DISCOVERY INTERN: EXPLORING SINGAPORE
Taking in the lights of Marina Bay and meeting merchants on Arab Street.
Wandering around one of the world’s most amazing cities.
The contrast of Singapore is amazing. If you head in to the main city, you’re dwarfed by huge, modern day buildings. Yet if you head 5-10 minutes out, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by rich culture, street vendors and religious sites. It’s awesome though, if you ask most locals where they’re from they’ll tell you Singapore! Chinese, Indian, Malay, or Arab, to them they are one nation, regardless of their differences.
Quite possibly the best light show you’ll ever see. Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is comprised of “Supertrees,” the tallest being 50m and boasting around 162,900 different plants! Who said man and nature couldn’t work together?
Singapore’s Clarke Quay at night! This area is the hub of nightlife. The entire place comes alive with performances, pop-up street vendors and underground clubs. Light trails illuminate the Singapore River as many boats pass by.
The colours of Arab Street. A lamp merchant carefully finishes bubble wrapping one of his lamps for a customer. Often these lamps will be hand-made in Turkey, imported and sold alongside exotic middle Eastern rugs. Many of these workers come from India and Bangladesh, working under Lebanese and Turkish businessmen.
This is Ataur Rahmam, he migrated to Singapore many years ago to provide better living conditions for him and his family. He comes from a small town in Bangladesh, which he described as being a daily hustle. In his home, they would often work long hours as labourers, with little to no days off, clearing around $200 Singaporean dollars each month. He and his family often survived on rice, dhal and other staple food sources, sometimes only being able to afford a single meal per day. Since moving to Singapore, he has found refuge in Bugis, an area within Little India where he works selling hand-made Turkish lamps and exotic Persian rugs. He has since been able to provide better living conditions for himself, his wife and three children, while selling lamps which he says brings him a sense of fulfilment. ‘Many people come to my shop and lose themselves in the colours of the lamps, they will stand there and forget where they are for a while. This is the magic of the lamps, this is why I love selling the beautiful glasses, because I know the people will love them in their home, and it makes me happy to bring happiness to other people from around the world.’
– Ben Mikha
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