“I’m only here for the day because of my visa,” I explained to the Customs agent. He nodded, requested my exit flight information, and stamped my passport.
Two new countries in less than two weeks I thought to myself while walking in Singapore’s famed airport. What else would my new job have in store for me?
The reason why I found myself jetting off to Singapore with other co-workers was so we could finalize our work visa paper work. From what I understand (which isn’t much), Indonesian law recently changed. Thus, I had to exit the country to be able to get my documents…
…which meant I had a day to explore a new country with my employer footing the bill.
I couldn’t be mad at that!
Despite this amazing set-up, I ended up not liking Singapore. Put differently, I wasn’t impressed.
Maybe my expectations were too high because everyone said it’s so modern and clean. I found it to be over-priced and filled with nothing but places to shop that were too expensive for my frugal blood. I went hoping to buy more conservative dress shirts to fit the Muslim culture I live in (re: preferably, no bared shoulders or sleeveless tops). I left with one shirt I now realize does not suit my body type and a feeling that the people I encountered were not as friendly as the people I encountered in Indonesia.
Besides that, why should I be impressed because a country seems to be “un-Asian?” The western world does not hold a monopoly on clean streets, public infrastructure, and an abundance of goods. So, again, I wasn’t impressed.
Maybe Singapore will grow on me. To my surprise, I’ll be back up there two more times this semester for work-related items.
I’m happy to go though. This is just one more example of how education, literally, can take you to places you never expected to visit.
That’s something that does impress me.