I'm late this year!
Singapore's National Day is 9th Aug and I meant to blog on that day itself but somehow didn't. I also wanted to catch the fireworks but didn't either; it was gorgeous even on tv.
Talking about fireworks take note that there is a meteor shower tonight (Tues) and tomorrow night (Wed) depending on your location. The Perseid meteor shower occurs yearly when Earth runs into a trail of dust and pebbles deposited by the comet Swift-Tuttle in its 130-year orbit around the sun. I'm peeking out of my window and as usual there is NOTHING! Most likely due to the bad vantage point and light pollution.
The photo above is taken about several weeks back at night. You can see my merlion daytime photo here:
Since its National Day, I'm obliged to share (or bore you) with 10 things about Singapore =)
1. The weather is typically hot and humid. The worst of all is humidity - 80% is our normal days. With consecutive rainy days humidity can be 100% and nothing gets evaporated. Everything grows mouldy here.
2. Chewing gum is banned, as you might already know. Nicotine gum is permitted but you need a prescription for it. And no, you won't go to jail for chewing gum. You cannot import or sell it that's all. It's not as if you'd get hauled for having gum in your mouth/ pocket. In retrospect I'm glad they banned it; there's always irresponsible actions of not disposing the gum properly, sticking on lift buttons and train doors even. Plain disgusting. It's a bit funny when I think about my last legal pack of gum which fell out of a hole in my pocket in the end.
3. We still have judicial caning, for men only. We do have pretty strict laws. Drug trafficking = death. Though you won't get caned/ jailed for littering or jaywalking lol. Caning was adopted during the British colonial days. There's also another form of caning... called discipline caning for naughty kids from their parents! I'd say it is an effective form of discipline. It crosses the line to become abuse if the child suffers injuries out of the parent's irrational anger. Regarding strict laws, some people say it's against human rights and all that, but if you break the law, you have to face the music. You already know how it is here. If you don't want to suffer, don't commit crimes. Or go elsewhere... or if you're really smart, don't get caught!
4. Singapore does not have any natural disasters or natural resources. No earthquakes, no hurricanes, no four seasons, no mountains, no freshwater. We buy water from Malaysia and rely on rainfall collected in reservoirs. There are some disputes over the price of water from Malaysia so there's this NEWater plant in process. It is basically recycling sewage water into potable water. My friend tasted it before and remarked that it tasted strange because it was too clean - pure H2O. Go figure lol.
5. What we have are lots of lightning storms, workaholics, geeks, shopping malls, food outlets and blog shops (visit mine - Lemon Kitscharms on the right sidebar).
6. Singapore is in its 44th year of independence this year. The strangest thing is Singapore didn't want to be independent because of a lack of everything needed for survival. Let's just say independence was a nightmare came true. The island was supposed to merge with the Federation of Malaya but was kicked out shortly due to ideological conflicts between the State government (Singapore) and the Central Government (Malaya) in 1965. It was all in anguish that then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew cried on national tv as he broke the news of separation and independence. As I said, Singapore had no natural resources, high unemployment and major housing problems then but who would have thought that it was probably the best thing to happen?
7. During the Japanese Occupation, Singapore was renamed 'Shonanto' which means 'Light of the South'.
8. The four official languages are: English, Malay, Chinese Mandarin and Tamil. The national language is Malay for historical reasons. The administrative language is English for neutrality. As of 2009, 75% of the population are Chinese, 14% Malays, 9% Indians and the rest are under the collective term 'Others'. Our unofficial national language is 'Singlish'. The government abhor it, foreigners don't understand it and Singaporeans are divided over whether they like it or hate it. It's a hybrid of all the languages we use and with some new words from our imaginations.
9. The earliest settlement on this island dates back to 2 century AD. It was known as 'Temasek' (sea town) then and had a bustling trading port. Then in the 14th century, an Indonesian prince named Sang Nila Utama founded the island and named it 'Singapura' which means 'Lion City' because he saw a strange beast with a red body, a black head and white breast. His chief minister told him it was a lion. Some people think it was a tiger since lions don't exist here... but who knows? (cryptozoologists hear!) Portugese, Dutch, British, Japanese came and went in history.
10. 80% of the population are short-sighted, this includes children. I blame it on too much studying (national obsession), reading, tv, computer, homework and genetics.
That's it. Majulah Singapura. God bless Singapore.