Singapore 5th September 2010
One of the key elements of a developed city is the extent of night life available. The more rural, the more basic life in general. But for those of you living and working in big cities you will know the places to go at night. Singapore has come a long way since the first time I set foot here now more than 20 years ago. I remember the first pop concerts coming to town, the first building facades to be lit, the first F1 night race in more recent times and soon the Marina Bay light festival.
Without light there is no night life and I am not necessarily talking about sophisticated LED lit facades or disco’s. Last night I visited the Geylang Serai night market, which of course would not exist without light, but the activity was simplicity in regards to light. In fact it was not about light at all, it was about people celebrating the end of Ramadan, going out for food and bargains, meeting friends and family. Lighting was basic, mostly bare bulbs (CFL and HIT) hanging of a wire, surprisingly enough little LED’s. The only LED (simple rope light) to be found was on the main road decorating the trees and gantries over the road. Some of the lights were straight out glaring, but accepted as part of the ambiance. The main senses being “tested” were smell and sound. Touch if you consider the enormous amount of people pushing their way through. Impossible to move around without bumbing into someone… 🙂
In stark contrast stand the city center skyline a bit further down the road, that is gradually becoming a more iconic illuminated sight at night. The Singapore Flyer ferris wheel, the Marina Bay Sands sky garden, the Fullerton Hotel and many of the Singapore River bridges that are now lit contribute to a much more exciting experience in the city at night.
The point is that night life does not mean sophisticated lighting. We tend to lose ourselves into thinking that developed means sophisticated (aren’t Ion Orchard, Orchard Central and Wilkie Edge a bit over the top?). To me night life is all about simplicity and ambiance. Lighting is just a small (but essential) part of it.