Parliament House with City Hall in the background (dome). It is hard to believe that this is such a small nation. Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world after Monaco. It's population is 4 million and it is a true city-state. For those of you that do not know, Singapore is a small island at the very bottom of the Thai-Malay peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is also one degree above the equator, making the humidity here outrageous!
The famous Raffles Hotel. This old building is the temporary home to the most wealthy and luxurious travelers to Singapore...which is very evident by the car park in front: a circular ring of vehicles that all cost more than a large, American home. Raffles is also famous for inventing the Singapore Sling, a refreshing, mixed drink.
The Merlion...the lion is the symbol of the city. There is a plaque near here with a lovely story explaining how the merlion reresents how so many diferent people can come together on the island and prosper...which they have done quite well. Singapore is an extremely wealthy nation. The government is in control of almost everything, and the whole country is run like a corporation. The people suffer slightly from this in the area of personal freedoms, but from what I have seen so far, they don't mind at all and are quite happy. Last month, for instance, the government did quite well with its investing and was able to give a S$400 cheque to every Singaporean citizen...I wouldn't complain too much about that. Also, for Singapore's brightest minds, they can attend school wherever they want around the world totally cost free thanks to the government...only trick is that they have to work for the government for 6 years when they are done...but from what I heard, if you get this privelege, you are set to go and stick in there. Brilliant ideas like this one are direct results of having the nations most intelligent people working government jobs....how interesting is that?!? Singapore is also highly westernized...English is one of the four national languages and most people speak it fluently. Because of this, Singapore would make a great starting point for anyone that wants to see Asia, but is a little too intimidated by some of the massive cultural and language diferences.
Yet another example of the wealth and amount of money here in Singapore...this massive complex is just one of the many massive hotel complexes in the city, all of which cater to the thousands of international business travelers. Singapore was historically, and still remains a massive international market. Everywhere you go here, there are malls and shops and stores and restaurants and promenades...it is a massive consumer market of both international and domestic buyers and sellers.
Street in Chinatown. There are four primary districts in Singapore: CBD (central business district), Orchard St. (tons and tons of shopping...I cannot accurately describe just how much shopping there is on this one street...let alone all of the city), Chinatown (famous historically for its gambling, brothels, and opium houses), and Little India. It is possible to walk from area to area, and if it weren't for the oppressive humidity, walking the city would be an absolute joy!