As Singapore recently unveiled the brand new Sentosa Boardwalk, a foot bridge linking the mainland with Sentosa island, Malaysia remains pretty much the same.
Once Singapore and Malaysia were one, known as Malaya, but since Singapore broke away and became independent, they are now like two different stories, worlds apart despite their close geographic proximity. I travel to Singapore regularly in 3-5 month intervals and the stark differences between the two countries can be felt when crossing the causeway. Fair enough, Malaysia now have their new CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) complex, but that is still inconvenient with a lot more walking and a lot more driving round and round in what seems like never-ending circles.
Crossing the causeway, it's remarkable to see Malaysia on one side disappearing into the distance, and Singapore so close on the opposite side, materialising into view. One can't help but wonder how these two countries became so far apart in economy, civility and development. Indeed, there is a different smell in the air when I enter Singapore's territory. Everything is clean and immaculately tidy. Rules and laws are clearly displayed on buses and trains, and people stick to them. The public transport is a joy to use, highly convenient, and I don't get locals staring at me the way I do in Malaysia. There is an upper-class taste about the entire island. Police regularly patrol the streets and MRT stations, ensuring order is being upheld by its citizens.
And every time I go to Singapore, there's always something new! The last time I went there I was amazed to see the stunning Marina Bay Sands complex standing tall over Marina Bay. What a sight it is! I spent hours walking around the grounds, taking pictures, viewing the shopping mall, the hotel, the funky bridge that looks like twisted metal etc. It wasn't there the last time I went to Singapore before that! I'm amazed at how fast they develop the island. Resorts World Sentosa is another project that has been finished fairly quickly, opening up Sentosa to a whole new host of visitors.
And now the most recent addition is the Sentosa Boardwalk, a foot-bridge linking the mainland with Sentosa island. It comes complete with retail shops, F&B outlets and travellators for the weary traveller. While the boardwalk leads tourists to the main attraction, being Sentosa, it in itself has become a whole new attraction, another tourist pull, another development that will leave a lasting longing in the hearts of all visitors to come back again. And, of course, there is the lovely question in the back of your head - What new development will have sprouted up the next time I come?
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Teo Chee Hean, gave a speech at the Sentosa Boardwalk opening celebrations on 29th January, 2011 at Sentosa. For the text of his words, please follow the link:
Shortly after writing this post I came across an interesting blog about Asia and I'd like you to visit this link for an one person's alternative view about the fabulous city-island of Singapore: