like a trip to Singapore'." l was asked at the ol'lice one da_\ . ‘with a ViSil to Kuala l.umpur. plenty ol’ l'ree time. lots ol' interesting meals. accommodation at the Singapore Sheraton and ls'uala l.umpur llilton'."
‘()k‘a_\ .’ I said.
'I'he l'ligltt Mom I Icathrow to Singapore w as a iust endurable sixteen hoursol'sitting in a strait-jacket in the dark. Singapore Airlines does its best by pro\ iding smiling air-hostesses. intriguing toil-w rapped l'ood parcels. quantities to drink. multi-channel headsets. in-l'light nto\ ics but you long to arris‘c all the same.
So. on to the moment w hen I stood at ('hangi Airport waiting to be claitned and a voice said ‘.’\ re you Anne Seaton'." It was the beginning ol ten days ot lite in the esecutis c latte I was drix'cn c‘\'c‘t'}'\\'hc‘i‘c‘. entertained with enormous l'riendliness and show n Singapore and .\lala\sia the cast way. On the whole it \‘~ as the Singaporeans' Singapore I got to know — the tree-lined e\pl‘e.ss\\'a_\'.s. high-rise housing. erow ded open-plan olliees. schools. libraries and bookshops. But my Singaporean colleagues undertook in turns to introduce me to the tourist attractions too -- the shops olsumptuous ( )rchard Road; the batik at the Singapore l landicralt ('entre: (‘hinatow n with. strangely. the I lindu temple ol' Sri Mariamman at its centre; Rattles standing w hite against the Singapore Rix'er: the c\traordinat"\' .\lcrlion lountain (‘mcr-lion.'- a lion with a lish‘s tail s} mbolising the transition ol' Singapore lrom primitive 'l‘cmasek (Sea low n l to Sinapura ll.ion City); the Rattles I Iotel and Singapore Sling (a drink ); derelict l-'ort (‘anningz the .lurong Bird Park (cranes. storks. llamingos. macaws. parakeets); the Botanic ( iardens'. the leisure island ol Sentosa (get there by cable-car) with its monorail transport and its history-in- waxworks ol‘ Singapore (painlul scenes ol‘the 1942 British surrender and .lapanese occupation). the business trip to ls'uala l.umpur turned into a bit (ii a sightseeing tour too. with time to go and admire the awesome blue and white dome ol the
DO NOT WRITE
ON THE PLANT
Whisde off to Singapore at a moment‘s notice. Anne Scatonltnnujevenrnorethansheluulantuapated.
Shah :\|am Mosque. the dragon- encrustcd temple ol'lhcan l ton. and a series ol tableaux at the National Museum depicting e\'er_\ Malawian rite ol‘ passage lrom circumcision to bersanding (the sitting-in-state part ol getting married).
My lt'iends dedicated themselves especially to educating me in as great a \ariet} ol Asian cuisines as the) could in ten days. litiotl is deﬁnitely something that gets them excited. ‘Is there anything you can’t eat." I was asked anxiously in the lust lew minutes alter my arrival.
‘Iir nottoohappywithshelllish. I admitted. .-\ detectable lalling ol
laces. limo} ing hot. spic} lood is one
thing. but unless _\ou like lish slielllislt in particular
and son will ne\er
get lull_\ togrips with South-last Asian eating. \\'hate\ er the cuisine ('hinese. Straits-( 'hinesc. \lala}. .lapanese. 'l'ltai. Korean. North or South Indian lish lurk in at least one ol the dishes laid belorc too. .\Is courage and enthusiasm grew as l clocked up giant prawns. abalone. mussels. squid. icll} lish streamers. garoupa. and bow Is and bow ls ol lish soup.
"l'rs this.‘ said m_\ host in Kinda l,umpur (we were in a banana-leal restaurant sou eat with sour lingers oll' banana |ea\ es and a\'oid getting _\ottr palnts mess} at all costsl. ‘“ hat is it'." I said. alter a mouthinl or two. ‘Sharkl' he cried triumphant|_\.
()n in} last dat in Singapore. l res isited the statue ol Rattles. ‘( )n
this historic site.' read the inscription on the base. ‘Sir ’l‘homas Stamtord Rattles lirst landed in Singapore on ISth January lS‘l‘l and w ith genius and perception changed the destitn ol‘ Singapore lrom an obscure l'ishing \ illage to a great seaport and modern metropolis.' ( I lello. something elliptical about the wording there. Perhaps the ( 'hinese. Mala} and 'l’amil repeatson the other three laces read better. ) But modern Singapore is not Rattles‘ Singapore. It is l.ec Roan Yew 's. His new. clean-li\ ing. disciplined. hardworking. \mnders-achies ing Singapore has taken ox er spectacularly. .‘\lagnilicent sk} scrape rs pee r dow it into crumbling ( ‘hinatow n and tower abox'e the godow ns lringing the Singapore Riser. llaw'kers mas set up lood stalls onl_\ in apprm ed ‘lt;t\\ kcr ccntrcs‘. l)irccti\ es and slogans are e\'cr_\'\\'ltcrc: ‘l‘scellence together Singapore lorc\cr': ‘l)o not litter littering carries a masimum line ol'Sltlnn‘. lt daw ned on me that ‘l’leasc mind sour step' was helplul rather than admonitorx (substitute 'thc' lor worn" ). then there was this notice in the Botanic (iardens. ‘l’lcasc do not w rite on the plant'. it pleaded. in tour languages the broad-Iea\ ed plant ox er w lnch ll stood sentinel was lail‘l\ eo\eted withdoodles. l'he(‘hinese.who constitute 75 percent ol tlte island‘s 3.5 million strong population. are told 'l)on't hesitate speak \Iandarin'. ()\ er exert school entrance is some uplilting message ‘Stri\e together”. ‘l)o _\our best' as it the neath unilormed Singapore schoolchildren the most motn ated antw'here needed reminding. l)aib at assembh the} repeat the Singapore I’ledgc: ‘\\'e. the citi/ens ol Singapore. pledge oursel\ es. as one united people. regardless ol race. language or religion. to build a democratic society based on justice and equality. so as to achich happiness. prosperitt and progress lor our nation‘. li\en the musical lotttttains on Scntosa dattecd to a succession ol'patriotic pop-anthems. 'l‘he children lo\c it all. .v\du|ts allow tlieinse|\'es to smile a bit. but contorm.
On Friday 7th October 1988 From 6.30pm—7 .30pm When he will be talking about
his new book
RICH — The Life of Richard Burton
'l'he rm 3t) Sept 7- 13 ( m was 53