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attitude Travel Singapore: a resource for independent travel in Singapore

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Standing sentinel over the Straits of Melaka, Singapore is a thriving, bustling city-state, which exudes a confidence disproportionate to its size.

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Not that Singapore seems to have all that much time for backpackers. The network of streets connecting the 21st century cityscape dance to the brash tunes of commercialism, mass entertainment, finance and corporate presence. It's a world away from the Malaysian jungle just a couple of hours bus ride to the north.
 
But Singapore is an ethnic patchwork with an idiosyncratic character, which makes the city-state a worthwhile stopping off point en route to Malaysia or Indonesia. Here, traditionalism fuses with the extravagant technology apparent in the downtown shopping malls. And here alone, the curious and unique signs banning passengers from taking the foul-smelling Durian fruit onto the metro system with them.

"We must take over Singapore by any kind of means.
In short, Singapore is everything we could desire..."

Thomas Stamford Raffles,
British Colonial Administrator, 1819


 
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Memories of Singapore
© Marilyn Goh, Singapore, April 2003

It might be too impertinent to write that Singapore's history comes alive only when retold by the most imaginative soul. But spring a surprise question on the regular street-goer and you may find that Singaporeans don't quite know the details of the city's history themselves.

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Early sources report that a certain water town - Temasek - lay at the end of the Malay peninsula, and was later caught in the struggles between the Siamese Empire (Thailand) and the Majapahit rule in Palembang (Java, Indonesia). Malay annals describe the flight of a Sumatran prince in the 14th Century who accidentally landed here after a fierce gale at sea, and at the first sight of a red and black animal, conveniently named a Lion because his befuddled senses assumed so, was prompted to establish the land he stood on as the Lion City, or Singapura.
[ article continues... ]

Marilyn Goh is a travel writer based in Singapore.

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The Peculiarities of Singlish
© Marilyn Goh, Singapore, April 2003

Language purists might shudder when Singaporeans open their mouths to speak. Given the racial mix on the island, it should be no surprise that a certain dialect has developed in Singapore, and is still going strong.

Singapore skyline
Singapore skyline

Singlish, the unofficial language of Singapore, is a combination of words loaned from the Malay and Chinese language and inserted all too casually and too often into established English sentence structures, rendering it possibly incomprehensible to those who are not natives of Singapore.

Singapore skyline
Singapore skyline

This might be the reason why travellers find it difficult to understand this brand of English...
[ article continues... ]

Marilyn Goh is a travel writer based in Singapore.

Travel Articles on Singapore

The Peculiarities of Singlish
Article by Marilyn Goh

Down Singapore's Memory Lane
Article by Marilyn Goh

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