Singapore

Singapore1I’ve heard people say that they don’t
find Singapore very exciting…

It’s too well organised, too many new buildings, too clean… In fact they have hard fines against littering. Throwing a cigarrett butt on the pavement would cost you 300 Singapore $, about 180 Euros, but I can’t say I mind. They have car tolls, so there is no traffic jam like you would meet in any other Asian big city. And I find the mixture of modern skyskrapers, more traditional buildings and colonial constructions very interesting. Besides the city is green and beautiful!

They have several gardens abundant with orchids and other plants

They have a China Town, even if it’s small

They have a Little India

They have several buildings from colonial days

AND ABOVE ALL, THEY HAVE RAFFELS!

I admit to a weakness for old colonial hotels, and Raffles is the queen of them. It was founded in 1887. Singapore had become known as the “crossroads of the East” and the hotel label was seen on the steamer trunks of every traveller who sailed to the Far East. Somerset Maugham was but one of many writers who immortalised the historic hotel. Among those who stayed¬†there were¬†Rudyard Kipling, Noel Coward, Han Suyin, James Michener, Joseph Conrad and many more. The hotel has also played host to Charles Chaplin, Michael Jackson, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Many of them lent their immortal words and even their names to the hotel. A few had suites named after them.
Somerset Maugham first visited Raffles Hotel in 1921, and was inspired to write the short stories contained in The Casuarina Tree. You can find one of the stories “Before the party” under READING.
There have been many stories told about Raffels throughout the years. The most famous one is probably the one of the time that a tiger came for tea. In 1902, a wild tiger managed to find its way into the billiard room of the hotel, where it hid underneath one of the billiard tables. According to local legend, this wild animal was the last tiger to be shot in Singapore, after a local man from the nearby Raffles Institution was called upon to remove the tiger. After firing 5 shots into the darkened room, he managed to hit the tiger between the eyes.

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