Aug 19, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities and a Village of 107 Countries

Monday was my last and only full day in Singapore. I started it off with a trip to the beautiful botanical gardens, including the national orchid garden. Then I headed over to Chinatown and walked over to the biggest hawker stall center, La Pau Sat. After eating some hainanese chicken rice, mango juice and an egg tart, I headed to the Merlion statue, perhaps the most famous landmark in Singapore. Next, I visited the asian civilizations museum. It had exhibits on West Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia. It gave me a better idea of how the many different cultures surrounding Singapore have influenced its history. In the evening, I watched the light show at the Fountain of Wealth and walked around it clockwise three times for good luck.

Tuesday, I took a train to Kuala Lumpur. It was a long, slow train ride, with many stops along the way. But the scenery was beautiful and the price was to my liking. I checked in to our hostel by Chinatown. The outside of the hostel is pretty dodgy and hard to find, but inside, I found a cozy space, some funky decorations and some AIESECers.

Kuala Lumpur is very different from Singapore. I don’t even know where to start. There are so close to one another but worlds away. Singapore is unlike any other Southeast Asian city. It’s the cleanest, prettiest, most efficient city I have ever been to and likely will ever see. It puts Victoria to shame. Everyone is incredibly well-dressed. The streets and buildings are in tip-top condition. Rules are in place everywhere. No spitting out chewing gum, no eating on the subway, and no jay-walking. In KL, you have to be careful with every step so as to avoid cracks in concrete. You need to constantly look both ways when crossing the street. There is a complicated matrix of train lines: LRT, MRT, monorail and more. And each and every pass or ticket you buy will only work on one of the lines. Also, the weather here is much more hot and humid. I have gone through six bottles of water today and could have easily drunk more.

Today (Wednesday), Thomas, the LCP of Saskatoon, and I visited Chinatown and the Petronas Towers. We also stopped by the Canadian High Commission to get some giveaways for our Global Village table on the first night of IC. We managed to score some “Study in Canada” flyers to hand out. During Global Village, every AIESEC Member Committee attending gets a booth to promote their country. We are to wear our traditional costumes (in our case hockey jerseys, toques and red and white) and hand out traditional food (in our case maple cookies and candies) as well as little things to promote our country. There will be over 100 countries together in one room celebrating one another’s cultures. I can’t wait!
See a video about Global Village here:

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