Singapore Leg Part 2
27.07.2008 - 03.08.2008
While on board the MRT East West Line, I realized that about 1/3 of the route was built underground as the train sped up into an underground tunnel the same way that majority of the train lines in Hong Kong are also built underground. This really fascinate me as back home in Manila the only underground portion of our MRT is that less than half a kilometer stretch on Aurora Boulevard in front of National College of Business and Arts. Yet, 30 years ago, we considered Singapore and Hong Kong as economic laggards as we regarded ourselves as one of the leaders in the region. But the reverse is true today, we are left behind economically!
I got off at the MRT Tanjong Pagar Station and asked around for directions going to the Singapore Railway Station. It was only a 10 minute walk from the MRT Station. It was surprising because only a few Singaporeans knew where the Singapore Railway Station maybe because they have not been using the old locomotive train as means of transportation anymore. However, I decided to take this train for my trip to Kuala Lumpur the next day for security reasons. I felt safe traveling by train than by the faster bus. You see, the speed of the locomotive train is controlled while one will be at the mercy of the bus driver having control over the bus! By the way, there are al\so available flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via the Malaysian budget fare airline – Air Asia. This is of course more expensive than the bus or train fares but it is a lot cheaper than the fares of the other airlines.
After completing my booking for the train trip to Kuala Lumpur, I took a bus to the Harbour Front still using my EZ-Link card! I window shopped at the Vivo City – a big mall in the harbour area. It is a big mall that houses famous expensive signature shops. It has an area that provides an overlooking view of the harbour and the Sentosa Island Resort. I enjoyed watching the view of the cable cars that runs from the Sentosa to the mainland, the train line and the passing ships.
I went back to my Hostel using the bus and MRT line. I always consider an efficient public transport system as a key indicator of the economic status of a country. I have to admit, our country is way behind in this aspect. While even during rush hour (5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) the MRT trains and busses in Singapore are not crowded, in Manila, it is normal to see a crowd of MRT passengers on the stairs fighting their way to the ticket booths.
I slept soundly in my room at Frankel Hostel. I woke up late and after I packed up my baggage and had placed it in an unlocked storage room I took the MRT train to Orchard Road. I had breakfast in a Mc Donald’s restaurant in front of the Standard Chartered Bank. My Mc Do breakfast was only 5.90 SGD. While I was sipping my coffee, I enjoyed the sight of the pigeons and myna waiting for their chance to swoop down on the left-overs. Poor Mc Do waiter all he can do was to spray the birds with the water sprayer to drive them away!
I spent the rest of the afternoon window shopping on the malls along Orchard and the nearby areas. I returned to the Frankel Hostel to pick up my luggage from the unlocked Storage Area. Without anybody manning the reception area, and the storage room was unlocked, nobody touched my luggage which I left behind. I took the MRT train again to Tanjong Pagar Station to catch the KTM Train for Kuala Lumpur. While on the MRT train before it finally went underground, I took a last glimpse of the scenery of Singapore – clean, orderly, beautiful, peaceful and more importantly a real strong economy.
(Note: This easy reading article and more are also posted in my blog. Visit it regularly:www.inbetweentakes.com)
To be continued…