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Singapore has been a big

Singapore has been a big change in our travels. We feel thousands of miles away from the dirty streets and chaos we'd become used to in the rest of SE Asia, and instead we've been soaking in the contemptible luxury of spending time in one of the world's richest countries. The other day we played with an Aibo, Sony's robot dog in one of the shopping malls, and Nina has been enjoying the novelty of having sushi for supper every evening and coming to bed with fish breath.

Singapore is about half the size of Greater London, and has a population of 4 million. It's one of the most efficient and advanced places I've ever been and possesses an unbelievable number of shopping malls, one of which stretches underground across the centre of the city. It tends to grab headlines for its strict laws and high fines for things like littering. Chewing gum is illegal, drug dealers are executed, and Penthouse and Playboy are banned. All of which sounds crazy to anyone from Western society, and I fully expected to be shocked by the level of governmental control when we arrived here, but the surprising thing is that the longer we spend in the city, the more relaxed it feels. When you think about how many people live on this tiny island, you realise that things really do work, crime is very low, and maybe some of the laws are actually doing some good. Thankfully I gave up my gum habit years ago, and I'll just have to wait until we get to another country for my fix of Penthouse.

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