Singapore

Trip Start Dec 29, 2005
1
6
25
Trip End Aug 20, 2006


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Friday, January 20, 2006

The warm humidity and lush green was nice compared to Shanghai's cold, but the nearly constant rain didn't help in getting out. Apparently the amount of rain from the past two weeks is absolutely unheard of in that area - global warming affects yet again... Our hotel was next to one of the large shipping docks, which provided a partial view of the world's second-largest port.

Singapore is a unique mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and to a smaller degree Arab cultures. Along with this, there is a distinct Chinatown, Indiatown, etc, with food and products of those countries. Chinese is spoken nearly as much as English. Rumored cleanliness and strictness of law enforcement seemed pretty accurate, but the locals have a bit of a sense of humor about it with souvenir slogans: Singapore is a fine city! $100 fine for not flushing a toilet, $500 fine for... After visiting Orchard Street, which is well-known as a major shopping center, a friend and I set our sites on seeing the surrounding countries, since Singapore is so small. Some of us took an afternoon ferry trip to the Indonesian island of Batam where we chatted with locals, ate Indonesian food, and looked in a couple shops. Beautiful green islands, but the rain was especially intense that night. Later, we took taxied north into Malaysia to see a cool waterfall swimming area. I only saw Malays after crossing the border, even at the waterfall resort. A little shopping was done in sort-of lean to shops there, then in the nearby city of Kotu Tinggi and a quick stop in the border town of Johor Baru. Indonesia and Malaysia were definitely much less developed than Singapore, but appealing in their own way. On the last night we all visited a Night Safari on Sentosa Island, which is apparently a famous Singapore site. A small train took us through a large park with all kinds of animals.

Our meetings, again, were very helpful in coming to understand the region in general and high-tech offshoring specifically. Among other things, we visited the US Embassy, heard from Lucent managers, and had another Intel guy come in as well as a very savvy, intelligent, and successful manager (and T-bird alum - yeah!) for one of the biggest facilitators of Asian economic growth, Li & Fung. If anything, the latter was intimidating as a reminder of the type of people in the talent pool. More networking yielded some great contacts.

We are leaving India tomorrow night for Thailand. Hopefully I can eventually find a blog that will compress pics for me, etc. India week pics are on their way.
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