Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Rough Guide Singapore Mini 3e [Paperback]

Rough Guide
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback CDN $18.39  
Paperback, Jan. 18 2001 --  
There is a newer edition of this item:
Rough Guide Singapore 7e Rough Guide Singapore 7e
CDN$ 15.87
In Stock.
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

Jan. 18 2001 Rough Guide to Singapore
INTRODUCTION Despite the immense changes the past century has wrought upon the tiny island of Singapore, natural historian William Hornaday’s succinct appraisal is as valid today as it was in 1885. Since gaining full independence from Malaysia in 1965, this absorbing city-state has been transformed from a sleepy colonial backwater into a pristine, futuristic shrine to consumerism. It is one of Southeast Asia’s most accessible destinations, its downtown areas dense with towering skyscrapers and gleaming shopping malls, while sprawling new towns with their own separate communities and well-planned facilities ring the centre. Yet visitors prepared to peer beneath the state’s squeaky-clean surface will discover a profusion of age-old buildings, values and traditions that have survived the profound social and geographical change. And the island has not been overwhelmed by development – even as you make your way in from the airport, you’ll be struck immediately by Singapore’s abundance of parks, nature reserves, and lush, tropical greenery. Inevitably, given its geographical position, the state is seen by most people as a mere stopover and, because of its size, you can gain an impression of the place in just a few hours. However, justifying a lengthier stay is easily done.

Singapore’s progress over the past three decades has been remarkable. Lacking any noteworthy natural resources, its early prosperity was based on a vigorous free trade policy, in place since 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles first set up a British trading post here. Later, mass industrialization bolstered the economy, and today the state boasts the world’s second busiest port after Rotterdam, minimal unemployment, and a super-efficient infrastructure. Almost the entire population has been moved from unsanitary kampungs (villages) into new apartments, and the average per capita income is over US$12,000. Yet none of this was achieved without considerable compromise – indeed, the state’s detractors claim it has sold its soul in return for prosperity.

Put simply, at the core of the Singapore success story is an unwritten bargain between its government and population, which accepts the loss of a certain amount of personal freedom, in return for levels of affluence and comfort that would have seemed unimaginable thirty years ago. Former prime minister, and now senior minister, Lee Kuan Yew has gone on record as saying, "When you are hungry, when you lack basic services, freedom, human rights and democracy do not add up to much." Outsiders often bridle at these sentiments, but the population, trusting the wisdom of its leaders, seems generally content to acquiesce to a paternalistic form of government that critics describe as soft authoritarianism. Consequently, Singaporeans have earned a reputation for cowed, unquestioning subservience, a view that can be overstated, but which isn’t without an element of truth. The past has taught Singaporeans that if they follow their government’s lead, they will reap the benefits. In addition, they take a pride in their country that occasionally extends to smugness – witness the huge celebrations that accompany National Day, Singapore’s annual collective pat on the back. Yet there is good reason to be proud: Singapore is a clean, safe place to visit, its amenities are second to none, its public places smoke-free and hygienic. And as the nation’s youth (who don’t remember a time before the improvements they take for granted) begin to find a voice, public life should become increasingly, if gradually, more liberal and democratic.

Whatever the political ramifications of the state’s economic success, of more relevance to the five million annual visitors to Singapore is the fact that improvements in living conditions have been shadowed by a steady loss of the state’s heritage as historic buildings and streets are bulldozed to make way for shopping centres. Singapore undoubtedly lacks the personality of some Southeast Asian cities, but its reputation for being sterile and sanitized is unfair. Shopping on state-of-the-art Orchard Road is undoubtedly a major draw for many tourists, but to do Singapore real justice, you’ve got to venture beneath its affluent sheen. Under the long shadows cast by the giddy towers and spires are the dusty temples, fragrant medicinal shops, and colonial buildings of old Singapore, neatly divided into historical enclaves, each home to a different ethnic culture. Much of Singapore’s fascination springs from its multicultural population: of the 2.7 million inhabitants, 78 percent are Chinese, a figure reflected in the predominance of shops, restaurants and temples across the island; fourteen percent are Malays; and seven percent are Indians (the remaining one percent is made up of other ethnic groups). This diverse ethnic mix textures the whole island, and often turns a ten-minute walk into what seems like a hop from one country to another. One intriguing by-product of this ethnic melting pot is Singlish, or Singaporean English, a patois which blends English with the speech patterns, exclamations and vocabulary of Chinese and Malay.

The entire state is compact enough to be explored exhaustively in just a few days. Forming the core of downtown Singapore is the Colonial District, around whose public buildings and lofty cathedral the island’s British residents used to promenade. Each surrounding enclave has its own distinct flavour, ranging from the aromatic spice stores of Little India, to the tumbledown backstreets of Chinatown, where it’s still possible to happen upon calligraphers and fortune tellers, or the Arab Quarter, whose cluttered stores sell fine cloths and silks. North of the city, you’ll find the country’s two nature reserves – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Area – and the splendid Singapore Zoological Gardens. In the west of the island, the East meets Disneyworld at Tang Dynasty City and Haw Par Villas; while the east coast features good seafood restaurants, set behind long stretches of sandy beach. In addition, over fifty islands and islets lie within Singaporean waters, all of which can be reached with varying degrees of ease. The best day trips, however, are to Sentosa, the island amusement arcade which is linked to the south coast by a short causeway (and cable car), and to Pulau Ubin, off the east coast, whose inhabitants continue to live a kampung life long since eradicated from the mainland.


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

Review

Rough Guides... make valuable holiday companions The Sunday Times Travel Magazine --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

After graduating from the University of Bristol, Mark Lewis spent a year teaching in Singapore, during which time he regularly contributed to the Singapore Strait Times. He is now editor of the award-winning Caterer and Hotelkeeper and is co-author of The Rough Guide to Vietnam and The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There are regular daily flights to Singapore from Britain and connecting flights from Ireland to all major British airports. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Reviews

5 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
The Rough Guides have always been a good compromise between the traditional Baedeker-style travel guides my parents used and the Lonely Planet guides from my backpacking days. The chunky Lonely Planets (the volume for China has the size and the weight of a solid brick) are still unrivalled when one wants to travel in a country with bad infrastructure and few tourist facilities; but for someone who travels light and wants to visit Singapore, the Mini Rough Guide to Singapore is a good choice.
It is a travel guide that fits easily into a pocket but has all the information one would expect: detailed coverage of the major sights, reviews of the best places to stay, eat and drink, a brief introduction to the history of Singapore, and nine useful color maps (including one for the subway system that came in handy). One of the highlights of the guide is a six-page section with short reviews of books for further reading. It includes not only travel accounts and history books but also works of literature that touch on Singapore, among them works by Anthony Burgess, Joseph Conrad, W. Somerset Maugham, and Paul Theroux (Mark Lewis, the author of the guide, spent a year teaching English in Singapore after graduating from university during which time he regularly contributed book reviews to the Singapore Straits Times).
The book is very readable, well organized, chock full of useful information for the visitor, and very "user-friendly". It would qualify for five stars were it not for two (minor) complaints: One is that travelling mostly on a limited time budget, I have always liked travel guides with a couple of suggestions for day tours around town (none here, unfortunately).
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise yet comprehensive - and it fits into your pocket! May 30 2001
By Boris Bangemann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Rough Guides have always been a good compromise between the traditional Baedeker-style travel guides my parents used and the Lonely Planet guides from my backpacking days. The chunky Lonely Planets (the volume for China has the size and the weight of a solid brick) are still unrivalled when one wants to travel in a country with bad infrastructure and few tourist facilities; but for someone who travels light and wants to visit Singapore, the Mini Rough Guide to Singapore is a good choice.
It is a travel guide that fits easily into a pocket but has all the information one would expect: detailed coverage of the major sights, reviews of the best places to stay, eat and drink, a brief introduction to the history of Singapore, and nine useful color maps (including one for the subway system that came in handy). One of the highlights of the guide is a six-page section with short reviews of books for further reading. It includes not only travel accounts and history books but also works of literature that touch on Singapore, among them works by Anthony Burgess, Joseph Conrad, W. Somerset Maugham, and Paul Theroux (Mark Lewis, the author of the guide, spent a year teaching English in Singapore after graduating from university during which time he regularly contributed book reviews to the Singapore Straits Times).
The book is very readable, well organized, chock full of useful information for the visitor, and very "user-friendly". It would qualify for five stars were it not for two (minor) complaints: One is that travelling mostly on a limited time budget, I have always liked travel guides with a couple of suggestions for day tours around town (none here, unfortunately). Secondly, I feel that a squeaky clean, efficient and hyper-controlled city like Singapore really asks for more irreverence and jokes than Mark Lewis allowed himself in his book. This is a matter of temperament, of course. Or maybe the editors of the Rough Guides series thought that a travel guide is not the right place to really indulge in the joys of oddities and ironies.
1.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Buy March 25 2013
By Neku2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Do not buy this guide for one reason - the maps are completely useless. The maps are illegible in their standard format and when zoomed in on, become more blurry. It's possible the rest of the book is good but I wouldn't know as I had to go out and buy myself one with usable maps.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback