Sunday, 1 May 2011

Singapore-lah Part 1

My eldest and only brother finished his Degree in Architecture at IIUM recently. He is going to be a real architect soon! Talking about architecture, it reminds me of my trip to Singapore last November. It’s a good coincidence for my brother to have a leave on the same week that I have my holidays. So, this chance was taken by my family to get out together before I fly my way to Korea.

DSC00767 by Azahar Mansor (Sony NEX-3)

It was a chilly 18th November morning, my family and I woke up early in the morning before the sun rises on the horizon and got prepared. In the cold morning air as early as 8.00 am we arrived at Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur to catch an Aeroline bus straight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. The bus was a yellow double decker bus, built by the world renowned Swedish manufacturer, Scania. Their buses and trucks are recognized to be one of the best in the world, thus I was expecting a smooth 4 hour ride ahead. A few moments before 9.00 am we threw our luggage into the belly of the Scandinavian beast and boarded the bus. There was a lanky, dark skinned male 'steward' welcomed us on board and checked our tickets as we climbed our way onto the second floor. The first floor of the bus looks like a lounge, complete with sofas and a coffee table. The atmosphere was luxurious as the cabin was decorated with lavish grain wood finishing and the sofas are wrapped elaborately with beige leather.

This is the high life, I thought. Then I proceeded to the second floor, the seats were normal bus seats but they were large. The large chairs are arranged according to a 1-2 seat arrangement, which means that every row has only 3 seats. The atmosphere was as lavish as the first floor, and the comfort level of the seats defeats the ones in Airbuses and Boeings. Probably the RM180 round trip fare would be worth the price. Precisely at 9.00 am the bus driver fired up the engine and we hit the road on Ampang Avenue towards the North-South Highway. IT WAS A NIGHTMARE! The engine noise reverberates throughout the cabin, giving passengers a 9.9 Richter scale tremor and I could see small tsunamis forming in my 500ml mineral water bottle. The tremors and aftershocks was dampened for a while when we stopped over somewhere north of Johor for a toilet stop. One hour later we crossed the Johor Strait using the Second Link Bridge and then went through customs checks through a Customs and Immigrations Checkpoint on Singaporean soil.

We disembarked at Vivo City, which is a shopping mall located near to Sentosa Island. Then we head straight to our hotel near Mustafa Centre. Mustafa Centre is famous for its rows of Indian food restaurants. So practically sitting here eating roti canai felt the same as how it would felt in Malaysia. Since it is still early we decided to take a close look at the state-of-the-art Marina Bay Sands. The building is an iconic skyscraper built to be the new icon for Singapore. It is actually three skyscrapers linked with a skybridge on the top, making the design a memorable statement of art and an amazing feat of engineering. Moshe Safdie, a Palestinian born architect designed the building to look like a ship, appreciating Singapore as one of the world’s major ports. Malaysia had an icon that combines a pagoda with an Islamic geometrical design which is once the world’s tallest building and still the tallest twin towers, which is the Petronas Twin Towers. It put Malaysia in the attention of the globe. Well, Singapore couldn’t afford to be left behind. The Marina Bay Sands is a complex of luxury hotels, shopping mall, and a casino. The interior design is not very far to what we see in Pavilion KL, where the atmosphere is for people hanging Gucci handbags on their arms, flamboyantly swaying around their credit cards, buying stuff unimaginable for people like us, in boutiques as shiny and cleverly crafted as a Mont Blanc fountain pen.

"Marina Bay Sands" by Adzrin Mansor

An exaggerated hyperbola isn’t it? It’s fun to write though. Continuing into the story, we also had the chance to hop on the Singapore Flyer which is one of the best ways to enjoy the view of the harbour at an elevated perspective. It boasts as the world’s largest Ferris wheel and it is seriously tall. The view from the cylindrical air-conditioned capsule was magnificent as we can see the city from its best point of view. There was also an amphibian vehicle ride called the Harbour Duck Tours where passengers are taken on a scenic route around the downtown enjoying the British Colonial history of the city. Then it plunges into the smelly green waters of the harbour, taking a detour near the Merlion while enjoying the views of the Marina Bay Sands.

South East Asians are united because they hail one king, the durian. The Esplanade is something like the Sydney Opera House, a place where people from the performing arts industry, well, performs their arts. The building is designed by a pure Singaporean together with a London based architect firm, and it takes the shape of the durian shell. The ground where it stands is a ‘crow’s nest’ for photographers taking pictures of the Singaporean cityscape. I am not a photographer with an exquisite DSLR camera but still the view is not to be missed. I mounted my camera on a tripod, with a F2.8 aperture and shutter speed of 4 seconds, I took the following photos.

"Singaporean Skyline" by Adzrin Mansor
"Marina Bay Sands Night View" by Adzrin Mansor

We also visited Sentosa Island which is a favourite family holiday spot for locals. There was a newly opened Universal Studios theme park but the rides are still limited so we decided to just take a look around. The small island was a little hilly and there was a downhill cart ride, a ski lift and theme parks. I also got the chance to try my skills on a Segway which was a bit tricky to conquer. There were also groups of small Malay teenagers, probably around 14 years of age I thought. The boys were dragging cans of alcohol around while the girls wear scantily. Come on guys, you’re still too young for that stuff. It gives an impression of it’s the Malays who seemed to rule the low life in Singapore.

-Part 2 available, click here-

1 comment:

Suza said...

wah lawa giler gmbr !

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