Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's an extremely wealthy city with modern high-rises everywhere. (I sometimes wondered if it's wealth could be traced back in any way to its enthusiastic consumerism. In Japan, most goods are still sold in small mom & pop shops. Japan's not very consumer-oriented and its economy has been stagnant for decades. In Singapore, there's a huge mall on every other block, complete with a Gap, Benetton, Starbucks, etc. And they're packed!) Yet it is also a very tiny city-state that takes no more than 45 minutes to drive from one end of the island to the other. Basically, it's a country about the size of Nashville.
Although I was there for only a few days, I had the chance to see some really interesting things, entirely due to the effort of my colleagues at Quest to take me touring. Thanks Clara and Jo Lee! I was able to see the temple section of town where there's a big Hindu temple, an ornate Buddhist temple (notice the reverse swasticas in the earlier picture? they are still a holy symbol in the orient), and a large Christian church all in a row. It's very interesting to pass by the Hindu and Buddhist temples where people are actually making offerings and praying to their gods' idols.
As the picture at left shows, there's a right way to pray and a wrong way to pray. The right way to pray is to clasp the incense or flower offering in both hands and then raise it to your forehead while standing erect. As you repeat the prayer or go through the various elements of your prayer, you raise and lower your hands throughout. The bigger the prayer, the more incense or flowers you should be offering.
The Singaporean government controls things through prices. Don't want a lot of cars you say? How 'bout a double-the-price tarrif! A Nissan Maxima costs $80,000 there.
We had two big presentations while I was there and, I hope, brought in a lot of new leads to the sales team there in Singapore. It was great meeting the team there and I hope to go back some day.
They've already suggested that I might come back next year and also speak at our other big offices in Asia - Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Bangkok in Thailand. Well, if that happens, then I plan on taking asome vacation when I'm there!