Singapore: Good and Bad

It’s 3rd day of my 3rd trip to Singapore.

Because my aunt currently lives here with her family, my parents and I have made an effort to come out as much as possible and exhaust my aunt of her generosity. Whenever we come, we find ourselves eating as much as possible, and when we aren’t, we are looking up restaurants and bars we should visit the next day. Singapore, as a business hub, features a wide variety of different cuisines from all over the world– Indian, Malaysian, Italian, French, German. You can honestly find it all.

Aside from the food, there’s a lot to be said about the architecture and the city itself. It’s very smartly planned; I don’t know anything about city planning and architecture, but every building is constructed so that you can see it in its best form. Does that make sense? Essentially, the buildings are located so that everything flows cohesively. Nothing really looks out of place.

And Singapore puts a lot of emphasize on being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious. The city boasts lush gardens across town and even on buildings. Trees are abundantly planted, and the Gardens by the Bay attraction is not only impressive architecturally but also holds an environmentally practical purpose.

But despite the impressive displays Singapore attempts to put on, there are so many issues within the city. I realize that no country is perfect or even close, but Singapore has problems that are relatively manageable and easy to fix, if enough people were to back them up.

  1. Not as eco-friendly as it appears. Even though Singapore holds very strict rules to public waste management (i.e. no littering, no smoking), there is little to control the household waste management. The lack of regulation and concern is sickening and ironical, given the city’s focus on environmental-friendliness. There is no widely-established recycling system in the households or the city.
  2. Surrounding countries are worse off. Countries like Cambodia and Malaysia are significantly worse off than Singapore. Singapore, as the richer country, offers large sums of money for its trash to countries like Cambodia. Trash leads to so much land waste, pollution, and multiple health problems.
  3. Huge divisive line between rich and poor. In the center of Singapore, huge skyscrapers line the streets, and name brand stores like Cartier and Louis Vuitton are abound. Drive about 30 minutes in any direction, and you reach the outskirts of Singapore. It’s obvious how different this area is compared to center-city. Smaller apartments, littering on the streets, a nasty odor wafting through the air. This is where the poor Singaporeans, Malaysians live. Go into any nice apartment complex, and you’ll see nice air conditioning vents everywhere. Head into the kitchen and laundry rooms, and they disappear. This is where the maids work and live. Often, the main rooms are incredibly small and located outside with no air conditioning. How is anyone expected a work a full day and live in a space with no adequate cooling system?

    650
    small maid’s quarters

Singapore is a great place, don’t get me wrong. But it seems like it’s only that way, because I have the resources that privilege that make it a great vacation spot. Implementing a city-wide recycling system is difficult but not impossible, which can eliminate the selling waste to poor countries problem as well. There shouldn’t be such a disparity between the rich and poor neighborhoods, everyone deserves to live in clean communities.

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