Sunday, June 10, 2007

싱가폴 "남버 완"

We were looking for our way to Bukhansan National Park after exiting from the Metro station. There wasn't any sign indicating the general direction of Bukhansan. Instead of wasting time finding our way by trial and error we decided to flag down a taxi to take us straight to the nearest park entrance.

Our poor command of Korean language led the curious taxi driver to ask where we came from. So we told him we are from Singapore. In return, he said, with his limited English, "Singapore beautiful". I just smiled at him, neither acknowledging nor denying. I asked if he had been to Singapore. He said that he transited Singapore once before.

When we alighted from the taxi, we went about looking for place to take our breakfast. Most of the shops were still closed as it was about 8am. After some walking we finally found a kimbap shop. Their main business was making and selling kimbap to mountain hikers. While we were eating our breakfast, the kimbap shop's ajumma asked where we came from and so we told her. She too said, "Singapore beautiful". She added that she was just back from a tour to Singapore. Again I just smiled.

After completing our mountain hike, we were back at the main road flagging down taxi in the rain. Upon getting into an empty taxi, I told the taxi driver to take us to the nearest Metro station. Along the way, the taxi driver got to know that we are from Singapore. His comment about Singapore was, "Singapore number one". For that, I told him to keep the change when I paid for the taxi fare.

As much as I am glad to hear that Koreans have good impression about Singapore, I was not too sure if there was a need by the taxi-drivers or the kimbap shop's ajumma to please their customers. The fact that I have stayed in Singapore since birth has kinda numbed my senses. I cannot appreciate the beauty of my country as much as a foreigner can. Perhaps I should just take what others are telling me and start to see Singapore with a "new pair of eyes".

A conserved building in Tanjong Pagar built in the early 20th century.

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