Three things strike you when you get to Singapore: the green, security and order. If you think you’ll find the same mess as in China you are completely wrong. It’s nothing like that. Every detail is carefully looked after. Flower-beds and parks are cleaned nearly every day. Pavements are neat and so is every building. Even the underground is clean and you feel you can sit down without worrying about grease and dirt or a bad smell (I really can’t say the same about Milan…).
Everything looks almost perfect. Some people say too perfect. They say this isn’t a real city: there are too many bans and people move too mechanically. Maybe it is like that, but one must take into account the history and complex reality of this City. Singapore was created as a trading post and port along the spice route by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. It became of the most important commercial and military centers of the British Empire and the hub of British power in Southeast Asia (from Wikipedia).
Nearly two hundred years later its main function hasn’t really changed. Singapore is still a hub, a place to do business, a place where business can start up very quickly and its strategic position gives access to Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and many other Asian countries.
It is also a place where lots of cultures – which elsewhere would clash – manage to get along. How do they do it? I believe one of the reasons is because there are rules, rules that in this context are applied very strictly and oblige each party to act responsibly. This is very evident when you consider the religious aspect. I was surprised to find out that along the same street where I work, just a few hundred yards from each other, there are a Buddist Temple, a Hindu temple and a Mosque. Would you see that in Italy or somewhere else in Europe?