There are several reasons to go to Singapore. The main one?
The second? If you ask Singaporeans they will probably answer “Business…as always”
Others will say because of gambling and amazing selection of food.
However I believe this city is worth visiting because it is a very unique living experiment.
When I arrived from Chennai, India, immediately I felt I was like an elephant in a crystal shop.
Singapore is definitely the city of the one thousands Taboos, contradictions and extreme materialism.
One of my favorite travel writers, Tiziano Terzani, lived in Singapore many years of his life before and after the dictatorship of Lee Kuan Yen that morphed the personality of this city/country/island forever.
Coming back to Singapore Terzani writes: “…air conditioning seems to be the only air that Singapore could breath…” (…sorry for my poor translation but I did not find his book in any of the few bookstores in the city).
Officially Singapore is a democracy…however still today prohibitions, obligations and many absurd rules are imposed to citizens and tourists.
– As it is considered pornographic, you cannot walk around your home nude (unless you close all your windows I guess).
– The sale of gums is prohibited (well… I’m not a fan of chewing gums).
– It is illegal hugging in public without permission, they can give you a fine for this.
– If you’re agnostic or atheist you cannot state any adverse comments at religion because in Singapore you can be cited for sedition.
– It is considered an offense to enter the country with cigarettes, they are in fact highly taxed like alcohol.
– Homosexuals are not allowed to live in the country.
– Death penalty for drug offence (and police can even force both residents and not residents to submit to random drug tests).
– It is illegal to sleep in public places.
– Pornography is illegal.
– If you are founded littering three times you will have to clean the streets on Sundays with a sign on saying, “I am a litterer” (I actually agree with this one).
– There is a mandatory caning policy for vandalism offenses, especially graffiti. This applies to writing on public property as well as hanging banners, flags, pamphlets etc..
– You will be fined if you drink (even water) or eat food in Metro or other public transportation means.
– You can also be punished for spitting, jaywalking and fined if you forget to flush the toilet!
…and the most important:
– Singapore does not allow any demonstrations or protests even if peaceful…for that you need a special permit that it is hard to get.
Now I’m not sure if all those rules are enforced like it was in the past (they had and may still have a secret police) but the result of this is that Singapore seems to be one of the places in the world where brainwashing is really effective.
It looks like Singaporeans will do anything that is demanded by their rulers in a robot fashion.
P.S: Prostitution in Singapore is legal, but various prostitution-related activities are not. This includes public solicitation.
I met a group of young guys from Sri Lanka while I was taking some photos of people sleeping (one of my favorite targets) on a bridge in Gaylang road, the red light district of Singapore. They were there to meet some friends of them coming from the same village in Sri Lanka and working in “Spore” as prostitutes.
Few weeks ago in a village nearby Kannur, Kerala.
There is no stage or curtain or other such arrangements for the performance. The devotees would be standing or some of them would be sitting on a sacred tree in front of the shrine…
…A performance of a particular deity according to its significance and hierarchy in the shrine continues for 12 to 24 hours with intervals. The chief dancer who propitiates the central deity of the shrine has to reside in the rituals. This may be due to the influence of Jainism and Buddhism. Further, after the sun sets, this particular dancer would not eat anything for the remainder of that day …
His make-up is done by specialists and other dancers…
…the dancer comes in front of the shrine and gradually “metamorphoses” into the particular deity of the shrine. He, after observation of certain rituals places the head-dress on his head and starts dancing. In the background, folk musical instruments like chenda, tuti, kuzhal and veekni are played in a certain rhythm…
…A performance is a combination of playing of musical instruments, vocal recitations, dance, and peculiar makeup (usually predominantly orange) and costumes.
Looking at my pictures a good friend of mine, great travel buddy and talented photographer, use to tell me with her french accent : ” izs too daark man”. I admit it…I like darkness and shadows and obscurity…sometimes even lack of clarity. And I like to underexpose often in order to get less details but higher quality pixels I can play with in the dark room.
Yesterday I had time to play with one photo I took in Kolkata/Calcutta (India).
It was very dark and I was coming back from the local street market with a bag of veggies and fruit in one hand and the camera on the other. In company of one of the many interesting and smart characters that I met during my last 8 month trip, a true traveler and conversationalist, we decided to sit on a bench and have a pomegranate and a doobie.
I think we were talking about sacred symbolism or some other kind of dark matter.
Suddenly this kid popped up (original photo).
I think he was living with his family in one of the shelters that you can see in between big roads and buildings in one of the most high end residential areas of Calcutta. The pores of his skin were colored by the petrol gases coming from those old taxi that keep in hostage the city.
He was begging for some rupees and, in my poor Hindi I say: “Nei Paisa’, baia. Fal?” (No money brother, Fruit?). He took an apple. I took a picture and 5 seconds after he disappear.
—– Playing and puzzling in the digital darkroom—–