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Singapore: A Weird Dystopian City

Singapore: A Weird Dystopian City

Asia, Singapore

I arrived in Singapore the evening of December 31st where I was meeting up with my friend to bring in the New Year.

Happy New Year's ya'll
Happy New Year’s ya’ll

New Years was quite the introduction to Singapore. Glimpses of my night include being shown the city by bros strutting around in togas, free chocolate cake, two pairs of broken flip flops, people spilling out of McDonalds, a group of dancing Indians, rebelling against “The Man” by using a selfie stick in the “no selfie stick zone”, and painful amounts of walking (I have a blister to prove it) before finding a cab.

Wooo. Definitely one for the books.

Luckily, my slightly hung-over self was woken up New Year’s day by McDonalds breakfast. And after a further nap, I was ready to see the city. This time, during normal daylight hours.


I’ll just go ahead and put this one out there: Singapore creeped me out.

I’ll come back to the why in a second.

Firstly, everything you hear about Singapore is true. It is the cleanest city I’ve ever been to. It’s also the greenest. Foliage is everywhere. The city itself is pretty small. And it’s easy to get around.



However, it all felt like a huge illusion! Like, what is this place? Really?

Everything was too perfect. Too clean.

I’ll start by saying that my favorite cities have what I can only describe as movement. There’s a tangible energy. A buzz you feel that you can almost reach out and touch. They’re bristling with life and emotion.

But everything in Singapore was almost exactly the same. Everyone stays in the lines. All the buildings look shiny and new.

All the corners looked pretty similar to me...
All the corners looked pretty similar to me…

I felt like I was in some weird dystopian novel where Corporations had taken over and ran everything.

There was no evidence of life. Musicians playing on the street. Graffiti. Trash blowing by. Nothing. Just malls, malls, and more malls.


This mall even has boat rides in it. For a tour of...the mall? The hell?
This mall even has boat rides in it. For a tour of…the mall? The hell?

Singapore feels soulless. And frankly, the city itself is boring.

I guess if all you want to do is shop in name brand stores found everywhere all over the world, then Singapore is the place for you. But for me, I’ll stick with the perfect craziness of Shanghai.

Have you or do you ever want to go to Singapore? Does the notion of a perfect city freak you out? Do you agree or did you see a different side of Singapore?

About the author

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  1. YoMomma
    January 15, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Hey, I tried to “like” this entry, but the internet is not cooperating. So I will just say to you “Like”! It looks like a beautiful city, which can be boring without the messiness of people to make things more interesting.

      January 22, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      The city itself is extremely beautiful. Just lacking character!

  2. Laura
    April 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    perhaps the Western conception ‘life’ is very different from the Singaporean, Asian conception of ‘life’. asian society tends to be more reserved, more private – and thus a lot of the ‘life’ that takes place, takes place away from the public eye. I love the buzzing energy of big global cities, and I know what you mean when you say that you don’t feel that in singapore, but I just wanted to point out that there is much more than meets the eye, and unless you are a member or insider of the society there is a lot that you are not privy to. it is a little disappointing that as someone who claims to be a ‘world traveller’ you do not display the open-mindedness to worldviews different from yours that travellers ought to have

    • Phyllis
      April 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Bullshit Asian societies tend to be more reserved, more private and that’s why Singapore gets an excuse for not having buzzing energy. I wrote this while living in another prominent Asian city and traveling all over Asia-I do get to have an opinion about cities. I acknowledge that I’m not an expert on Singapore and I didn’t claim to be. Of course there are cultural differences between Western and Eastern cultures. This post however wasn’t even a statement on cultures or worldviews. I stated that I think Singapore as a city was boring and a little creepy. I’m not retracting that statement.

  3. Hannes
    May 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Agree with Phyllis. Been there once, spent few hours in city and all I can say is…wow. Everything is so neat, everything is so well organized, everything is so brand new, so at the end I wasn’t sure is it all a camouflage or real.
    Like Orwell’s 1984 , but only in a more positive way. For instance all those posters in subway carriage, humorously asking travelers to put bag down or keep silence (Bag-Down Benny and Hush-Hush Hannah) made me feel subconsciously paranoiac. …
    No, don’t take me wrong – Singapore IS beautiful and picturesque, maybe even vibrant and friendly.
    But I felt myself quite unpleasant and warned: “The big brother is possibly watching you… “

    • Phyllis
      May 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Big Brother might be watching is so appropriate!!! Especially knowing things about Singapore’s government-like beating a man for spitting gum on the sidewalk and executing people importing marijuana. It made the whole place seem a little too brutal.

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