Sentosa and the Lunar New Year
Trip Start Nov 15, 2011
47Trip End Ongoing
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I will also mention the MRT or Mobile Rabid Transit system. In Canada, this would be our subway, in England the tube. What a gem of a system. They have 5 lines here in Singapore that criss-cross at different points
The escalators move at twice the speed that ours do. Everything is set up to really hustle people along. One train follows only a couple of minutes behind another. And the tracks are partitioned off from the waiting area by a wall of glass. When a train arrives, sections of this glass open up where the doors of the train are. In this way, no one has access to the actual tracks.
And finally I have to mention the courtesy aspect. I have ridden the subway in Toronto for over 25 years as a teacher going to and from work. Never have I seen such courtesy as they show here. Not only are the elderly always allowed to sit, but people trade seats so that couples can sit together. In a land with so many people living in such a small space, courtesy abounds or one is simply ostracized.
We spent the day of the 22nd, the eve of the New Year, at Sentosa, the giant flower garden down at the Harbour Front. The pictures tell the story better than words do - it is like a giant Disney World made out of flowers
Anyway, we did get a pic done in the heart of red roses or carnations. The arrangements are beautiful. We hustled back in the late afternoon to rest up for the evening festivities (it seems to rain every afternoon here in Singapore, like a steambath).
We headed out to Chinatown to celebrate the New Year. The colourful designs and arrangements were fantastic and most of the streets were blocked off and shut in preparations for a large parade. They had a stage set up for a live show and their were thousands of people all milling about and sitting on the streets in anticipation. However, it is nothing like our New Years Eve. None of the craziness and fun. The people are very disciplined and obedient - we saw very little drinking never mind drunkenness. The stage show was amateurish in nature and there really was not any sort of count down to mid nite. This is probably because New Years is not one day but a full week. There just did not seem to be the excitement that we are used to seeing in Times Square and Nathan Phillips and the like. However, this event is something much more sacred than just the putting up of a new calendar.
Everywhere we went, people are putting out offerings - fruit, oranges, small pits of things they are burning, incense. The New Year is much more than just an excuse to get wasted like it is in the western cultures. The Chinese shops and all closed for the week and we are told that if any open during this week, their families will shun them. This week in itself determines the fate or luck for the rest of the year so it is taken very seriously.
Very interesting watching all of this. Off to the bird park tomorrow.