I promised to send out my concluding thoughts on the countries as I usually do and then when I got back I consumed by the usual items and never did it. A reminder not to put things off but rather to just do them immediately. So here are my concluding thoughts:
1. I have never seen a nation of such slim people. The only overweight people you see are clearly foreigners. It must be something to do with what they eat because you don’t see them exercising much. The food they eat is pretty healthy. Hardly any fried food, very little starch. Even though Bryan made derogatory remarks about my weight, I actually lost 2 kgs while traveling in Asia. As I said, must be the food.
2. The women in particular are very thin. On discussing this with our branch manager in Singapore he said that if any of the female staff start putting on weight, the other female staff make lots of comments about it. Definite stigma attached to being fat it seems and the peer pressure is obviously effective.
3. Everything is clean. Everything works. Everything is organised. Some people think this makes it sterile. I love it. So no one litters, there is no underage sex or drinking allowed, no pornography, no visible sex workers (I am sure if you really look hard you can find some). Sterile? No, upright might be a better description.
4. It is hot and humid. You just step outside and you start sweating. You don’t have to even do anything. Just standing there. In comparison, inside is cooled to about 10 degrees C. The only reason you would wear a jersey in Singapore is to fend of the air conditioning.
5. Everyone speaks English. They took the decision back in the 70s that all schooling will be done in English. You can see how they have benefited from that.
1. You can tell it is an Islamic state straight away. From the Koran next to the bed, to the arrow pointing toward Mecca, to the Shariah police force. You can just tell it is a different place to Singapore. It felt more oppressive.
2. The people treat each other with disdain. There is a distinct class system. A few people told me that the Malays govern but the Chinese have the money. And within both the Malays and Chinese they have a system of class as well. It was noticeable and I didn’t like it. Goes against my view that we are all made equal.
1. This is the ultimate city of non-stop. It buzzes at whatever time of the day. It is busy, busy, busy. The airport never stops, the shopping never stops, the restaurants never stop. There is always a deal to be done. To me it is how Asia is. I love the place.
2. Despite it being a crazy place of activity, everything also works. You think it won’t be clean but it is. Smog is a problem though – even on a good day you can see the smog. That is the only thing I don’t like about the place.
So there you have it. You might realise that I really like Asia. Can’t wait to take the family there someday!