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Singapour my love

2010 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018

  1. Puce Discovering Singapore is like living a love story: we meet by chance at a stopover, we are captivated, we observe each other, we discover each other a little more, then try to know each other better, we let ourselves surprise, we take pleasure to be together, we attach, we do not want it to stop.

After long days of walking, bus and metro:

(2010-2016-2017-2018) MRT Chinatown.

Chinatown of extraordinary richness of ethnic, architectural, cultural particularities, the very special atmosphere of a holiday city (tourists circulate in skidders, shorts and flip-flops).

The majority of tourists congregate in a square bounded by New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road, which surround Sago Street, Trengganu Street, Smith Street, Temple Street, Pagoda Street, Mosque Street, and Cross Street.

This square is the Mecca of souvenir shops, junk gadgets made in China and junk foods.

This is the largest concentration of beer bars and restaurants for tourists offering a fat cooking, packed with flavor enhancers, based on crabs, shrimp, pork, chicken, sausage, bacon, rice and noodles.

Not to be confused with foodcenters or hawkers, which are popular dining stalls to discover, these are the best places to enjoy local cuisine at very good prices: Chinatown Complex and Maxwell road Hawker center.

Once out of this "seaside" agitation, the glance can be put on more interesting things: Sago st where all the day players of checkers and chess players young and old succeed one another.

Mosque st, Upper Cross st, where you can see traditional Chinese pharmacies with their infusion copper tanks, jars of powders, herbs, and dried animals. Delicious little infusion of chrysanthemum.

Smith st and his stores specialize in kitchen accessories, domestic or professional.

Out of curiosity one can discover a great store of exclusively Chinese items apart from perfumes. From cosmetics to furniture, clothing, crockery, household items, food, China comes in 5 floors at Yue Hwa, 70 Eu Tong Sen st.

A few meters on the same sidewalk The Majestic, Chinese opera built in 1927 by the wealthy owner Eu Tong Sen for his wife who was a fan of Cantonese opera.

In the background, a green and yellow building: the 31-storey People's Park Complex was one of the largest shopping centers in Asia in the 1970s. Partly affected by a fire in 2010, it was renovated.

At the corner of Southern Bridge Rd and Temple St is the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple dating from 1827, with the shrill sounds of shehnai (Indian oboe) and its colorful gopuram, it attracts the curious. Nothing amazing when you saw the temples of southern India.

At the corner of Southern Bridge Rd and Mosque St., the small Jamae Masjid green-jade mosque dating from 1826 attracts the same curious people. There is much better in town.

  1. The highlight of Chinatown is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (free), with a main entrance on Southern Bridge Rd and a secondary entrance aft on Banda St.

Built between 2005 and 2007 at the instigation of Shi Fa Zhao, according to the Tang Chinese style it owes its name to the fact that it holds the left Buddha's canine, which would have been recovered from the funeral pyre of Kushinagar and would have been found in a stupa from Burma in 1980.

We see and feel that it is a place that drains a lot of money, and gold.

- The ground floor includes various spaces of meditation. The walls are adorned with altars each with different representations of Buddha and thousands of tiny niches representing the ancestors of donor families.

A large, richly decorated room serves the services that are held several times a day, which can be attended.

The doors to access the floors are outside on the facades of Sago street and Sago lane.

- On the first floor is the mezzanine which allows to attend the offices at height. It is also the Madame Tussaud museum of the monastery with wax reproductions, life-size, prominent religious who have had a relationship with this community.

- On the second floor is a museum and a reception room. Statues, various objects, donations from different Buddhist countries, as well as different "chapels" with their symbolic objects.

- On the third floor the room of the ancestors tablets: the walls are covered with plaques representing the dead of families who have paid for their name to appear there. There are tablets at 6,000 SGD, at 8,000 SGD, at 25,000 SGD, at 30,000 SGD. Ancestral worship is a big business.

- On the fourth floor, a small but uninteresting souvenir shop, but a superb meditation room at the end of which is a huge window containing the stupa which contains the relic of the tooth, which can be seen, a few meters away, on the support of the stupa in solid gold which protects it.

Seen a few steps from the window that protects it, it is difficult to imagine this tooth in a human jaw, it is about 7 to 10 cm long! In the room a flat screen allows to see it more closely thanks to a video camera hidden in the stupa. Same observation, it seems impossible to believe that this tooth belongs to a man. Even assuming that the long gray piece that prolongs it is a piece of jaw or a support, the white part that would be the crown of the tooth can not belong to a human being, so much is it important. As for Sri Lanka, I am not convinced by these stories of Buddha's teeth. Which does not detract from the beauty of the temple.

- On the fifth floor, the roof and its garden. Still tiny niches, and in the center the pavilion containing the prayer wheel: Vairocana Buddha Prayer Whell, whose particularity is to be realized according to the cloisonné method.

Appropriate clothing is taxed and loaned to stripped vacationers before entering the temple.

  1. Second highlight of Chinatown, this time abandoned by the majority of tourists: the Chinatown Heritage Center (15 SGD), in Pagoda st.

Chinatown Heritage Center retraces the conditions of travel and life of millions of men and women who left China to flee misery, epidemics, natural disasters, persecutions, from the late 19th to the mid 20th century. Several thousand have landed in Singapore until China declares illegal emigration.

All were not bankers, traders, planters, businessmen, even though many of them became so.

When the plantations, factories and ports of South-East Asia needed labor, coolies, mostly Asian traders made big profits by recruiting or capturing sinkheh and selling them to employers. One do not talk about slavery!

We all remember (thanks to Tintin's adventures) those coolies recognizable by their shaved heads and long pigtail in the back. Some Malaysian employers cut their pigtails and forced them to be circumcised.

They lived in deplorable material and health conditions, with hygiene problems leading to significant mortality.The majority of these migrants were men.

Chinatown Heritage Center exhibits on three floors a very concrete way how these migrants lived.

In a shophouse whose ground floor was occupied by a tailor and his apprentices, lived on the different floors many people, sharing boxes (cubicles) furnished in a rudimentary way.

They (they) were often 4 or more per box, sharing the same bed. A common kitchen was on the landing, the toilet being in the kitchen.

In these "cubicles" there was a traditional doctor and his family, at the time when medicine did not belong to the aristocracy yet, there also were majie, domestic or maids, or childcare who had done vow of celibacy to devote themselves body and soul to employers, the is a family of 8 members whose father worked in the factory, and the mother was a seamstress, a clog maker, a carpenter, a hawker (street vendor) and her children, who prepared dishes to sell at the market to survive.

There were Samsui women, a community of supportive women from Guangdong who also vowed celibacy. They are robust women, brave, at the limit aggressive towards men, who did hard work.

Low paid, they were poor and lived in poverty in order to send the little money they had to their families in China. Their solidarity allowed them to hold and share. They often occupied a "cubicle" and a bed with several.

Many took part in the construction of Singapore's buildings, and even the construction of the first subway lines until 1980. Others worked in factories and plantations.

They were recognizable by the particular red headdress they wore and their indigo blue clothes. They were about 2000 in 1940. Very few of them are still today between 85 and 95 years old. Not drinking alcohol, not taking drugs or having family responsibilities, they were often more reliable than men.

In these cubicles also lived coolies and trishaw riders who took turns to sleep according to their working hours.

As museum say "In Chinatown, it was not unusual to build one's fortune on the misfortunes of others. To keep the sinkheh under their thumb, the employers did not hesitate to encourage them to indulge in opium and gambling".

In 1848, 3/4 of the Chinese population of Singapore was in opium addiction which was legal and brought a lot of money back to the state and the merchants. Opium became illegal under the Japanese occupation.

There were clandestine opium dens in Chinatown until the 1980s.

In a city largely dominated by men, where Asians have a strong propensity to use women as objects of pleasure, a large trafficking of Chinese and Japanese women fed the "brothels" of Singapore that were numerous in Chinatown, Tao Payoh, Kreta Ayer. The purchase or removal of girls for brothels has made many traders very rich.

Secret societies (between mafias and clans) controlled every aspect of life, from vices to honorable business.

The sinkheh did not have much choice when they arrived: if they wanted to be protected, find work, housing, have funerals in case of death, they had to join a secret society, some of which went up to practice ritual killings to impress and dissuade their adherents.

One might think that all this happened a long time ago ... it began at the end of the 19th century and continued until the 1950s / 60s.

The living conditions of the sinkheh were such that the government had to put in place a protection plan.

Health, education, security, cultural development have been put forward, to achieve what we see today.

We end the visit with culture and education, religious holidays, Chinese opera that allowed this population to emancipate gradually while keeping their roots intact. An exciting tour, thanks to an individual multimedia guide in our language.

The visit of this museum connected us to a reality that we are not ready to forget. May be we coasted in the streets, in the hawkers, the elderly who may have belonged to these sinkheh.

Looking up to admire these buildings, we  think of these Samsui women who participated in their construction.

When we see all the wealthy people driving big cars in the city we can not stop thinking that some owe their fortune from relatives who have trafficked people, drugs or exploited workers.

Discovering what Singapore was fifty years ago, we realize the speed and power with which this state has developed.

Singapore has achieved in 50 years what we have spent centuries developing.

Starting from a city where health problems were omnipresent, they have the best hospitals in the world. Starting from an insecure city, Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. Starting from an immigration from disadvantaged backgrounds, they have developed the best educational system in the world, the students of Singapore have the best academic level of the world.

We no longer see Singapore in the same way, thanks to the Chinatown Heritage Center

Around Chinatown

Kreta Ayer neighborhood (2016-2017-2018), very interesting at the architectural and photographic level, with streets and two-storey shophouses on a background of impressive skyscrapers: the Keong Salik road and its small Sri Lankan Hindu temple Sithi Vinayagar, or the Potato Head restaurant and its various sandwiches, the Kreat Ayer road and its pretty shophouses that are not yet transformed into shops, some of which have pretty little balconies, 300 meters from Maxwell road Hawker Center, one of most popular restaurants.

The Baba House, 157 Neil Road. MRT Outram Park. Cross New Bridge Road, and take Cantonnement road (pass Police Cantonment complex) until Neil Road, take on the right, to No. 157.

Baba means father in Chinese. It's the father's house. A peranakan house that externally has nothing more than the other peranakan houses in the city. Its particularity is that one can visit the interior remained intact as if the occupants had left only yesterday, provided that one made a reservation on line (10 SGD) see calendar and availabilities

The shape of the house, its architecture, the massive furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl, the decoration, the layout of the rooms, the interior courtyard, the altars of the ancestors make one think of the narrow houses that one visits in Vietnam, in Hoi Anh in particular, but also in Hanoi. Apart from the external appearance, we did not detect a peranakan signature.

The neighborhood of this house is interesting: completely forgotten by tour guides, Spottiswoode Park road, Everton road are filled with one-story + attic houses, gay colors that seem to have crossed the time to testify to the peranakan soul. We do not tire of observing the peculiarities of each. To which is added the painted ripe by Yip Yew Chong.

We discover the social housing of Everton Park, recognizable on their HLM side with their clotheslines hanging on the windows and the linen that floats like flags.

Families with children can return to Outram Park to discover an exciting interactive exhibition on healthy living and organized health in hospitals that abound in the area: Health Zone Level 2 Health Promotion Board 3 Second Hospital Avenue 168937 (Adult 3 SGD child and senior 1 SGD).

Information, explanations, tests, video games, everything is done to help understand how the human body works, how it can be harmed and how to maintain it to be and stay healthy. An effective teaching tool that is darn lacking in France.

Telok Ayer (2016-2017-2018) MRT Telok Ayer

At the beginning of the street, Fuk Tak Chi Museum, 70 Telok Ayer st, an old temple, turned into a museum. You could see the reconstruction of different scenes of life of the time, with the objects of time. There is not much left of the museum, a bronze fisherman statue, a model representing life on the docks, a junk model! Much of the museum has been rehabilitated as part of the modernization of the neighborhood: hotel, bars restaurants.

We then go up the street to the corner of Amoy st, very beautiful murals by Yip Yew Chong at the back of Thian Hock Keng temple.

We cross a small garden of greenery, Telok Ayer Green, where there are bronze statues representing scenes of the life that was taking place there at the beginning of the last century.

Telok Ayer was a landing stage at the beginning of the 20th century where the merchant ships of China and Malaysia docked. There was an important activity there.

Continuing we discover the pretty ocher and beige Nagore Dargah mosque built by Muslim migrants from South India between 1828 and 1830.

A few meters away, the Keng Teck Whay Taoist Mission and its Yu Huang Gong Temple are run by Reverend Lee Zhiwang, a colorful character from another world. In work since a few years, the temple has just opened its doors to the public. The building was part of the neighboring Thian Hock Keng Temple who transferred this part in 2010.

  1. Next door, Hokkien's oldest Taoist temple in Singapore: Thian Hock Keng built in 1839, renovated several times since. A mixture of Taoist and Buddhist beliefs where Buddha, Confucius, and other governors, even Coca Cola, rub shoulders with each other, as long as people shake with a few sticks of incense and a few notes under their noses.

It seems that the majority of people who come to pray and make offerings in Taoist temples do so while waiting for the fulfillment of a wish, a materialistic, emotional or health wish, for themselves or a member of their family. This is understandable when we know or imagine the living conditions of the "little people".

Even very wealthy people who are dropped off in front of the temple by their driver, generous donors, come to ask for the growth of their fortune, the good realization of a business or a "disinterested" marriage.

"Good fortune" takes on a different meaning depending on the class one belongs to. It has always intrigued us to observe the number of people who imagine that a "god" is there to distribute the good fortune ...

The two times we went there was in the week following the Chinese New Year. The festive decorations make the temples even more beautiful, more animated.

Continuing on the same sidewalk, we pass the Al-Abrar mosque, which, apart from the pairs of shoes that strew the sidewalk, goes unnoticed.

We join Amoy st, with its shophouses with shutters of all colors.

In the bend is Siang Cho Keong Temple, 66 Amoy Street. Very busy during midday. We wanted to get a Chinese calendar with predictions and tips for each day of the year in Chinese and English. The guardians of the temple could have directed us to a bookstore. They put themselves in 4 to find us one and offer it to us. It's Singapore and nowhere else.

On the left when leaving the temple, a covered walkway allows you to discover An Siang Hill, with this mix of contemporary buildings, old Peranakan houses, colorful and green spaces. Alternation of metal, glass, plants and pastel walls, really exciting.

Club st with its shophouses transformed into bar and restaurants "trendy".

We observe that when one raises a little the eyes, in these districts, as in others, some shophouses sport discrete panels inviting to go upstairs in a salon of massages. Thai massages, sensual massages, etc ... while on the ground floor are usually massage parlors with hot stones, reflexology, shiatsu.

Near Telok Ayer there is Tanjong Pagar, the Korean district (Little Koera), with rows of shophouses on one floor, all colors, transformed into bars, restaurants, shops and wedding dresses, futuristic hotels so high that you can see them from afar like the Carlton or Oasia Downtown with its huge gaping holes and cascading greenery flowing down its sides. The restaurants in Little Korea are quite expensive.

Little India
(2010-2016-2017-2018) MRT Little India ou Rochor.

The Indian part of Singapore, with temples, streets fragrant incense and spices, its fabric stores, bracelet, antiques, flower leis, its jewelery shops teeming with gold and customers, women in saree who are busy in shops and markets, his idle men who only wander in groups, before occupying the terraces of cafes.

From the beginning the tone is given with the Tekka center, market and foodcourt, on the left, and Little India Arcade on the right where we find all that is eaten and all that concerns the offerings.

The backbone of Little India is the long Serangoon Road. Sideboard of shops, Hindu temples like Sri Veeramakaliamman, Sri Srinivasa Perumal, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman, as many blue gopurams loaded with divinities and avatars. Not very interesting when you know the beautiful temples of South India. For those who do not know, it's a brutal dive into the scented and strident atmosphere of the Hindu religion. Welcome to the world of rituals and paunchy brahmans.

But Little India is discovered especially in the multitude of small perpendicular streets.

Buffalo road and its fruit and vegetable shops, a few steps from the famous Tan Teng Niah House, very colorful: lost in the middle of bar terraces where you can enjoy delicious spicy saffron teas. Tan Ten Niah was a wealthy Chinese trader who thrived in confectionery and other business. He built this house in 1900 for his wife. Formerly whitewashed, it was colored much later. This is one of the most photographed places in Little India.

The whole neighborhood is interesting: in the rue Kerbeau rd, there are painted walls that tell the daily life, Indian version. Crossing Serangoon we reach Dunloop st, with its flower shops, junk jewelry, spices and incense, like Thandapani Co 124 Dunlop street. Shops you can find real and fake antiques.

  1. At the end of Dunloop street is a beautiful mosque: Abdul Gafoor Masjid.

A mosque built under the signature of an Indian architect in 1907 at the request of Indian Muslim traders. It replaces an old wooden mosque, it took a long time to be completed and was restored in 2003.

The dome is an architectural marvel both externally and internally. Its central layout serves as skylights for the prayer rooms on the first floor, the ground floor and the basement.

Osman, one of the guards, is welcoming and can turn into an interesting guide, if desired and if the current goes well. As during the visit of the mosque of the Sultan, we are given a booklet in French, presenting Islam, its history, its beliefs, its rules. Once again we observe the difference between Islam practiced in Singapore and that which is presented to us in France. It's the day and the night in terms of openness, tolerance, rules of life.

All these streets reveal hidden treasures, shophouses peranakan type, whose ground floor is occupied by shops of spices, incense, bondages, antiques, fabrics with their tailors installed on the sidewalk, restaurants where curry smells escape, confectionery such as Moghul sweet shop 48 serangon and rasmalai, chocolate, carrot, pistachio barfis, Bellios lane, Cambell lane, Hindoo road, to Sayed Alwi st where is the most popular and largest discount store in Singapore the Mustapha Center, we could spend a day there!

Real Ali Baba cave open 24/24, 7 days a week. The prices are much lower than anywhere else on all products, from the water bottle to the mobile phone, through the washing machine, the latest electric razor or the box of medications.

Continuing on Serangoon, taking on the right Lavander st or Beatty road one can visit a Tibetan Buddhist temple Theckchen Choling, 2 Beauty Lane, MRT Bendemeer. A simple temple, with a warm welcome where the Tibetan community of the city meets.

Still on Serangoon, at the height of Beatty Rd, on the left is the entrance arch of a Hokkien temple: Leong San See which is located at 371 Race course road: built in 1917 and rebuilt in 1925. Past the first room, we discover an original inner courtyard with its prayer room, and the altars dedicated to the ancestors. Like all temples of Chinese origin, it is full of statues, symbols, and altars that are the object of venerations and constant offerings in order to obtain the favors of one of the idols.

On the sidewalk opposite, a much purer Buddhist temple: the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya temple with its huge 15-meter statue dating from 1927. The temple has two entrances. The one that looks like a Thai pagoda is guarded by an unpleasant and sullen concierge, the one with a simpler facade is guarded by old ladies very kind.

Those wishing to discover the Sikh soul and religion can go 500 meters further to the Central Sikh Gurdwara Temple, at the corner of Towner Road and Serangoon. A haven of peace and tolerance, without extravagant decor. Heartwarming welcome. Men are recommended to cover their head with a scarf (bandanas) and women cover head and shoulders with a shawl.

Kampong Glam:
(2016-2017-2018)  MRT Bugis

The Arab district (Malay) of Singapore. Kampong Glam was first a British stronghold (1819) before passing into the hands of the Malays, their Sultan and their aristocracy.

Coming from Little India by Syed Alwi rd, at the intersection between Sultan Jalan and Victoria st, one discovers Malabar Masjid, opened since 1963. A beautiful turquoise blue mosque, with its golden dome. Opening hours from 12h to 13h and from 14h to 16h. When the faithful have done their ablutions, they perfume themselves with essential oils arranged at the entrance to the prayer room. We had not yet observed this practice in a mosque. The large room of prayer and preaching has a carpet matching the color of the ripe.

Unlike other mosques where green dominates, here it is a slightly purplish blue. This creates a particularly relaxing atmosphere. It is calm and relaxing in this mosque. A nice place. The welcome is friendly as in all the mosques of Singapore.

Walking to the heart of Kampong Glam, on Victoria st, one can see walls painted by Ernest Zacharevic, also called the Asian Banksy. Lithuanian artist of origin, he uses objects in addition to his painting to give life and relief to his works. Children playing with caddies, a little girl holding lion cub in her arms. Sinapour is a real open-air museum.

From Bugis, on foot, Kampong Glam is 5 minutes, taking Victoria Street on the left, cross Ophir road, turn right Arab street or jalan Pinang where there are beautiful walls painted by Yip Yew Chong.

This is the district of the Sultan Mosque.

All the alleys are interesting, Arab st, North Bridge road, Kandahar st, Bussorah st, Muscat st and the Sultan mosque, Baghdad st with at n ° 21 the Bhai Sarbat Stall tea shop of Zamir Ahmad, an old man full of charm that has traveled to Europe and the USA, whose specialty is Tarik tea (1,10 SGD glass), a concentrated milk tea that is poured in a fountain from one container to another for the purpose to flourish, a "thousand-teas" boutique that attracts the world, Haji lane presented as Singapore's "hippy" street. The Sultan Gate leads to the very interesting Malay Heritage Center. At the corner of Sultan Gate and Beach Road we find a beautiful wall painted by Yip Yew Chong, telling the story of coffee, with a nod to Zamar Ahmad.

Numerous bridal shops, trendy Art Deco or Turkish and Lebanese restaurants with their blue tiles, antique shops, clothing stores, and a bunch of perfume shops all contribute to maintaining the area's Arabian Nights alive.

We visit temples of perfume like Jamal Kazura Aromatics, 21 Bussorah street and its flasks of blown glass of all shapes and colors, its essences that make you dream. Sifr aromatics, 42 Arab st. refined place, quite expensive, with its cozy interior, where throne a perfumer's organ like those that could be seen in Grasse in the last century. (20th)

  1. The highlight of the district is the Sultan Mosque (1826). Beautiful architecture. Huge prayer room, huge carpet. Everything is sober but enjoyable to watch.

When Singapore was ceded to the British in 1819, they granted Kampong Glam territory to Temenggong Island chief Abdul Rahman and Sultan Hussain Shah of Johore, in addition to a rent that made their fortune. Their families as well as many Muslim migrants came to settle with them. The Sultan had the mosque built next to his palace with funds from the East India Company! In 1914, the lease was renewed for 999 years. The mosque was partially rebuilt and enlarged by the Santry architectural firm of Swan and Maclaren in 1928, which added the minarets and the balustrade.

The arrival of migrants was so important that many moved to Katong.

Long discussion with one of the guards of the mosque: his vision of Islam and the Koran seems so different from what we are told and what we are shown in France. Everything seems imbued with peace, tolerance. He gives us a book in French explaining Islam to neophytes (Muhammad, biography and illustrated guide of Mickael H Hart- editions ISRA -2012).

After reading it, I do not think he should offer it to me, but to Muslims from one part of the world, including Europe and Maghreb. It is so contradictory to what we are shown and what we perceive of Islam.

Singapore has made great efforts to restore heritage by rehabilitating its old neighborhoods, its old homes, which it attributes a heritage value and that's good. It is a real pleasure to look down, stunned by all these gigantic towers, to put them on these little multicolored houses. When in the background we have the golden and brilliant dome of the mosque, it is a treat for photographers.

Katong - Geylang
(2016-2017-2018)  MRT Paya Lebar et Eunos exit to the left, to follow Changi Road. A huge construction site that lasts for years requires a long detour to reach the street Joo Chiat. There are huge construction sites in Singapore that sometimes require an additional 1km to reach a street.

Katong or Malay district: late 19th to early 20th century, Katong was a residential area, along the coast for wealthy families who grew rich in plantations and trade. Today it is a residential area, with shops (food, flea market, interior design, weddings) restaurants, pubs, bars, karaoke boxes, the ground floor and homes upstairs for middle class Peranakan (descendants mixed marriages between Indians, Chinese, Malay, Indonesians, who trade) and Eurasian (descendants of mixed marriages between Asians and Dutch, Portuguese, English, who worked in banks, administration, education).

Today, the neighborhood is occupied by a mixed population with a high Muslim density.

No building exceeds five stories, the majority having only two. Many of these houses are very typical, well maintained and furnished with refinement.

The facades are often painted in pastel shades, with relief decorations and colorful Peranakan faience (which is part of a particular culture and art).

- All along the street Joo Chiat they are only shophouses: shops on the ground floor, apartment upstairs, with exciting facades at the level of decoration, including the famous Peranakan faience.

The shops are food stores, household goods, antiques, furniture and linens, Muslim clothing and accessories, restaurants, karaoke and bars with hidden windows.

- On the left of Joo Chiat, Joo Chiat Terrace, some beautiful traditional peranakan houses from nr 89 to 129.

- On the right is the Masjid Khalid.

- On the left, a famous Vietnamese restaurant: Long Phung 159 Joo Chiat, long queue. But there is another good places to eat.

- Another interesting place for a pleasant and popular meal is Mr. and Mrs. Moghan's Poh Ho Restaurant, 7 Crane Road (right just after the mosque, at the corner of Crane Rd and Onan Rd) the best paratas in the city.

- We were drawn to a festivity that took place on Joo Chiat Place Street. One store had an opening ceremony with dragons, banners, offerings and drums. The goal is to attract good fortune on the shop. This ceremony is repeated frequently when opens a new shop.

- Taking the parallel street to Joo Chiat, Tembeling road we arrive at a temple famous for the fulfillment of the wishes: Kuan Im Tng temple, apparently a "branch" of the temple Kuam Im of Waterloo st. We sit in a corner and watch. Many people come to pray, ask for vows to be exalted and to question divination bamboos.

Several people approach us in English, happy to explain what is happening, what they expect, and share their vision of Singapore. Apart from a young couple very proud to be from Singapore and not planning to leave one day, we are far from the idyllic vision and the showcase: many people are of modest conditions, their wishes are often about a improving their material lives, better living conditions, success in business, studying, improving their health or having a successful relationship.

A woman, a nurse by profession, introduces us to the use of divinatory objects.

You must first formulate a question or wish mentally, then focusing on the question or wish, shake the box of chopsticks until one of them escapes and falls. We then take two half-moons of wood called kùa that we throw on the ground.

If both kùa are on the same face, rounded or flat, it means that the oracle is negative. If they fall one on the rounded coast, the other on the flat side, the oracle is positive.

In principle you have to have three positive answers by following to say that the oracle is accepted by the gods. One can then look at the answer in the answer book according to the number written on the stick.

We wanted to acquire the book of answers in Chinese and English.

An old lady in charge of the temple offers us one. She could have sent us to a religious bookstore. We make a small donation in recognition, another lady then gives us bottles of mineral water and sweets in thanks. It's in Singapore and nowhere else.

Having a set of chopsticks at home, we wanted to get the kùa. We are told a shop near religious items.

The nurse who initiated us offers to take us there by car. In fact she will walk us around the neighborhood for an hour for the sake of talking with foreigners about life in Singapore, the rules about immigration, the cost of rent, and recommend one of the best restaurants popular in the area: Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice, Katong Shoping Center Food Court, 865 Mountbatten Rd. The queue suggests that this must be a good address. She was right, a nice food.

Continuing on Joo Chiat at No. 204 on the left a very nice little temple Kuan Im Kuan Ti Kong temple (Guan Di Gong)

  1. A hundred meters further on the left Koon Seng Road, a succession of beautiful Peranakan houses, freshly repainted in different pastel tones, with frangipani flowers.

- We go 19 Ceylon st, to see one of the most beautiful Hindu temples of the city Sri Senpaga Viranayagar open from 6.30am to 1.30pm and from 4.30pm to 9pm. Impression of being in South India. Vegetarian restaurant open to all inside the temple.

At a hundred meters from the temple, the Katong Shoping Center, 865 Mountbatten Rd, where we discover special shops filled with young women sitting in uniform (they all have polos or t-shirt identical according to the shop where they are), suitcases in front of them they or at the entrance of the shops.

These are agencies for employment of domestic workers. The showcases show that these agencies are specialized in "good" (maids) from Myramar, Indonesia, Philippines. They expect to be recruited by an employer who comes to the place to choose according to his own criteria: ability to cook, babysitting, fluent English etc ...

I entered one of the agencies to ask a few questions: the rates vary according to their origin and their experiences. The average price is 500 SGD per month. The agency is responsible for bringing them in, forcing these young women to reimburse their airfare and other expenses. It is the employer and the government that deal with immigration formalities. I have not managed to find out where they live or how they feed while waiting to be recruited, which can range from a few days to a few weeks.

I was attacked by a very virulent woman manager who could not stand to take photos from outside. Her attitude and her violence made me think of a "madam" rather than a businesswoman! It's true that women in windows are always a little "brothel ".

In Singapore, as in the Persian Gulf, in Indonesia, in China, and sometimes in Europe among the "rich", in the wealthy middle class and among many expats, it is very fashionable to have one or more "exotic" servants . Girls submitted and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who are paid 3 times nothing, indebted by their immigration fees, sending the majority of their salary to their families who benefit and live at their expense. It has something that bothers me!

We go to the waterfront, a few steps away. A walk of 8km arranged for the walkers, the joggers, the cyclists, at the edge of the shore. A few hundred meters from the edge, many tankers at anchor.

Geylang goes to be the hot spot of Singapore: prostitution, massages, illegal gambling dens, gangs etc ... He replaced Bugis and Tao Payoh who have "bought" a good behavior.

We never felt like being in a hot spot. Nothing to do with the lupanars side, striptease, fluorescent neons, red hangings of Pigalle, Patpong or Reeperbahn. It is quite surprising for one of the largest port in the world where thousands of sailors of all nationalities live. There are, like everywhere in the city, establishments with hidden windows, or karaoke, whose facades advertise alcoholic beverages. We imagine that it should not be just bars. But nothing very explicit.

Geylang is also home to many small temples, community religious associations, and a world-renowned meditation center: Amitabha Buddhist Center, where Cheryl Greene, aka Thubten Chaudron, an extraordinary American Tibetan Buddhist nun, was taught.

Perhaps it is a balance between the two that gives the feeling of "normalcy" and security. This does not prevent us from imagining the fate reserved for prostituted women who come for the most part from the same countries as domestic servants! Behind the facade hides other realities ... but Singapore is very keen to have an impeccable showcase !

Geylang road is a very wide avenue, wider than a boulevard. What particularities are the small adjacent streets whose name begins with Lor (lorong) followed by a number. There are about thirty on each side. Maybe some are specialized in the trafficking of women. We retained only those with interesting houses to discover.

Lorong 24A with many shophouses, mostly belonging to Buddhist associations, as well as Lorong 27 and its meditation center.

Lorong 34 is interesting because you can see shophouses with balcony which is quite rare.

Finally at the end of the Geylang street at no. 745 is a favorite place for gourmets: Rochor Beancurd, a small shop specializing in bean curd (1.50 SGD), herbal jelly (1.60 SGD), soy milk (1.30 SGD) donuts (1.10 SGD) Portuguese egg pie (1.50 SGD), why Portuguese? To die for. Too bad the teenagers who run the shop are arrogant.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok
(2018) MRT Serangoon + bus  n° 103 ou bus n° 70 jusque Yio Chu Kang Road,get off at St Vincent De Paul Church (B67079) between Esso station on the right and Shell on the left. Cross Yio Chu Kang Street at Shell and take the metal stairs down to the canal. After crossing the small bridge, Lorong Buangkok Street is just across the street, the village is on the left. For the return, bus station at the top of the stairs on the left, same buses to Serangoon MRT.
  1. Kampong Lorong Buangkok or Kampong Selak Kain (the village of knotted sarongs) is the last authentic village of Singapore, with its earthen streets, wooden houses, vegetable gardens and poultry.

When you come from the city, you have the impression of going into the jungle. The vegetation is dense, it smells of humus. Like many Asians, villagers are very attached to nature. Although having gardens, there are potted plants everywhere, flowers everywhere. The village is surrounded by buildings and residences that seem to be from another world.

No car, no noise, no stressed people. We feel as if we are jumping back and visiting our grandparents. This visit reminds us of many things that we have lost. While modernization has benefits, it has also trampled values that will not come back.

It was first a swampy land with only 5-6 houses. In the 1960s, it housed about 40 families. The land area was 21460 m2, it has now reduced to 12248.1 m2.

Electricity, running water and garbage collection are provided by the government. Mail is provided by a postman on a motorcycle once a day.

People still live there as in our villages in the last century. The village was built in 1954/1955 and consists actualy of 23 houses in more or less good condition and a small mosque. The families who live there are relatively poor. Rents are the lowest in the city.

The village was flooded several times, which led to the construction of the canal to drain the overflows.

While it is impossible to become land owner in Singapore, one can only sign an emphyteutic lease (99 years) with the state, the inhabitants of Kampong Lorong Buangkok are the only ones to own their land. Property that they defend against the lust of real estate that only wants to occupy this space. The least m2 is worth a fortune in Singapore.

They do not defend only a property, they defend a way of life, what Pierre Rabbi calls in France "happy sobriety". These inhabitants seem to have become accustomed to living little, and have made it a art of life. They are warm welcoming and like to spend time talking with those who come to visit them.Their philosophy and way of life makes us think of the economist E.F. Schumacher "Small is beautiful"

Initially, the village land belonged to Huang Yu Tu who sold it in 1956 to Sng Teow Koon, a traditional Chinese medicine merchant. At the time there were already some houses on the ground. Sng Teow Koon settled with his family, and rented plots to other residents to build their homes.

The land was passed on to his children, including Mrs. Sng Mui Hong whom we met. She continues to live in the village with her nieces. Her three other brothers and sisters, who are co-owners, got married and left the village.

We met Mrs. Sng Mui Hong at her home (29D), in the presence of one of her nieces and a brother. She is proud to own several lots and houses.

We also met Izuande (43D), a young villager and his mother. Izuande enjoys the village, where one is not contaminated by the digital and consumerism fever. He wants to stay in the village and pass the relay to his future children. But his question is: "What woman would want to marry me and come live here ? At the first insect, she would be standing on the table, screaming."

We met Dawud, a young scholar who is not from the village, who likes to come to pray at the little mosque, because he appreciates the mentality of the people of this place.

We met Nassim (47D), who lives with his wife Irma and children in a house that was built by his father-in-law. Nassin offered us a drink and we spent a long time talking with him about life in the village, life in Singapore, but also life in France and around the world. We were surprised to discover how much this man is educated. He has an impressive general culture. He hopes that his children will choose to stay in the village, but it is difficult for young people to find other young people who want to start a family and live in this village.

Globalization is slowly doing its job of standardizing and destroying values. It is quite possible that in a few decades, this village will be part of the ancient history: "once upon a time, it was an old village in the heart of Singapore ..."

The village was the subject of an award - winning documentary: "Salak Kain the last kampong". Selak Kain means "knotted sarong" in Malay, because the people who lived there raised their sarong to go in the swamps and during the floods, and kampong means village. In 2013 scenes of a drama film "Beyond "were filmed in this village.

We were marked by the visit of this place, which raises the question of the evolution of the values and wish long life to these inhabitants whom we thank for their welcome. We found for a few moments the atmosphere, the warmth, the spirit of the villages of our childhood, which unfortunately turned into housing developments for suburbanites and urban countrymen.

Tao Payoh
(2018) MRT Tao Payoh

Tao Payoh is a former social housing district where farm workers, hog farmers, coolies, hawkers, laborers and servants lived. Until 1980, this neighborhood was the benchmark for gangs and crime syndicates. Ritual killings took place there to the point of intriguing the city in 1981. The media called this district the Chicago of the East.

This did not prevent Queen Elizabeth II from visiting this area in 1972 and 2006.

The government has made significant efforts to clean up and rehabilitate this neighborhood.

Today Tao Payoh is a regular neighborhood, with many "trendy" restaurants, a modern mall with many shops. Place of residence of a working middle class.

What attracted us to this district is one of the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries we have ever seen in Asia.

When leaving the Tao Payoh MRT station, take bus No. 238 to the terminal, get off at the 4th stop, cross the road, take the pedestrian bridge, and turn to the right. At the height of a second pedestrian bridge, turn left on a path that slips between buildings, one arrives in front of Taoist temple Shuang Lin Cheng Huang Temple without interest.

A lot of excitement at the beginning of the Chinese new year to implore the innumerable deities to grant a wish. Offerings, incense, incineration of votive papers, medal purchases and other "bondieuserie". The hopes of devotees make a lot of money flow.  If these people knew that "god" did not need money to listen to us ....The faith of the Asians is impressive. The majority of people go to the temple to ask deities for help.

  1. On the right of this temple is the entrance arch of an impressive Buddhist monastery: Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery.

The history of this monastery is linked to Low Kim Pong, a wealthy businessman who dreamed he saw a light coming from the West. A ship from Sri Lanka landed Xian Hui and his family, all buddhist monks and nuns calling at the return of a pilgrimage. To encourage them to stay, Low Kim Pong offered them a parcel of land and built the first monastery. Founded in 1898, the construction began in 1902 and ended in 1907. By 1910, fragile construction, buildings were damaged by termites, moisture and rain. Restoration works were undertaken in 1918 and 1950. In 1980, the monastery was declared a national monument.

In 1991, important and expensive reconstruction works began, with the help of Chinese artists and craftsmen with the aim of respecting the different styles related to the communities: Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou.

The restoration ended in 2001, when the monastery was reopened to the public. It's a real masterpiece.

There is a very special atmosphere in this monastery, very different from what is found in the Taoist temples of the city.

The extension and the architectural quality of the buildings transport in another dimension: impression of being in an old Chinese city. The gardens and courtyards add a serene note to the whole.

The decoration is sober while being sophisticated. Recollection and peace are palpable.

Mrs. Chua Lee Mei, curator of the monastery, takes pleasure in warmly welcoming the visitors, telling them the history of the place, answering questions.

This is a very nice place to see and to feel in Singapore, unfortunately forgotten by guides and tourists.

Tiong Bahru
(2018) MRT Tiong Baru

Old upscale neighborhood, home to wealthy families, who moved to other neighborhoods according to the fashion of the time and as the city grew.

They were first replaced by retired and modest families, later by artists and expats especially attracted by lower rents, and houses more friendly than the infernal towers.

This type of population leads to the opening of bars, restaurants, trendy shops: bakeries and French pastries, bookstores, cafes and restaurants "trendy", art galleries etc ... which has the effect of changing the soul of the neighborhood, to the despair of the historic residents.

Due to this new popularity, rents are on the rise, leading to a new split at the population level.

Despite this "invasion", Tiong Bahru has for the moment retained its village atmosphere. What makes his charm, for how long ?

Three streets offer beautiful Yip Yew Chong painted walls: Seng Poh Lane block 71, Tiong Poh Rd and Eu Chi st, Eng Watt St block 73. Real masterpieces.

The old market of Tiong Bahru houses a hawker center where you can enjoy popular dishes with people from the neighborhood, far from the "trendy" canteens.

Colonial area, Marina Bay, Garden by the bay
(2017-2018) MRT Clarke Quay et Raffles Place

This area is close to downtown and Chinatown, from which you can walk. For those who only make a stopover, you can easily do most of Chinatown in the morning, Marina Bay in the afternoon and Garden by the Bay, while walking quietly.

The ideal is to start the tour from Clarke Quay on the left bank, to cross the river on the pedestrian bridge and reach the other shore. Sideboard shophouses, warehouses that recall the important commercial and maritime activities of these docks. All shophouses at Clarke Quay and Boat Quay have become Asian, Lebanese, Greek, Mexican, Italian restaurants, beer bars for tourists, expats and businessmen.

We enter the "so british" district of Singapore with austere Victorian buildings: the Parliament, the Supreme Court of Justice, the clock tower that echoes the melody of Big Ben, the National Gallery Musueum, the Victoria Theater. a place of opera and classical music,private clubs of the aristocracy as the Cricket Club and the Asian civilizations museum.

This district was a port and an important trading area, trade, financial activities and transit late 19th, early 20th. The city tells its story again with explanatory panels where we discover that the hotel Fullerton was initially the central post office, then a chamber of commerce, it also housed various government offices. Life-size bronze statues depict Chinese dignitaries arguing, coolies loading a cart, naked children throwing themselves into the water.

We cross the Singapore River on a last pedestrian bridge to reach the old Fullerton Hotel. A pier allows to take a collective boat that goes around the bay in 40 minutes for 25 SGD.

We cross the Fullerton road to reach a promontory that embraces the bay: go to all the world's selfies who immortalize themselves in front of the bay with the famous Merlion (lion spitting water), symbol of Singapore and as a backdrop to gigantic Singapore Flyer wheel and futuristic Marina Bay Sand.

Either bypass the bay on the right across the terraces of restaurants that have appropriated the walk to go around the bay, or in the bypass to the left, following the platform that leads to the floating football stadium The Float at Marina Bay and its red and green yellow stands, to take the Helix Bridge.

We arrive at the galleries The Shoppes, in front of which is moored a barge dedicated to the shop Vuitton whose Asians are very fond. The shopes are a huge multi-level glass roof where all the Orchard luxury brands are found in a more modern context. If everything is overpriced, it allows at least refresh, thanks to the air conditioning.

The walk from Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and bypass Marina Bay to the Shoppes takes about 2h30 taking the time.

In the basement of the Shoppes, an affordable Rasapura Masters foodcenter offers all the cuisines of the world and Asia.

A very nice pasta, wonton and dumplings restaurant: Gaoji Company's Noodle Stars. You have to see the chef's technique to make spaghetti by slamming the dough in the air. Amazing !

We leave the Shopes to cross the Marina Bay Sand, a must to join Garden By the Bay.

The Marina Bay Sand is a huge resort with 2560 rooms, on 55 floors, with a roof terrace of one hectare, which supports the highest pool in the world. This place is also known for its 1000-table casino, and 1400 slot machines.

A small pedestrian bridge allows you to fly over the expressway Bejamin Sheares Avenue, the only place where you hear the roar of Ferrari engines, which are far from respecting speed limits. When you have a Ferrari, you can afford everything but it must be frustrating to have a car as powerful to drive only in town!

We can see on the left the gigantic wheel of the Singapore Flyer, with its glass cabins. It seems that it does not turn, when in reality it turns very slowly to allow visitors time to contemplate the aerial view of the city.

A platform overlooks Garden by The Bay, the best place to watch sound and light.

  1. Garden by The Bay is one of the newest attractions designed to compete with Golf countries to attract tourists. It is true that it is beautiful. At the entrance, water features: Dragon Fly Lake and Kingfisher Lake. Then a succession of themed gardens, Indian garden, Malay garden, Chinese garden. Two huge greenhouses that reproduce the different climates of the world with their flora. A space reserved for children with water games, and adventure playground. Finally the highlight of the visit: Supertree Grove and OCBC Skyway.

The Supertree are fake concrete and metal trees, on which thousands of plants grow like ferns, vines, orchids and an extensive collection of bromeliads. They are equipped with advanced technologies that mimic the function of trees: photovoltaic cells that harness the solar energy used for some of the functions of Super-trees, such as lighting, reproducing photosynthesis of trees, collecting rainwater for use in irrigation and fountains, reproducing the way trees absorb rainwater for growth. Supertree is also used to capture and filter air, heat it or cool it for greenhouses.

OCBC Skyway is a footbridge located 22 meters high between the two largest Supertree to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the gardens. We realize once again that Singapore is one of the largest port in Asia, we see everywhere boats, supertankers, harbor hoists. OCBC because it is one of the largest banks in Asia that sponsored this project: Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation.

At night, the Supertrees come alive with a sound and light show called OCBC Garden Rhapsody at 19:45.

We go back to Marina Bay Sand, to take the Helix Bridge pedestrian bridge, whose twisted armature has a lot of charm with its night lighting. All along the bridge bridges provide a view of Marina Bay, festival of lights and shadows, with the foreground ArtScience Museum lotus. We stay a long time in the darkness to let ourselves be penetrated by this festival of lights. A very basic Lazer show is given at 8pm and 9.30pm.

Nothing transcendent! The best location is the Merlion promontory, facing Marina Bay Sand.

Southern Ridges
(2018) MRT Labrador rather than Harbourfront

For those who want to take a healthy walk in the trees with beautiful panoramic views of the city, morning. It is a sunday jogging place for expats and locals who often run with their dogs.

We recommend hiking in the opposite direction of what is proposed in the guides, because the first part called Marang Trail is a long climb of stairs "breakage legs" with high steps that lasts at least half an hour. With the heat it is very trying. We met exhausted young and old people just after having made this climb which is only the first third of the course. In the opposite direction, we take these stairs downhill.

At the exit of MRT Labrador, turn right Alexandra Road. At 800 meters is Alexandra arch which is a pedestrian bridge that spans the road. At the feet of Alexandra Arch a flight of metal stairs throws us on the air route of Singing Forest and Forest Walk. The guides talk about multitudes of birds: we hardly see them unless we wait for hours, and we hear them even less.  But since there are trees, there must be birds!

At the end of this aerial journey, a few hundred meters on a paved road with parking for the less brave, toilets and drink dispensers. On a small open space surrounded by large trees Semcorp Forest of Giants, some men learn the martial techniques of the monks of Choling under the benevolent eye of an old master.

Come the famous Henderson Wave, floor and height course with its twisted shelters forming a wave. Meet lovers, selfie followers.

We reach the starting point of Mount Faber's cable car (Faber Point), with a bar, its bell of happiness and other superstitions. Take a stroll on Faber Walk sidewalks, before starting the descent into the forest by the stairs of Marang Trail. A few hundred meters further we cross West Coast Highway through a tunnel, to arrive at Vivocity and the MRT Harbourfront.

The ride in this direction lasts about 02:30 walking normally and doing photo poses.

(2017-2018) MRT Khatib et MRT Kranji + Kranji Express Schedule (about 01h30)

The northern part of Singapore rarely visited by foreign tourists, but quite visited by local tourists during their weekend outings with the family.

It is the vegetable garden and the wild part of Singapore.

There are many farms that grow leafy vegetables (salads, herbs), greenhouse and soilless hydroponics. The young plants are bathed in a liquid substrate which is only a pure concentrate of chemicals promoting the growth of plants.

OH-farm organizes tours and internships of one to two hours to introduce visitors to hydroponics. We leave with a kit to practice at home on a small scale this mode of culture. Provided that there are at least 20 participants, otherwise they are not interested. If you are not in a group, you do not need to go there.

The Kranji Express Schedule (3 SGD) is a private shuttle that is deserting a number of agreed points: the Sungei Buloh Wet Reserve, the Bollywood Veggie Organic Farm and its Poison Ivy Restaurant, the Hay Diaries Got Farm and its production of milk, yoghurts and cheeses made from goat's milk, frog farming (the inhabitants of Singapore are very fond of frogs). There are also potters, shrimp farms.

We start with the wet Sungei Buloh(free) reserve that is aptly named, it rains more than in Singapore. Large swamp against Malaysia, which according to the flyers would be inhabited by many birds, many amphibians and reptiles, crabs, iguanas, crocodiles etc ...The full hike lasts approximately 03:00.

If the course is well done, with observation shelters in the different places of the mangrove, we did not see much: an iguana, seen from far away some waders, and some crocodiles that seem to be numerous and huge in River.

At the end of the hike, we are waiting for the passage of the Kranji Schedule to go to the next step, Bollywood Veggie, and Hay Diaries. To our surprise driver we drive directly to our starting point: Kranji metro station! When we ask why he did not stop as planned at Bollywood Veggie and Hay Diaries, he responds that it's closed.

That's true for Bollywood veggie, but false for Hay Diaries. It seems from the video camera survey that the driver did not follow the planned route Why?

Changi Village
(2018) MRT Tanah Merah + Bus n°2until the terminal(about 01:30)

A village in the far East of Singapore. At the same time residential area of the wealthy middle class, golf course, army headquarters, military bases and ultra modern prison. Contrary to what Lonely Planet says this village is not attractive at the shopping level, nor at the level atmosphere.

It is a quiet place to make a beautiful hike of 01:30 back and forth on the edge of the coast: Changi Point Costal Walk, with beaches where it is not recommended to swim. It is also the starting point of the ferry to visit Pulau Ubin Island (3 SGD) by renting a bike before departure and some ferries to Malaysia.

A hawker center and its various restaurants offer mainly Malaysian dishes, spicy and fat, nasi lemak style and satay dripping. Nothing very appetizing.

It is a late open place where men like to meet to drink.

(2010-2016-2018) MRT Orchard et Sommerset.

The temple of high-end consumption, jewelry, perfumes, designer clothes at prices unaffordable for the majority of us.

It is also surprising to see Zara, Dolce & Gabana, Muji rub shoulders with Prada, Hermes, Jimmy Choo, Dior, Longchamps or the tea house TWG with teas up to 6500 € per kg.

The temples of luxury are called Paragon, Ion, Robinsons, On Pedder. Formerly known for its good deals, today Vitton, Chanel or Nikon cost the same price in Singapore than on the Champs Elysees. This is the favorite neighborhood of Asians who come to refuel luxury items, and expats who want to give the impression that they are in Paris or Dubai.

But we are in Singapore and in the same street there are still more affordable places: Somerset or even more popular Lucky Plaza. Levis jeans at the Lucky Plaza cost 43 € (69 SGD). We saw Koreans who were bargaining for the purchase of two pairs. Miserly !

Between extreme luxury and Lucky Plaza, the Takashimaya empire offers affordable shopping opportunities while being original.

There is Mount Elisabeth Hospital, one of the best hospitals in the world. We went in memory of Jyoti Singh, this Indian student brutally raped and tortured by a group of barbarians on 16/12/2012. Left to die, the Indians failing to guarantee its survival, the Mount Elisabeth Hospital offered to try to save her. In vain. It was nevertheless a beautiful movement of solidarity.

Not far from this hospital is the Emerald Hill road. A street very different from the main arteries with their skyscrapers metallic. These are old houses from the beginning of the last century. Often built by wealthy Chinese owners who some used as bachelor garages, while their family lived in Chinatown.

Once past the first houses that sold their soul to the devil of consumption with restaurants and bars "trendy", the rest of the street is worth seeing. This area is inhabited by very wealthy people. The sale and rents of these houses are exorbitant (more than € 10,000 rent per month).

They have kept their original cachet carefully maintained by their new owners. Pastel facades, art-deco decoration, painted shutters, islands of greenery, frangipani flowers and potted plants, a treat for photographers. The only drawback is the row of big luxury cars, usually black, parked in front of which prevent to have an overall view of each house.

Another center of interest is the small Chinese Tan Yeoh Nee House, at the corner of Clemenceau Street and Penang Street. Built in 1885 by a wealthy merchant in pure traditional Chinese style. She then belonged to a stationmaster, a bishop, a boarding school for girls. It was occupied by the Japanese army during its attempt to colonize Asia, then by the more peaceful Salvation Army, before becoming the University of Chicago Graduate Business School. She is in full swing because she has just been sold again. We had three versions: a hotel, a luxury store, an upscale health center ?

(2017) MRT Harbourfront.

the relaxing island of Singapore, its amusement park and its artificial beaches.

The subway arrives in the mall VivoCity: a set of shops, mostly clothes, more affordable than Orchard and The Shoppes. This is where you take the Sentosa Express to Sentosa Island. You can walk there, but there is about 2 km to go to reach the beaches. The price of Sentosa Express( 4 SGD), includes round trip and entrance ticket to the island (1 SGD). The train drops us at a hundred meters from Palawan beach.

We are not going to do the attractions, Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Wave House, Skyride etc ... where both the tourists and the youth of Singapore are jostling. We just wanted to see what the beaches are like in Singapore. These are artificial beaches, with imported sand.

First beaches: Siloso with its three artificial islands, the most popular and the most mixed in terms of dating and Palawan.

We expected to see many people, as it is Sunday.

Palawan is especially a beach for locals who come with family to relax, swim and have a picnic. It's a pretty good kid atmosphere. The beach is composed of two lagoons separated from the sea by artificial islands. Be it the sea or the lagoon, the surface of the water is desperately flat.

A stone's throw away, hundreds of boats, tankers at anchor. In the distance a refinery and always the gigantic hoists that can be seen wherever you are. An aquatic playground attracts most families with children.

A monkey bridge connects one of the islands, on which there are towers that provide an aerial view of the surroundings.

Chinese and Japanese tourists are recognizable by the fact that women walk in front of them while the men in the background spend their time photographing young women in swimsuits with their mobile phones. Samsung transformed their lives, before they had to be content to watch and remember. Now thanks to Samsung yhey can see them again, exchange, enlarge them ...

We take the free tram to visit the following beach: Tanjong Beach. Flagrant change of atmosphere. It is the beach BCBG of Singapore. There are only "whites" (westerners), in couples or families, with their dogs running freely on the beach while signs indicate that they must be on a leash. This is the first time we meet dogs in Singapore.

Luxury restaurant with private solarium, sun loungers and parasols. This is the world of expatriates coming to Singapore and Asia for a career. They stay between them, they do not mix (except for some exceptions that escape the system)!

All beaches are equipped with toilets, showers, cabins to change, and even a space to wash dogs! The smell is more than nauseating, it's like being in the toilets of a petrol station on the highway during the holidays. Surprising for Singapore. We are fleeing this place.

Unless you are a fan of amusement parks, Sentosa is not attractive.