A fortnight in Singapore
Its been more than 15 days since I landed in Singapore. Going to new place and getting used to the environment there is always a different experience altogether. Getting to know the people and the culture and to adjust yourself is a big challenge. Here I am trying to summarize my experiences so far in Singapore.
Singapore so far
The overall city / country is very small. I think even Bangalore is bigger than this place (at least the traffic situation in Bangalore makes you feel so incase its not bigger). The moment I landed in Singapore I could see greenery all around. The climate is more or less similar to Goa in terms of temperature and humidity. All these days it has been raining on and off. Although it rains for few minutes during the day most of the days are bright and sunny.
The best thing I have found so far is the public transport system. So far in my lifetime this is the best public transport I have come across. You can traverse the whole of Singapore in less than an hour. The train system which is commonly called as MRT runs along multiple lines. You have visible road signs telling about the nearest MRT station. All the stations are well connected with the bus services.
Currently there is no MRT station nearby to my office so the business city developer has a shuttle service for the employees at regular intervals from office to the nearest MRT which is called Harbourfront. . Even if there was no shuttle service it would have been very convenient to get to office from the MRT station. Another good thing is the ease with which you can hop on from the MRT to the bus services using a single card called EZlink card. These are pre paid cards. Initially you need to buy the card once by paying one time fee. And then keep topping it up. At the entry and exit points of MRT stations as well as buses have devices connected which display the fare for the current trip and the currency remaining in the card.
Having been to UK for a short duration I tend to compare the infrastructure in Singapore to that of the UK. It is similar in many ways but I think here it is lot more organized. The people are very friendly here. The place is very safe and secure. Its as if all the information is available at your fingertips. You can walk into an MRT and find the direction to go to your destination from the current place. You’ll see signs everywhere directing you to take the necessary directions.
Even at the bus stops you can find loads of information regarding the buses that ply to and from that point. This information also indicates how much distance is between the point where you are standing and other bus stops.
The people here are very friendly. You can approach anyone for help and its very rare that some one will not help you. You find lot of shopping centres everywhere. You can find all types of items in these places. Finding food is not at all a problem. You can find food courts catering to all types of food nearby to shopping malls and residential areas. You can get all types of food here including Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai etc. All the major fast food players have presence here like McDonalds, PizzaHut, KFC, Burger King. You have coffee shops and finding a Starbucks outlet is not a problem. And not to forget Subway is also there. Every time you walk by the side of a food court you get a distinct smell. Its an aroma of various things being serve at the food court. Its difficult for me to describe it but usually it takes some time for people to get used to the unique food court smell.
The place is filled with greenery all around. Its hard to find a piece of land which is not green. Wherever you go you can find lots of trees and grass. The city is very clean. You can hardly find anything lying around. All the information is available online and internet penetration is one of the highest. You can find lots of people everywhere making the most of their time using smart phones. The days are slightly longer and you can see sunlight until about 7-7:30 PM. That might be the reason people tend to work between 9 AM to 6:45 PM. Before coming to Singapore many people had warned me about the extended working hours and work culture being worse that India. So far I haven’t experienced anything of that sort. May be its too early to comment as well. I’ll revisit that point after few months.
Another thing to note here is everything here is linked to your identification ID which is based on the type of pass you hold. It could be an employment pass for working professional or student pass for students or equivalent of that for permanent residents. Wherever you go you’ll be asked for it. For taking a postpaid phone connection, getting a house on rent, set top box for TV, opening a bank account, getting a broadband connection etc etc. Anything and everything is linked to your IC.
So far the only problem I have found is getting the right kind of accommodation. This is a universal problem in any city you go. All in all its been a wonderful feeling here in Singapore. May be the fact that I landed here during holiday season also helped me a bit. Usually when you go to a new country you find problem commuting. My previous experience in UK definitely helped me here as the MRT is similar to the tube network in UK. I did not face any difficulty so far and doesn’t look like that will be a major concern with regards to commuting between places. I am liking this place so far.
Until next time Happy Programming