Chapter 17: Sentosa Island - the Main Attraction?


At that point our Guide rushed up to destroy my reverie.

Guide: “Hurry up. The others are waiting. We have to catch the Cable cars which will take us to Sentosa Island - the highlight of our tour.”

Me: “Cable cars to an island?”

Guide: “They are like air gondolas. They are suspended by cables and give a great view of the city.”

Laurie: “That’s sounds exciting.”

Me: “Gulp. High over the city. Suspended by wires.”

Guide: “Is that a problem?”

Laurie: “He’s just afraid of heights.”

Me: “Don’t worry. I’ll deal with it.”

High above the ocean in these little bubbles which seat four, Miranda: “Look. Just like I thought. I can see some native settlements over there.” Pointing with her finger at some straw huts.

Once we landed we entered a double decker bus packed with tourists.

Serena: “I’m getting a bad feeling about this.”

From this moment we were rushed from a small crowded aquarium with exotic fish - to a porpoise show - to Cinerama, a Disneyland like movie ride which takes the viewer back to the time of the Dinosaurs to cap an exploding volcano (For some reason it is housed in a simulated Mayan like architecture which looks like ruins.)

Miranda: “Each was more tacky than the one that went before.”

Serena: “The Monterey Bay Aquarium was much more stimulating.”

Me: “We see porpoises at the beach nearly every time we go down.”

Laurie: “Star Tours in Disneyland was much longer and way more interesting.”

Miranda: “I would go to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco if I wanted to see docks.”

Me: “The crowds are suffocating me.”

Serena: “Me too.”

Guide: “You have 45 minutes before the laser light show. You might want to take a Monorail ride around the island.”

Laurie: “Lets. At least it will get the air moving.”

On the way around the island they showed us the ‘world class’ golf course, the simulated native village that Miranda had seen from the sky, and the mini camp ground for those who wanted to ‘rough’ it. At each station there were TV monitors with attractive young people saying how ‘fun’ Singapore was. The viewer was exhorted to come to Sentosa Island for ‘fun’.

Miranda: “Everything is fake here.”

Serena: “Plastic.”

We arrived late for the laser light show. It was packed with people. In the middle was a gigantic 20 foot tall statue of the Merlion.

Serena and Miranda started giggling uncontrollably.

The laser light was shown upon water sprays creating a mindless array of images, which the audience wildly applauded. We left before it was over to avoid the rush.

Ernie, one of the members of our tour group: “I’ve seen better in Las Vegas. Why would I want to come half way around the world to see this second rate amusement park.”

Later he and his wife went to China town to visit what was left of old Singapore.

Ernie: “It would have been nice if there were real Chinese there. It was just a front.”

I begin laughing uncontrollably.

Laurie: “What’s so funny?”

Me: “Everything is just a facade here. Even Chinatown is only a stage set up for tourists with no reality of its own. This is the best money can do. It has no foundation. It is just a sham. All show. No substance. Flickering lights and sounds after you die. One of the lower Bardos in the after death plane. Don’t get attached or you’ll be reborn in a demented state -a diminished life form - a monster plagued by desires and fear.”

The next day we flew home.

Laurie looking out the window of the jet: “Wow. I didn’t see hardly any sign of tropical vegetation or rain forests. With Singapore only 70 miles north of the equator, I was expecting to see much more. Flying out I could see the whole island. All I saw were buildings with just a smattering of trees. It made me sad.”

“I wonder what happened to Singapore?” I thought to myself. “Everything is so out of balance. I’ll do some research when I get home.”


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