A brief visit, but they have a very nice park. Warning about this country underneath the pics.
Warning about this country: I like to roll my own cigarettes, because the packaged kind usually has the worst quality tobacco, scraped from the factory floor, and doused with ammonia and all sorts of other chemicals to keep the cig conveniently burning, and make it more addictive (a movie has been made about this, starring Al Pacino and Russell Crow, and there has been a subsequent lawsuit of 240 billion USD against tobacco producers for this reason). Not to mention that tobacco itself does not cause cancer but it is the ammonia and other chemicals, which actually make it taste “light”, but technically makes it lethal and potentially more addictive than heroin.
Anyway, finding it difficult to get this sort of rolling tobacco in Asia (found a few stores in Kuala Lumpur), I stocked up before my departure heading south. I planned to stay only a few days in expensive Singapore before continuing south to Indonesia.
I got to the border and the guard asked me if I had any tobacco. I immediately produced the scrapings I had in my pocket, he asked if I had more, then I remembered the two packs in my backpack. I instantly acknowledged them.
With a grin he said, “Come this way”.
Long story short, I was asked to sit in a sort of jail room and then told that the standard fine for smuggling in tobacco was $250. Of course I blew up. The guard was surprised and pointed to the various signs warning me of this.
Bottom line? It was my first time entering the country, I’m generally stressed at border crossings and don’t necessarily study every single sign, and I acknowledged that I possessed, so I wasn’t smuggling. They didn’t charge me in the end, but the point is, why harass first time guests because of this? It’s overkill.
Not to mention that there is a death penalty for bringing in something like dope. What if there were a few scrapings in your pocket left over from the last country you visited? And besides, why should anyone dictate what you put into your own body? It is just another police state and does not have my endorsement. It’s a country of Chinese who escaped their communist homeland to the north, passed through lazy Malaysia (which taxed their hard work to the hilt), and started their own country to the south. They are now one of the richest countries in the world, kudoz to them, but somewhat extreme for my liking.
The “country” (basically a city) is mostly concrete, with the exception of this cool park above. A small tourist haven in a jungle of concrete. Expensive, you’ll be inhaling lots of smog, people are generally nice, not much of a nightlife.
To their defense, I complained about the treatment to me, actually got a polite response, it was followed up, and the guard who put me in this little jail and threatened me with the $250 was requested to curb his inclinations moving forward. It wasn’t beating and lashing in the likes of Qatar etc., but I would have expected more from such an affluent country, resorting to such petty fines. Some things just need to be told.