The City as an Impetus of a Deadly Sin


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If Singapore is a deadly sin, I would name it Envy because of the feeling this city stirs in me every time I step on its soils. The mall-like atmosphere of Changi Airport, tree-lined highways with flowering plants in the middle, and the harmonious fusion of modernity, nature and tradition all contribute to this.

“Singapore is very small. But there are many things to do here” – this is what the taxi driver told me while we made our way to Grand Copthorne during my first visit in the country. He was driving a Hyundai Sonata, and the taxi to our left was a Mercedes.

I’m from Manila and I love my city (to me, she has a unique charm) but will you ‘judge’ me if I get envious of Singapore?

I wonder if visitors from Tokyo, Hong Kong or New York ever feel the same way I do.

In this context, I think the Dan Brown character is ‘correct’ in identifying Manila as ‘gates of hell’. Not because of the poverty, prostitution and traffic jams she mentioned. But because of the ‘sin’ my city makes me ‘commit’ every time I visit Singapore.    🙂

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I saw this bird on my way up the hill going to Henderson Bridge.

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4 Responses to The City as an Impetus of a Deadly Sin

  1. James says:

    Beautiful photos as always, James! That’s an interesting take on your experience in Singapore …being so well-kept and green, it’s not hard to see why many cities (particularly around Asia) would be envious. Coming from Hong Kong, there is a long-running rivalry with the Lion City but I think that’s probably because the two places are so similar.

    While they’ve been trailblazers in heritage and environmental protection – something I wish Hong Kong took far more seriously early on – there isn’t a lot that really makes me envious. Hong Kong has grit, and I love the fact that parts of the city look straight out of a video game, especially after nightfall. One of the joys of living here is the fact that you have so much crammed together in such a tiny space – forests of skyscrapers, hiking trails on mountains up to 900+ metres high, secluded beaches and over 200 outlying islands.

    Singapore was once famously described as “Disneyland with the Death Penalty”, so I can imagine people there would want to shake off their reputation as a boring, sterile place. So that would explain the construction of Universal Studios, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and all those newfangled attractions. I haven’t visited in a long time (15 years in fact!) so I’d love to go back and see how much Singapore has changed – people tell me it’s a lot busier, more lively and with a decent art scene. Of course I can’t discount the personal connection either… I was born in Singapore so there’s a part of me that will always be Southeast Asian. 🙂

    • Interesting comment, James – especially that bit about being born in Singapore :). I agree with you about Hong Kong having grit…and SG having the ‘sterile’ reputation. It is also maybe because of this (subconsciously maybe, because I also enjoyed in Singapore) that if I will have to choose between these two cities, I won’t think twice – i’ll choose Hong Kong.

  2. Bama says:

    I remember how I felt during my first visit to Singapore more than 2 years ago: Envy. 🙂 I went to Manila a few months afterwards and felt an instant connection due to its similarities with Jakarta. So I can understand how you feel towards the Lion City, I guess. Anyway, I love the angles you used for taking some of the pictures. Nice shots!

  3. I hope to feel an ‘instant connection’ with Jakarta when I visit March next year. 🙂

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