Sunday, February 1, 2009

Singapore..... gimme more!!

Strange, the very first time I came to Singapore (more than 20 years ago), I went back and wrote a column titled, "Singapore - what a bore!" It really was a pretty dull place in those days - sanitised and anti -septic, with a goody goody vibe and insane rules that drove me nuts. But over the past 10 years, S'Pore has relaxed and changed to such a dramatic extent, it has become one of my all time favourite destinations .... especially for a short break. Culturally, it remains bleak. Censorship codes are strong and very much in place ( though 'Desperate Housewives' is shown - but with cuts, of course).  But in a world where it has become harder and harder to find holiday destinations that are entirely 'safe', S'Pore  promises a stress free time since you know you are in a place where everybody but everybody behaves!
Locals are talking morosely about the economic down turn, business is down by 40% and the only good aspect of the recession is how swiftly the government has stepped in to save the jobs held by Singaporeans. The bail out has come at a good time - Chinese New Year, but the Dragon Dancers have lost their customary energy and bounce. The Year of the Ox is not good for business, and locals have decided to wait it out patiently. Most nightclubs and restaurants are semi empty. Clarke Quay was comparitively thanda on a friday night, with a listless belly dancer trying to chuff up the crowd at a sheesha bar. Villa Bali, and The Red Dot,Brazil...places which used to be jam packed and hard to access without reservations, welcome walk in customers. The New Asia Bar on the 70th floor of Swiss Hotel was sparsely populated, with a couple of bridal showers being hosted in far corners. Most malls, including Vivo City, had thin crowds over the weekend..... and the roadside food stalls looked depressingly deserted.
But the weather has been splendid. As has the company . It was great catching up with my son Ranadip and nephew Amartya. One an advertising professional, the other a management student . They know their Singapore, and thanks to them, I'm getting to know it better, too.
Thanks for the show of hands , guys. I am most encouraged by the response. As for those flooding this space with their hate mail - it's their problem. They don't have to visit. Ditto for the malice and misinformation which frankly, don't deserve a come back. One responds only to charges that count, or can be taken seriously in the first place. I have no time for abuses - only cowards hiding behind anonymity ,  resort to such tactics..... and earn contempt, not comment. 
To my other, far more civilised blogdosts, I can only say, "Stick around. We have a bond that I truly value. Dhanyavad for the feedback and support." There  are a couple of recent columns I shall post on my return to Mumbai. Am just about getting the hang of  my son's Mac. Bear with me till thursday. Cheers. I am off to Sentosa and Prive for a chilled out sunday afternoon... 


Anonymous said...


Ashutosh Didwania said...

Some time back I'd read an article in the newspaper which stated that if not anything else, the economic recession had severely affected the business of marriage agencies and the guys who conduct marriages in Singapore as couples weren't willing to tie the knot in these turbulent times. Weird but true!

Usha Pisharody said...

What came after the post on Singapore, was real positivity! Way to go, Ms De :)

Biju Mathews said...

Glad to hear that you are back with a much needed break. Keep blogging!

Richard Dsouza said...

What “misinformation” are you talking about?
You yourself wrote about watching the pirated copy of Slumdog. (
We all saw that Devil’s Advocate interview too. (
If anyone still thinks all that is “misinformation” you can write to me at

Balvinder Singh said...

So sad that we remember only the bitter almond !! But i appriciate the fact that you shared the truth with us (about the pirated CD of Slumdog...).

I could not respond to your previous post so commenting here. Please keep writing. We love it.

Anonymous said...

helllo Lady,

I used to regularly read ur columns in The times of India years back when i stayed in Mumbai. And there were times i wanted to just hug you for writing something that meant a lot to me too !!! I am staying abroad for the last 8 years and always missed ur articles. Its just recently that i discovered your blog. I think u shd def post ur columns on the blog. Cos a lot of ur admirers dont have a chance to read ur articles that appear in different publications.
Keep blogging !!! We love You !!!


NANDINI said...

Couple of columns...I can't wait...

Hopefully, patience will pay off..

Nandini Rao.

Milind Kher said...


Given how busy your blog is, if you yet find the time to read all the comments posted here, it is genuinely impressive.

I never use anonymity in a blog, I am truly who I claim to be. However, I value your straightforward approach and will value your return..

"CEO,Monster Inc" said...

Hi Mrs. De.
I have been following you columns in the Times and Bombay times. I am writing here with hope that you may help me with a noble cause.

We need to publicize

Mr. Gaurav Tandon is suffering from Blood Cancer .
Mrs. Tandon taught in Thakur College of Engineering(I am a former student). we all will be very grateful if you can help us to get this cause to as many people as possible. Thank you for reading my comments.

Nazish Rahman said...

Do post your columns...if u have decided to!!!

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Accha now I know where to go and what to do in Singapore! *jots notes in travel notebook*

And a happy year of the ox to you too. Did you get to the parades and whatnot? Thats the best part!

AaaDee said...

Hello Mam,

I started following up your blog recently. I am surprised I wasn't aware of this earlier.

Replying to your previous post, I would say that you should definitely put your other published articles here. We would be happy to read.

Happy writing..!


Sidhusaaheb said...

Relaxed rules? Doesn't one have to pay a $500 fine for a candy-wrapper thrown in the wrong place any more? :D

Piper .. said...

left a comment on the post about Obama`s supposed fumbling at the oath ceremony. Just wondering if you ever go through the comments. Do you? :) Happy Hols!

Sushil said...

I just happened to see ur interview on devil's advocate.To put it was SHOCKING.
Here is a so called f**king intellectual justifying everything because that is happening else where.
Isn't it same as justifying an eye for eye theory ??
I had some hope left with India until i saw the interview...and its much much bleaker now.My hope had little to do with politicians (although I'd like to believe there are still some good guys out there in politics) but with people like (m sorry to say now) u who are not afraid to raise their voices.But if this is how you think, better join the silent league.
It certainly takes a lot of hippocracy to say after all that sh*t that I'm an Indian first.
Until 8:00 pm today, i was one of the most frequent visitor here,but this is the last time now.
I know this is not going to make a bit of difference to you or anybody.But this is my way to protest to all the thick skinned Hippocrates.

Anonymous said...

i do not know what your source is on "good aspect of the recession is how swiftly the government has stepped in to save the jobs held by Singaporeans", but it isn't true.

Vaishali Manjrekar said...

You are wrong: nobody except shallow party-animals calls Shobhaa De an "intellectual".
You are wrong: that interview was not SHOCKING to whoever knew what Shobhaa De is: a hypocrite.
You are right: no body will miss you. Atleast in THIS blog.
An advice: you can mail the URL of that interview(
to all your friends, aking them to forward it further. I have already done so.

Amit Trivedi said...

Bitchy Page 3 socialites like Shobhaa De are worse than our politicians. They are social parasites and we don't need them. It's high time we all realized that.

Maddy said...

Can we expect a travelogue???

Apurva said...

I completely agree with you description of the entertainment and night life in Singapore. I've been living here for 3 years and it definitely used to be more 'happening' in previous years..

Deepak Murthy said...

Hi Shobha,

My elder cousin sister's name is Shobha Bhat (in the US somewhere). What are my chances of getting a job in Mumbai? I have an MS (computers) and an MBA (strategy & business) & worked on product marketing management.


ves21 said...

well S, there ARE safe places in the world meaning Europe, meaning the cities of light...
didn't know you became a doctor: see Sushil above & Hyppocrates...

Deepa said...

FOr all those above who are offended by her interview on Devil's Advocate and are thinking about spreading it across as a hate-mail against her...please be my guest!!

The reason being, it will only show how shallow your thought process is. The lady couldn't have simplified and articulated the whole situation better than what she did! If you guys are anyways living in Mumbai, its people like you who are messing it up! People who can only think about themselves and not care about sentiments of others.

Sushil said... i missing any point frm ur comment or u are endorsing thakrey's view as our beloved intellect above ??

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