Christmas comes early to Singapore (Postcard from Singapore)November 20th, 2011 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS
Singapore, Nov 20 (IANS) The timing could not have been more perfect. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his entourage landed here Saturday evening, just in time for the fairy lights to go up in the city’s famous Orchard Road boulevard.
The entire stretch of malls, restaurants and open air cafes were strung up with glittering silver and varying shades of ice blue and midnight blue lights and fabulously high Christmas trees in keeping with this year’s theme - ‘Christmas blooms in Singapore’.
The Christmas lights were switched on for the first time only Saturday evening, much to the delight of the visitors, some of whom had come here for the first time. The lights were launched by President Tony Tan and extended to the Marina Bay.
The annual ceremony is a tourist highlight, which is why they come up several weeks before Christmas - as they have been for 24 years. According to one report, the ceremony, organised by the Community Chest with the Singapore Tourism Board, raises funds from various groups and the public and the money goes towards supporting 300,000 “beneficiaries”.
Mustafa Centre continues to be a lodestone for Indian visitors to this city state. The bewilderingly large store, stretching over two blocks in what is known as Little India, is open 24X7 and the crowds continue to stream in well into the early hours of the morning.
The shelves are brimming over with goods ranging from paneer to gold, from electronics to medicines - and so are the aisles with people literally bumping into each other to move on. It could be 3 a.m. or even later, but it is Saturday night and the shoppers are there in the many hundreds. Interestingly, only some are tourists. The rest appear to be locals, stocking up on daily needs in perhaps the only free hours they get.
You could be clubbing and dancing… or you could be shopping at Mustafa.
That’s the way it is on Saturday night in Little India.
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