Sunday night, 18-2-73
It is already past midnight so I don't expect this to be a very long letter. I plan to leave Singapore for Malaya tomorrow morning and I had a Singapore aerogramme left. So I had the noble thought that I could write home for the second time in a couple of days. Noblesse oblige!
What news I have is, I'm afraid, rather pedestrian. On Friday I went to the Botanic Gardens to have a rest from walking around town and to continue reading my very interesting book on the life of Abraham Lincoln. I finished up walking more miles than ever and getting wet for my trouble. Singapore has 96 inches of rain, spread fairly evenly throughout the year.
The little Chinaman with the stentorian voice who runs the hostel arranged a night bus trip to see the city lights from Mount Faber, a floodlit reservoir and Changi Beach where we had our "fellowship" au clair de la lune. On the way back (0100) we stopped off at the infamous Bugis (pron. "Boogey") Street to view the transvestites. I never saw such a sight in my life. Must tell you about it sometime!
Saturday was a washout. I did manage to visit the museum and, for want of something better to do during a rainstorm, bought myself a shirt for $6.90 and some other small items. Exchange rate is $S3.x = $A1.
Today the hostel organised (for $3.50) a ferry trip to Devil's Island and a coral reef in Singapore harbour. I was surprised to find sandy palm-fringed islands and a coral reef in such a harbour. The tonnage of shipping is enormous.
I find Singapore quite a habitable place, though it is expensive to live in after Indonesia. I have been spending money with reckless abandon: almost all running expenses, not much capital expenditure. Lee Kuan Yew runs a pretty tight ship: some uncharitable persons have even called it a police state. Littering is punishable by fines of hundreds of dollars, all locals have to carry identity card with photo and fingerprints, media broadcasts are full of propaganda, long-haired youths are liable to be stopped in the street, some police carry assault rifles.
I hope to take a bus tomorrow to Johor Bahru across the causeway in Malaya, then maybe hitch as far as Malacca to stay the night. It is also possible to take a taxi for about $6, if the taxi is full.
The idea of working in Germany is growing on me, though Frankfurt is said to be a relatively uninteresting commercial hub with high costs. I'll have to see if I can find the ex-Sydney IBMer who swapped to Diebold and subsequently left them. He is currently working for PA somewhere in Teheran. Germans have been more numerous on this trip than anyone after the Australians and Americans. A Chinaman working for IBM here (whom I knew in Sydney) and another chap to whom I was recommended are out of town.
The moving hand hath writ and, having writ, moves on.