Little India Bazaar in Singapore
Last week I was in Singapore. To be honest, I was reluctant to plan a trip to Singapore. I like to visit historical places or make a trip to mountains or to sea shores. Singapore has none of that. It does have sea shore but nothing like the beaches of Goa or Puri. But I am glad that I made the trip. Singapore has some amazing tourist spots. You can spend two full days at Sentosa Island. Sentosa is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast. SEA Aquarium and Universal Studios at Sentosa are two massive attractions. What a beauty it was to see some 800 species of floating creatures at SEA Aquarium! These living forms have to seen to be believed that we, the territorial animals, co-habitat our mother earth with such wild variety of aquatic beings. Similarly, a visit to other attractions such as Garden at the Bay, Cloud Forest, and Flower Dome was like a visit to the menagerie of the botanical world. I saw a variety of plantation. It was mesmerizing to see the bootle trees, varieties of cactus, gardens of flowers from all across the world, and a miniature forest of tropical trees curated inside a glass house. Singapore doesn’t disappoint the party animals in you as well. Visit to the night life at Clarke Quay is an absolute must. You shouldn’t miss out on light and sound show at Marina Bay either.
I also made it a point to visit Little India and China Town. I was staying in a hotel in China Town but the Indian in me would have been disappointed had I not visited Little India. Major attraction for Indians in Little India is Indian food and cheap electronic goods at Mustafa centre. But I was after neither of this. I was just curious to see how would a miniature version of our vast and diverse country look like. I took MRT to visit Little India. As you get down at the Little India MRT station, you will see myriads of grocery and spice stores. You walk a bit more and you will find gold and jewelry shops, Indian restaurants, temples and electronic repair centers which promises to repair anything from your mobile phones to laptops. In a nutshell, that’s the imagery of India that you get to experience at Little India.
In contrast, China Town shopping area was much neater and organized. Shops were selling variety of manufactured goods such as umbrellas, key rings, luggage tags, clothes, souvenirs and antiques for the cheapest price possible.
One could see the stark contrast in shopping areas of Little India and China Town. Shopkeeper’s in Little India sell what Indians buy which is grocery, gold and repair center services. While our affinity for gold is well known, we also spend a larger percentage on food. According to a report by World Economic Forum, Indians spend 30% of their income on food while Chinese spend only 20%. Off course, one need not travel to Singapore to confirm the veracity of these facts. But a walk down the lanes of a place in a foreign land called Little India made it feel surreal.
So if Flipkart wants to sell grocery or if Paytm is selling 99.99 purity level digital gold, they are just responding to what Indian consumers buy!