#ImpactForum: Singapore

One of the other perks – aside from the sunshine, addictive food, friendly people and out of this world caffeine experiences – of living in Saigon, is the close proximity to some of the region’s enticing, and inspiring, neighbouring countries.

Take Singapore, for example.  I have been here for 24 hours, attending a conference, and despite so far spending the majority of my time here cooped up in windowless rooms on an (albeit uber plush) university campus, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the brief transition from the bustle of Saigon life to the serene and functional order that is Singapore.

I know, despite this, that I’ll be just as eager to board my plane home on Wednesday, however the intervening hours experiencing this very different aspect of South East Asian life has been novel.

From the moment you board the skytrain at Singapore airport and head into town, you are aware of having been momentarily transported into a different world to that of Saigon.  In fact, although Bangkok boasts an impressive skytrain facility itself, there is no comparison even there in terms of the images you take in as passenger as you skirt round the suburbs of the respective cities. Continue reading

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Shared agendas: the Rio+20 Conference

I enjoy the street banter in Saigon.  Cyclo drivers can be particularly fun.  They’ll spot you on the pavement, with family entourage in tow, and beckon you over to their rickety mobile contraption.

Jump on board, there’s room for all the family

Seemingly oblivious to your own counter gestures – where you shake your head and point incredulously to your two children, their buggies and the assortment of other luggage that you seem to have accumulated walking down the street – they will be undeterred, remaining all smiles and nods and encouraging hand gestures.

What I love is that you know, one way or another, that the guy would get you all on his cyclo if you gave him half the chance.  He’d make it work, despite the ludicrous sight that would unfold, and aside from the rather precarious health and safety minefield you’d be stepping into in the proceedings. Continue reading