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E-Pao! Opinion - My visit to Singapore

My visit to Singapore
- The land of impeccable innocence and justice -

Nikita Sharma Manoharmayum *



The ineffable beauty of Singapore made me realize there is much more in life than speed. I was driving it to my life. Helped me to look upwards to the branches of the towering oak and reminded me that it grew amass and strong because it grew slowly and well...

Since the day I have been there, my world became greener, gave me heart-content to do my duty and serve for the right and justice.

Air India and Singapore Tourism Board undertook a project where winners of Rank (Race for Awareness and Knowledge) and bolt (Broader Outlook Learner Teacher) award were taken for an ambassadorial visit to Singapore from 11th-15th October ’06. Teachers (BOLT awardees), students (Rank awardees), media partners from all over India and AIR India officials were under the same roof for the said days. The motto of AIR India for this project is “Towards responsible and active citizenship”.

I reckon myself to be one of the luckiest people to be honoured by giving this award. Hats off to the daily - Poknapham (media partner of Manipur) and AIR India.

The trip was meant to provide a better perception of knowledge for the students, outside the field of academic excellence. Everything was practical and that created a wonderful impact on all of us for all what we have seen in that short period of time.

The Bolt Award winners, my colleagues, the officials and the media persons were incredible! Albeit we were supposed to have a very unrealistic environment among ourselves as people totally new to each other were in acquaintance, we unexpectedly had a fully jocose and skittish one with co-operation in all possible ways.

At the Aquarium


One thing of the trip that tantalizes me still today is Singapore is a four-ethnic country. Singapore does not have a separate or an original race by its origin. There were Chinese, Malayans, Indians, Australians, etc. But to my surprise, none among them seem to have noticed that.

When we asked the question which race they belong to, everyone would say “I’m a Singaporean”, may it be personally or publicly. They do clearly know the meaning of “Unity and Integrity”. Above all, their Government gives army training to all the male personality of the country.

Anytime if anyone stands against the country, all of them are ready to stand up for the country. This shows their great sense of gratitude and respect towards their country. A stab of deceit comes up to say that this great feature is lacking in our country.

Singapore has no real estate resources. It even imports water from the nearby countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. They recycle it and use it. There is a water recycling centre.

People don’t boil it at homes or filter it at office indoors. They drink directly as tap water. This shows their consent of trust towards the higher authority.

The first day, we visited “Singapore Press Holding (SPH)”. This is a place where all media assembles for the accuracy of their reports before reaching out to the people. This clearly promises the Singaporeans of the news that they receive. This may be one of the strong reasons why this garden city is in burgeoning.

We had a conference with the Editors of four top Asian news agencies. Each one of them gave an oration of their news agency. Three among them were Indians and one among them was an Indian lady. Her position was greatly inspiring and drove me to never ebbing struggle.

She has taut features, incredible looks and sharp as a whip with impeccable instincts and an amiable smile. She seemed to have notch the ultimatum of life.

“Sentosa Island” is the main tourist spot of which the country is famous for. The whole island is made like a wonderland or a dreamland... free from all real life chaos and no shadow of ordained-malevolent environment.

We landed on the island with the help of a cable car through which we could see the overview topography of the country as well as the nearby neighbour countries too.

We then had 3-D rides which was even more magnificent than real rides. We were seated on a four sitter car-like thing inside a fully dark theatre. In the 45 minutes ride we were said to have driven to hell.

It was really imposing and realistic albeit it was just the manipulation of the 3-D effect. By the time the show ended all of us came out with nausea and felt like a loony to have believed the show to be just a theatre-show. We felt as though we just made a hair -thin escape from a logjam.

In the island itself, we even had the opportunity of ascending up to 160 metres above sea level. The tower had circular seats in it. We were rotated slowly as it went up so that we could have a bird’s eye 360 degree view of the topography.

From there we could see Malaysia, Indonesia and other nearby small islands. The provoking thought of stealing my eyes away from that alluring beauty of nature after some time when I reached land surface still annoys me to the core.

We then saw an orchid garden with varieties of well maintained lovely orchids. We also watched a dolphin half-hour show. Finally the last show of the island was during night time. It was “An extravaganza of lights-ballets set into popular tunes”. Water acted as the screen which was in the form of foam. Different colors of light were given from all sides to play a 3-D mega show.
At Singapore Science Centre


We visited Singapore Science Centre the next day. This is a show-case for all the science projects starting right from scratch to the most typical and complicated one; from the basics to the implementation of the latest technology.

We saw teachers bringing their students to teach them. This method of practical imposition on the children made them feel funny and curious to see what was going on in front of them. Every project was provided with a button. Thus the result is instantly seen. This informal way of learning inculcates a better image in their fresh minds rather than going for classroom teachings.

We were then driven into a Chinese garden- (Haw Par Villa) which looked very elegant with various unbeatable artifacts, each of which following an ancient theme of their culture. They gave Chinese cuisine for lunch which was simply fabulous, then drove us to China town where the whole town was filled with Chinese style-homes with various small windows fixed whole throughout the walls.

As for the night out, we were so much excited to be inside the tram of the “Night Safari”. Before the tram started its 45-minute voyage, all of us were wondering alike what was coming up next but well our enthusiasm never ebbed.

We saw almost all animals throughout the forest, starting right from the smallest birds to the biggest animals as elephants. The tram was secretly and so silently driven into the forest as it was open and cameras with flash were strictly prohibited as it would alarm them of intruders inside the forest and may attack us.

Next day, we were taken to “National University of Singapore (NUS)”. This is the main educational centre of the country and it consists of all fields of study. The University hosts around one million books in its library as to mention one of its elegance.

One important thing to mention is that they reckon equal importance of academic, curricular and co-curricular activities. They promote students’ inborn efortiories and interest in the form of various cultural clubs. I bet it would take anyone days to cover the nook and corner of the campus premises.
A group photo


We finally visited High Commission of India and had a conference with the Commissioner personally. We had a short discussion as to like what is the difference between the fast pace development of Singapore which got its independence in late 1967 and snail-speed developing India which got its independence about 20 years back. We concentrated much on this discussion as the name of the visit itself identifies as “Ambassadorial visit”.

We learned a lot of valuable things from the burgher of the garden city. They have Zebra-crossings. I don’t mean to say India is void of it. My point here is that they follow it strictly to its accord. We observed that even albeit the streets are void of vehicles, passers-by never try crossing it, they move up till the zebra-crossing.

This thus seems little effort and waste of time but the order and the perfection that this small thing brings is enormous and can maintain unique long-term stability of the country.

As to my surprise, we didn’t even see a cop during the whole period of our stay. This was something unusual to me personally, as for us we actually live and mingle with them unfortunately as a matter of fact.

We happen to meet few Indians while having our lunch one day. I asked questions to them like even Indians who come to visit or who got settled there, follow the same rules as imposed by the Singaporean Govt. They strictly act according to it.

But the moment these people lands on the surface of India, they return back to their ancient-old habits. Is it something that the Govt is not efficient or the burghers are not responsible or onus enough?

Well, we learned that Singapore Govt fixes camera whole throughout the country to watch out its burghers. So if anyone does anything against the mighty, the next second cops will be there at his side to accompany him.

This is not practically feasible in India. Size of the country owns the first in the list of excuses followed by the population. But with an onerous dedication and sincerity we can head our way on with a deep sense of gratitude towards the country and for a better comfortable living. It takes a little effort to leave the acrimonious side.

There were also three types of dustbins. Dustbins for paper, plastic and glasses. Every citizen does not confuse themselves with the dustbins. The reason is the Govt sends them for recycling. Thus they make full use of everything to the fullest extent.

After paying a visit and learning well "The Garden City", I feel like to transcend myself and discourse the inner, higher self that is in me. Singapore has really dilated my senses. It let me to dig deep into my insights to realize the truth (acrimonious society) that lay in front of me.

There are still many wonders yet to mention but for that I will need pages on again. Nevertheless like the howling winds, the lovely memories flashed tearing back, pulling at me the way we always were inured to.

I became anew. Singapore has really made a difference in my life...


* Nikita Sharma Manoharmayum wrote this article for The Sangai Express . This article was webcasted on 20th August , 2007.


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