Moving to Singapore

After nearly two years in Beijing , it was time for something different.  Singapore is as different as it can be.  Singapore is sooo smaaalll that on a map surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia, the island is a dot on the ‘i’ in Singapore.   It is soooo smaaalll, that  it’s described as the only shopping mall with a passport.  But in smallness, there is perfection.

As much as China is huge, wild and bewildering , Singapore is minute, orderly and impeccable.  This is a country that’s been molded and managed like a Fortune 500 company .. Singapore Inc.  It has a corporate style buzz that pervades the the city and results in citizen services that boggle the mind in efficiency and accuracy.

Driving through Singapore I am always captivated by the manicured greeness of it all.   Huge trees line every highway.  Tree top canopies protect traffic and citizens from the sun.  Public highways look like private arboretums.

As it turns out .. these are  arboretums.  Every tree, very shrub is inventoried and cataloged by the city.  Not for mother nature to manage growth, that sartorial spendor is maintained by armies of city landscapers.  No roadway is allowed without trees – by city ordinance and  feng shui necessity .  An urban ethos builds around this greeness. Impeccable landscaping becomes a civic right.  The other day I passed at tree in need of  pruning.   I  felt visually affronted at the shabbiness of the tree.  It  muddied my  sight-line with its straggly limbs and dried up leaves.    I am  no gardener but  I think about how to fix that tree, how to clip here, chop there, make it healthy , make it fit in.

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