SINGAPORE (Part One)
DAY 36 - 15 February 2023
CURRENT POSITON: ENROUTE TO LAEM CHABANG (BANGKOK) THAILAND)
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting live from Queen Mary 2
SINGAPORE TWO DAY PORT CALL 13/14 February 2023
Singapore Cruise Society Photo used with permission:
"Lovely blog there! You're welcome to use the QM2 photos. You may credit us in the caption."
Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state located at the Southern end of the Malay Peninsula. It consists of 63 islands. The main island, Singapore, is officially called Pulau Ujong. Folklore ascribes this name to a 14th century Sumatran prince, Sang Nila Utama, who, on landing on the island after a thunderstorm renamed it Lion City, having spotted a beast identified as a lion.
Singapore is a go-getting, ultra-modern city, forward-thinking but traditional and conservative. Penalties for infringement of regulations can be harsh and penalties are imposed for anti-social behaviour such as littering, jaywalking or more seriously, drug-smuggling. The island has been Independent since the 1960’s when it broke with Britain and first annexed with Malaya and then moved to full scale autonomy. Singapore’s economy is robust and the city attracts global corporations, banking Institutes and high-level investment. Major development and re-claiming of land from the sea, enables the construction of expensive high-rise residences commercial offices and super-sized retail plazas.
Residents and tourists must adhere to the highest standards of behaviour, as in traditional communist countries, the good of all the community and the rights of the people are perceived to be paramount. A high proportion of the workforce are employed by the government and it proves an effective way to monitor and manage the population.
Beaurocracy reigns supreme. On her World Voyage , QM2 enters and exits cities and countries in an ostensibly seamless fashion. Singapore is an exception. The immigration and passport procedures are time consuming and heavy handed. Every single person on the ship, crew included, even those who had no intention of leaving the ship, were obliged to submit to face-to-face interviews with armies of immigration officials. Hour after hour the disembarking of passengers dragged on even though rigorous individual applications to enter the country and verification of covid vaccination status and health questionnaires had been filed before the ship entered port in Singapore.
Fortunately, on this occasion, we had two days and an over-night to ensure that visits onshore though reduced, were not completely disrupted. Hours of waiting-in-ine to pass through the inspections meant passengers, especially those with mobility issues, were exhausted before they even set foot on Singapore Island.
Those booked on ship’s excursions regrouped and appropriate time adjustments made.Independent travellers had the benefit of a shuttle service in o the landmark Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre complex. From there, buses, taxis and Big Bus hop on, hop off services could be accessed. The red bus route passed world famous Singapore buildings and the top deck proved as good a place as any to scan the city in a drive past.
The triple towered Marina Bay with an observation platform and rooftop walkway that connects the building; the National Library, government and corporate buildings, churches and steeples. Singapore is spotlessly clean and functional, The skyline appears to be constructed with efficiency in mind rather than a real aesthetic vison. Towers stand alongside each other in a random fashion without co-ordination of colour or design. Supremely well organised, a place for everything and everything in its place. The 33 million residents are from the Malay, Indian and Chinese communities and to all appearances, co-habit peacefully with each other and the fifty-percent of their population who are not Singaporeans.
Singapore’s urban centres were planned going back over 50 years and each nationality was located their own area, China Town, India Town, Thai Town and the Malay enclave. All the communities have their places of worship, Sultan Mosque, churches, temples, and shrines. The weather in Singapore can be fierce and the sun shone throughout the day though we only reached just over 80 degrees, a breeze followed us across the river and gave some relief from the heat.
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Our route passed Beach Road, a golden mile of architectural innovations. We drove down Bogey Street the former home of working girls, transvestites, lady boys and drug dealers. But that was all before the total overhaul and urbanisation of the city. People’s Park was modelled after Hyde Park in London and has a speaker’s corner where individuals, having obtained a permit, can express their views to the public.
The World’s largest floating stadium hosts entertainment, events, performances and sport; the magnificent Gardens by the Bay with its ornamental trees that look like flying saucers put on a light, music and sound show twice each evening – no charge.
Evening time on Queen Mary 2. A folk performance from a multi-cultural team of dancers. Malay, Chinese and Indian dancers joined together for a colourful presentation of traditional dances. Male and Female dancers dressed in vibrant colours with the men in gold skirts and silver hats and the ladies wearing gold with bright fuchsia sashes. All were barefoot. To Bollywood type high-energy music, the dancers offered welcomes to their country. Greeting the season was danced with colourful fans, The last dance came with high impact aerobics and a warning “Do not try this at home.These are all professionaldancers, trained to undertake dangerous moves”The audience were on their feet clapping and cheering by the end of the dance.The colour, the energy and the grace of the dances and the dancers made for a happy ending to our first day in Singapore.
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THE SINGAPORE PHOTO GALLERY (PART ONE)
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STAY TUNED FOR SINGAPORE PART TWO: RAFFLES
plus meet QM2's Dance Hosts !!!
QM2 will return to Singapore on the 23 of February
SINGAPORE FULL PHOTO GALLERY
Singapore Cruise Society Photo used with permission: lovely blog there!
You're welcome to use the QM2 photos. You may credit us in the caption.
Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Singapore to Laem Chabang
Departure was 23 hrs 45 min ago. (at 19:00 h local time)
Arrival will be in 1 d 12 hrs 45 min. (at 06:30 h local time)
Traveled distance since Singapore: 321.54 nm (595.49 km)
Remaining distance to Laem Chabang: 499.74 nm (925.52 km)
Happy Sailing ... The Journey continues... Ellen
NEXT PORT - BANGKOK, THAILAND
17/18 February 2023 (Overnight)
Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)
Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.