - So Easy to Enjoy; So Hard to Forget
Stepping off the plane into Changi Terminal 2 in Singapore, it was the extreme warmth which made the biggest initial impression on me. Like a heat fan it hit me, and though the airport was air conditioned, it was considerably warmer than my home town of Dunedin. Dunedin has been my home for sixteen years now, having immigrated here with my family when I was only three and a half years old. Coming to Singapore for the first time, I knew that the two months I would spend in Malaysia and Singapore would be completely different from everything I had ever been used to in Dunedin.
Living in a non-Muslim country all my life, and embracing Islam whole heartedly two years ago, the nicest thing for me about being in a country with many Muslims was firstly being able to hear the call of athan, and secondly being able to see Muslim men and women in the streets.
For any stranger to a Muslim country, the most peculiar sight is always the one of Muslim women fulfilling their obligation of wearing an hijab and respectable clothing. For myself, that was no different, and the sight of many hijabs as I walked through the airport, as well as men wearing Muslim caps, made me very emotional, and feel much at home immediately. I knew that this was a place I really belonged to, a place where there were Muslims. Singapore felt more like "home" to me, than my home for sixteen years in Dunedin.
My five days in Singapore were hot and humid, however still pleasant. Especially comforting was again seeing the many hijabs worn by women in Singapore. The country is very organised, and extremely clean. Strict law enforcement ensure that this country is the cleanest and one of the safest countries in the world. The people were friendly, and the food was great. They call Singapore the food capital of the world, and after my experience, I would have no doubts. The sheer choice and variety is what makes Singapore dining such a delightful experience, and the food is reasonably priced, considering Singapores high standard and cost of living. In few other places in the world will you be offered such variety of authentic ethnic food as Singapore: Malay, Indian, Chinese, European, among others.
Singapore has many parallels with my birthplace Hong Kong, among them is that both have an efficient Mass Rapid Transport system, or MRT. These underground trains can take you around in very little time, and are usually comfortable to ride. However compared to Hong Kong, Singapore is much more organised, and life is not as hectic as in Hong Kong. I had always thought that Singapore would be like an "upper class" Hong Kong, and I think that is a fair description.
Leaving Singapore was sad for me, but I was comforted by the fact that I would return later on in my journey