My Diwali this time was spent in a unique way - in Singapore!!
Being my first visit outside India, it was a great experience.
To begin with, here are a few facts and comparisons (source):
Singapore, though has a very short history (of about 600 years), established its identity in the guild of nations of the world.
It is a very small country compared to India, being 699 sq.KMs(190th largest country) and having about 4 million people.
India is the 7th largest and has 3,287,590sq.KMs and more than a billion people (!!) (source)
But in terms of the GDP per capita, India(122nd place) is way behind Singapore(22nd place) (source)
Tourism is one of the largest industries of Singapore, with about 9 million tourists in 2005.
Singapore has a rich mixture of different cultures as it is mainly formed out of immigrants from Malay, Chinese, Indian, British among other places. From what I observed, the identity of singapore as a country has evolved as an amalgam of the different immigrants who have settled there.
The importance given to small details which may seem insignificant to us Indians, hit me right on the face. Be it the roads, or the cleanliness, or the infrastructure effort that has gone into the architecture and planning, especially with respect to the tourists, it is commendable.
The blend of art and technology is visible everywhere. Its indeed very difficult to get lost out there, with all the indicators and helpful people. The creativity with which the places are built makes it a pleasure for tourists to spend time.
Well, they do have their own set of problems, which I wont go into now, but on the whole, it is a beautiful country.My visit made me learn a lot about India too, along with, needless to say, Singapore.
I am not trying to compare two nations and rate them or anything of that sort. The few days that I have seen in singapore is very trivial to make any such comparison. And also, as obvious from the facts, the scale at which these countries operate is totally different.
It was definitely a good decision to visit Singapore. Thanks to my sister who pushed for it the most, we decided to go in the last moment. I'll upload a few snaps when I get some time.
Majulah Singapura!! (Malay:"Onward, Singapore")