Singapore – Chinatown

           We stayed in Chinatown while in Singapore for two days. The streets are bustling with activity; food stalls, merchandise hawkers, workers, and tourists. We are in the minority as Americans, which surprises me. Is it because of the young American who was highlighted in the news years ago? He spray painted multiple cars in Singapore and recieved multiple lashes with a cane. Singaporeans know consequences are sometimes harsh; authorities do not tolerate misbehavior. Gum is illegal, littering carries a $500 fine (enforced), and cars older than ten years old must be sold due to minimize pollution.

         Authoritarianism aside, we fnd Singaporeans enjoy themselves in serious checker matches in a park. These men are playing american checkers, while nearby, Chinese checkers is played. John identifies the “referee” who watches each move like a hawk. Life is lived in community on the streets; unlike America where public spaces seem less utilized. It is the simplicity of daily life, checkers in the park, that informs me of the values of right behavior and a keen competitiveness of the Singaporeans.




One thought on “Singapore – Chinatown”

  1. Thank you for the lovely snapshot of life there. As I get ready for my Middle-Eastern adventure, this makes me anticipate it more.

    A couple of years ago an “Interfaith Rabbi” spoke at the Spiritual Direction conference in Denver and made a comparison of different methods of interfaith dialog by comparing them to candies scattered on our table centerpieces.
    1) Jolly Rogers. The speakers say “Every one is different all the way through, and BTW, ours is best!
    2) MnMs. The speakers say, “Oh the colors are different, but they all are really the same.”
    3) Tootsie Roll Pops. The outside really is different, and needs to be respected for its history, cultural context, etc. But those who go deep and get to the center find the same silent, peace-full, place full of compassion and ….

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