Singapore

Walking down the street you get hit with the smell of incense, burning in pots against the side of the road while Chinese youth are eating Malay food while mixing with Indian immigrants. Across the street the celebration of Vesak Day brings a flood of worshipers to the Buddhist temple, looking to continue their old traditions and celebrate Buddha’s birth; next door to a Hindu temple that is quiet until activity rages around Deepavali. Walking this area you hear the smattering of languages, of which English is not the majority, and you see, feel, and hear the pulse of old Singapore and a cross-section of Asia. Go further and you start to see the entrepreneurs, the independent shop stall owners hawking their wares, lined up along the street or under the large tent. And again, you see that a lot in Asia, people starting to take those risks and strike out on their own, stepping away from the safety nets of working for someone. A little further and you get to the gleaming shopping malls, the consumer-oriented, ultra-modern stores that rival or surpass any malls in the US or elsewhere.

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