[Greg]: My brief visit to Singapore is over and I'm now on the bus to Malaysia. I loved Singapore and it made me realise even more than before what a horrible place Korea is to live. Here's 10 reasons why Singapore is better than Korea (I could give a thousand):
1 - The weather. In Singapore it's hot but it's coastal so there's a cooling breeze. The sun doesn't melt your skin and the humidity doesn't sap you of all your energy. Buan is also apparently coastal but you wouldn't know it from the lack of any fresh air whatsoever.
2 - No hags. Old women in Singapore just look like old women. Old women in Korea look like gurning, sour-faced, nasty hags with their horrible clothes, stupid haircuts and evil faces. And the old women in Singapore just go about their business. The old women in Korea make it their business to disrupt your business by pushing you, shouting at you, loudly talking about you and pointing at you and just blocking the pavement.
3 - Decent public transport. The MRT system is a million times better than the joke that is Seoul Metro. It's actually possible to transfer from one line to another without walking for about 3 hours through a never-ending underground shopping mall/station. What's more, ever MRT platform has escalators. Not once did I have to struggle up stairs with my suitcase. Korea could learn a lot from Singaporean public transport.
4 - People actually have manners. When the subway train stops, passengers actually stand aside and let people alight from the train before getting on. And they queue to do this too, unlike in Korea where everyone pushes and shoves as though the building is on fire and they have to fight their way onto the train or they'll die. Similarly, if you walk along the street in Singapore, people don't barge into you or try to run you down with mopeds. And if someone does bump into you, they apologise instead of hissing or carrying on regardless like rude Koreans.
5 - The food. People in Singapore actually eat real food, not foul-tasting muck like the idiots in Korea. There's western food, Malay food, Japanese food, Cantonese food, Thai food, Indian food, every kind of food you can think of (I even saw a Korean restaurant, although God knows why). And it's all cheap and delicious. Korea, take note.
6 - Things to do. In Korea there's nothing to do. There's hardly any historic sights to visit because the Japanese burned them all down and the reconstructions that the Koreans have built are sterile, boring and aimed squarely at the Korean audience. Plus everything looks the same. In Singapore there's great shopping malls (that sell clothes that fit real people and that don't look like they've been stolen from the 1970's), lots of historic visitor attractions that are actually interesting and well-presented, wonderful beaches where people are left to get on with having fun instead of being herded around by fascist Korean lifeguards with ridiculous uniforms and whistles, trying to nanny everyone and prevent them from going in the water, fantastic museums (interestingly, the Asian Civilisations Museum highlighted the great civilisations of Asia, taking in Borneo, Java, China, India, the Middle East, Japan, even Papua New Guinea. Everywhere except Korea. Funny that!), a world-class theme park (Everland is NOT a world-class theme park, despite what brainwashed, nationalistic Koreans say), a world-class zoo that doesn't abuse and mistreat animals by shoving them into completely unsuitable and tiny cages then letting different species mix and kill each other, and excellent public transport to take you between all these sights.
7 - It's a cultural melting pot. People in Singapore come from diverse backgrounds. Chinese, Malay, Indians and Europeans all make up significant proportions of the population and yet they're all united by a genuine pride in and love for Singapore. There's mutual respect between all the cultures and backgrounds and, having attended the National Day celebrations, it seems that everyone really buys into the whole concept of Singapore. Koreans buy into the concept of Korea too, but unlike in Singapore, where a pride in their country means they want to show you it's best side, in Korea this manifests itself as an aggressive racist, ultra-nationalistic, xenophobic loathing of anyone and everyone who isn't Korean (especially Japanese, Indians and Africans). Not that the UK is much better. We're not racist or nationalistic like Koreans but we're not proud and patriotic like Singaporeans either. We're just disinterested, unenthusiastic and completely apathetic. Koreans might be horrible and racist, but at least they have a cultural identity.
8 - Matching Couples. Matching couples are one of the three things I actually like about Korea (along with sharing food and taking a number in the cinema queue). However, Singapore is full of matching couples too, proving that it's an Asian thing, not a Korean thing. Hopefully it'll be a British thing soon too as I intend to take the concept back home with me.
9 - Wireless Internet. Korea might have the fastest internet in the world (not in Jeollabuk hole though) but they have some weird, ridiculous aversion to providing it in the home. Whilst wireless comes as standard in the technologically backwards UK, super-advanced Korea makes me connect with an ethernet cable. And since the Korean ethernet cables are so cheap and crappy, they bend and break all too often, slowing my internet down to an intermittent snail's pace. Thankfully Singapore realises the benefit of wireless internet and it comes as standard there too.
10 - Architecture. Korean architecture is samey, boring and, disturbingly, much of it looks like it's been borrowed (or should I say stolen since intellectual property is a foreign concept in Korea and everything is stolen) from the 80's USSR. The stark, totalitarian looking apartment blocks that blight the skyline of every Korean city are a horrible sight. And all the shops and commercial buildings also seem to be built to some kind of identikit, cookie-cutter design that allows the building to be thrown up the quickest amount of time possible but pays no heed to the architectural impact on the surroundings or to the quality of the building, which will inevitably be torn down and replaced by another samey-looking replacement in 10 years time. It's surprising because some of the historic Korean architecture is actually really impressive. I think the curved roof style traditional Korean buildings are actually much more beautiful than comparable Chinese or Japanese architecture but Koreans have clearly lost their way. In contrast, Singapore is an eclectic mix of traditional Colonial-style buildings, restored Victorian commercial buildings and gentrified warehouses, modern, gleaming, unique skyscrapers and architecture that's clearly influenced by the many ethnic groups living in the city - Hindu and Chinese temples, Muslim madrassas and so on. Walking around Singapore is a feast for the eyes. Walking around Buan is like taking a walk through a lego town (or a wade through a swamp).