Earlier last month, while traveling to the Philippines for a family wedding, my husband, Edric, and I made a weekend pit stop through Singapore on the way back to San Francisco. I didn’t have the most accurate picture of this Southeast Asian island nation, other than the unfortunate news accounts that stuck of the unusual corporal punishments one might receive by the government should you sully their pristine sidewalks with chewing gum.
While planning our trip from Manila, some Filipino relatives had even warned us about shiny Singapore being “soul-less” in comparison to gritty historic Manila. It would seem Singapore’s sterile cleanliness was the biggest impression left in the minds of foreign travelers I had encountered—a bias that lingered before having ever seen the place.
When we arrived, were happily surprised, entertained, and generally taken by our experience there. Yes, it’s true. Singapore is very, very clean. I can hardly remember coming across a single piece of litter or graffiti while strolling around the city—not necessarily a bad thing in my mind. Although the “no durian” signs plastered throughout the metro stations were definitely amusing!
But what I hadn’t really heard about prior to landing there was that this is a thriving global hub, with a gorgeous skyline, dotted by artful green spaces. Little did I know there would be a huge array of international fashion retail in the shopping centers along bustling Orchard Road, eclectic outdoor “hawker centers” where vendors sell delicious, authentic pan-Asian foods, and vibrant nightlife spilling out of chic bars, new casinos, and cafes.
Though we only had a few days, Edric and I managed to shop, eat, visit the national museum, and squeeze in some time for our usual sport of documenting street fashion when we travel together. With temperatures hovering at about 85 degrees fahrenheit, the muggy tropical air brought out Singaporeans sporting their winter wardrobes of trim sundresses, gladiator sandals, ballet flats, sun-shielding parasols, and assorted neutrals with bright pops of color.