EASTER LAYOVER: SINGAPORE
The Mid-terms just ended – thank heavens – but the Finals are approaching. In between these two hells, luckily, is the Easter break, which I call “the Easter Layover”.
To Christians, Easter is a festival of remembrance and reflection, a celebration of the resurrection of Christ, the core figure of the Christian faith. Yet allow me to not focus on the more spiritual aspect of Easter in this blogpost. What I’m going to talk about here is “Easter” as a generic holiday, i.e. the non/less-Christian side of the festival.
So, the Easter break. This “in-between” is, as mentioned, what I call the “Easter Layover” - the break that would make it okay. (Yes, I just quoted Sarah Mclachan). I’m pretty sure most of us are glad that those hours of late-night cramming and deadline-fighting during the mid-terms are over – but are they really so? Hmm. Debatable. Nonetheless, I can say that they are things of the past, at least temporarily. That’s why I call the Easter break “the Layover” – it’s that period of rest and wait before the further stage, that is, the Final exams, of the journey of the semester. As cheesy as this sounds, I still think there’s some truth to it. Better get some rest and recharge before fighting the big guys than fall sick and get marmalized, I suppose?
That said, I spent the Easter weekend in Singapore mostly travelling, resting, meeting friends, eating, AND getting work and studying done.
Surrendering to the regular tourist routine, I visited the main tourist spots – Marina Bay Sands, Orchard Road and Sentosa (I stayed there). Marina Bay Sands was beautiful. Having had a (very) quick stroll along the MBS boardwalk, despite the heat that scorches and humidity that suffocates, I had a beautiful view of the Marina Bay as well as the city’s central business district.
After that, my friend (she’s an exchange student at HKU last semester) took me up to Ku Dé Ta, a bar at the very top of Marina Bay Sands. The view from up high was spectacular – you could almost see all of Singapore from there. As for the famous infinity pool, since you’d supposedly need to be staying at MBS to assess the pool, although we did consider sneaking in (that’s a #YOLO moment – sorry!) we didn’t end up going in the end. Even so, I had a great time chilling (pun intended) “on top of the world” and sipping SGD$30+ margaritas.
Orchard Road was also quite lovely. I’d say shopping in Hong Kong is definitely much nicer compared to Singapore, considering the 7% general tax and the fact that things in Singapore are generally much more expensive, but the fun part was that Singapore carries a lot of brands and shops that we don’t or no longer have in Hong Kong, so I guess it’s worth it.
Food was also a great, if not the best, part of the layover. Yes, I’m sure you can get decent Char Kway Teow, Mee Siam and Laksa in Hong Kong, but the ones in Singapore are beyond amazing, and I mean it. See for yourselves.
Another thing about the food in Singapore – you know how they say all the good chefs in Hong Kong are gone? It’s true. With much higher pay, greater working and living benefits and in general much more respect towards the culinary experts, they’ve all come to Singapore. I’m not even kidding. I can assure you that nearly all Chinese restaurants in Singapore hire chefs and dim-sum “see-fu(師傅, i.e. masters)”s from Hong Kong. I’ve tried some of the best Peking ducks in Hong Kong and Beijing and I’ve got to say that those in Singapore are, to my surprise, not only above par, but possibly even nicer than the ones I’ve tried.
And need I say more about the custard buns?
A pleasant surprise was I actually got to visit NUS, the National University of Singapore, as well Holland Village. I still cannot get over how the NUS campus is so big and beautifully designed, and the residential apartments having little canal-like pools and balconies that actually remind me of the luxury apartments back home. Did I even mention they have their very own mini “infinity pool”?
As for Holland Village, it is a neighbourhood in Singapore popular among younger Singaporeans and expatriates, famous for its chic bars and eateries. In some ways it reminds me of Hong Kong’s SoHo district.
I know what you’re thinking… that I did not do any work during the layover. Now there you’re wrong! I actually did manage to get work done – quite a lot, in fact. I mean, with a view like this and an easy, relaxing atmosphere, working and studying felt so much easier.
Well I guess that’s more or less it on my Easter Layover. Now that I’m back, hopefully this recharge/relax weekend in Singapore would get me prepared for another few weeks of hell. All the best for your finals guys!