(Not) Crazy Rich Asians: everyday life in a Singapore public housing estate

(Not) Crazy Rich Asians: everyday life in a Singapore public housing estate

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(Not) Crazy Rich Asians: everyday life in a Singapore public housing estate

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Often referred to as the Monaco of the East, Singapore is associated with futuristic architecture, glamour, and wealth best represented by the film, "Crazy Rich Asians." Iconic landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay seal the deal. Undoubtedly, Singapore is a wealthy country – among the wealthiest in the world. But what is life really like for most Singaporeans? Do we all live in fancy mansions and have jet-setting lifestyles? (Perhaps if you consider flying budget airlines to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur to be jet-setting!) Many may be surprised to know that over 80 percent of Singaporeans live in public housing, i.e. apartments constructed by a government agency called the Housing and Development Board (HDB). These HDB apartments are clustered into "estates" to form local communities. (Yes, we live very, very close to each other hence the nickname 'pigeonholes' is sometimes used to describe HDB apartments!) As we walk through my housing estate, I'll show you the sights, sounds and rhythm of everyday life in Singapore. Among the highlights is our stop at my local Hawker Center (aka Coffee Shop). The Coffee Shop – not to be mistaken for a Starbucks cafe! - is where the locals hang out drinking Kopi and discuss how to fix the world! While at the food center we'll witness Singapore's unique fusion of different cultures through its food: Chinese food, Indian food, Malay food and everything in-between! (Singapore's street food is listed by UNESCO as an intangible World Heritage.) Through the walk you'll get a glimpse of the distinct lifestyle of Singaporean 'heartlanders' - as distinct from the lifestyle of global, cosmopolitan types typically found in the more central areas of the city. A far cry from the glitz and glamour experienced by most travelers to Singapore, this tour is perfect for travelers who wish to see the "real" Singapore not found in guide books or traditional tourist sites ... only found around my neighborhood!

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