So, we've been "home" for over a week now. It's been wonderful seeing family & friends, & of course, eating old familiar fare!!! The humidity has been awfully draining though. I am sweating even as I sit here typing this! Even though it gets HOT in Beijing, it is dry so it doesn't leave you with that sticky layer of oily sweat that makes you just want to jump into the nearest pool & stay there all day. I am looking forward to our short sojourn in Phuket in a couple of weeks...white sands, clear waters, sea breezes, relaxing spa massages...aaahhhh...
I have been amazed by the number of buildings that have disappeared & appeared! Scotts shopping center now just looks like a construction site shielded off from the world by protective netting & wooden partitions. Centrepoint has a spanking new wing which I have yet to explore. There is a new mall called Central in the business district. An old condo near the Farrer/Queensway has been replaced by a huge block of what I assume to be a new condo development.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me to find all these changes. Singapore has always been terribly efficient at tearing down the old & building the new. In Beijing, buildings half-finished when we first landed, remain half-finished now, 6 months later. Repaving of roads which, in Singapore, would have taken at most a week, takes at least a month, if not two. During the Great Leap Forward & the Cultural Revolution, many historical buildings & sites were torn down in the interest of "progress". Now, the government is starting to prevent more historical relics & sites from being destroyed, especially by money-hungry Chinese developers eager to make the most of the booming China economy. But I see all the massive buildings & apartment blocks & villas being built & can't help but wonder how these will eventually be filled. And if they do get filled, what does that do to the quality of life there? The population of Beijing is already over 12 million, & seems to be growing, judging from what I see of migrant workers coming in by the bus loads from the villages looking for work.
This en-bloc fever is scary. Left, right & center, I see banners asking for tenders of buildings & shophouses. I read about the ludicrously high prices achieved by certain condos. Progress is one thing, but I hope Singapore will learn from China's mistakes, & preserve what's left of our lovely old buildings & historical sites before it's too late.