The Truth About Singapore
The tiny red dot
I guess I should explain what "the tiny red dot" means. Where I'm from, the locals refer to my beautiful home country as a "red dot" because of it's remarkable size on the map...it's remarkably small size. Singapore is approximately 699.1 sq km (adapted from http://www.singaporeexpats.com/about-singapore/facts-at-a-glance.htm) but what a lot of people don't know, is that it is a highly urbanised, thriving metropolis. I won't bore you with all the math and technicalities, but what I will tell you is that Singapore is a beautiful, tropical getaway, with the swagger of a concrete jungle, and the charm of a 46-year-old island. Let me break it down for you.
Long story short, Singapore was a British colony. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles established a British port on the island, thus making it a fast-growing shipping port back in the day. Fast-forward to World War Two, Singapore was occupied by the Japanese. But when the war ended, Singapore reverted back to British control. Singapore wasn't completely sovereign yet; in 1963, it was joined with The Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia. Due to civil unrest and chaos, to say the least ( I remember the pictures in my history books, they weren't pretty) Singapore split from Malaysia and became an independent republic in 1965. Fast-forward again, this time to the present: and Singapore is a thriving metropolis, boasting the bluest waters surrounding the beautiful marinas, all the while being adorned by the towering skyscrapers and the hustle-and-bustle that only a true doggoned city can exude. If you bother to read the history of this magnificent nation, you will see we've been through a lot. Singapore gained its independence swiftly on August 9th, 1965, but it faced a lot of uncertainties as a nation. That was four decades ago. Being only 46 years-old and already one of the richest countries in Asia, with the highest concentration of millionaires (adapted from http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/01/where-are-the-most-millionaires-next-door/) one has to be decidely oblivious to see that the fact is, Singapore has worked its way up in the world; a true "rags-to-riches" story indeed.
We are still growing as a nation, both figuratively and literally! I haven't been home in a couple of years, but from what my family back home has been telling me, the city has become more densely populated and there are, to quote my sister, "just too many damn people out in town"...haha. I think we're in the 5 millions range now. When I was home last, which was two years ago, the population count was under 4 mill. So do the math. I can't blame anybody who wants to migrate to Singapore; it's a beautiful place to be! Where else can you get the most exotic food, the craziest nightlife and club/bar scene, the hippest malls with the hottest stores and still manage to boast that tropical island allure? I think you'll be hard-pressed to find something like that anywhere else.
Okay, I think I'll conclude this part of my homesick rant about my gorgeous home country. On to Part Deux:
By now, you can tell I can probably go on and on about this breathtaking place called Singapore. I am, however, going to focus on one of my most fave topics ever: food!
Food in Singapore is diverse, exotic, strange, mouth-watering, gratifying...yes I can go on and on...but let's get to it, shall we?
Fave Singaporean food #1: Chicken rice! This dish consists of chicken and rice...duh. Haha, sounds simple enough, but once you've tried this you will want to understand how something so utterly simple-sounding can be so bloody good. This dish requires a labor of love; intense love at that! There's a lot of poaching and stirring and blitzing and chopping and slicing and who-knows-what. All I know is, at the end of it all, you are presented with a plate of chicken and rice gorgeousness..with a side of soup and chili sauce that will tingle your taste buds and leave you begging for more. You'll be playing guessing games with your palate; tasting ginger sometimes and then garlic and then spring onions and then a hint of vinegar and sugar from the sauce and then you take a sip of the boiling hot chicken broth and you get this spectacular chickeny, gingery, garlicky, spring oniony goodness...excuse me while I wipe the drool off the keyboard. Well at least I know what I'll be making for lunch tomorrow. Might even share the recipe with you, if you're good. *wink*
Right then, this concludes Part Two of me reminiscing all night of my home and the food I am missing so much. Tune in to Part Three, which I will write soon, as long as my son allows me, haha. He's three. Nuff' said.