My friend Lori emailed me a description of Singapore - Disneyland with the death penalty. Only spent 4 days there, but this is right on. Only edit I might add would be: Disneyland located in one big mall with the death penalty. The city/country is literally one mall after another. Of course the A/C was much appreciated.
Outside the malls there is a unique blend of cultures - Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and the thousands of ex-pats. Our favorite ex-pat is Arnaud, a friend of my good friend Jeanette. He and his fiancee Puy treated us to a riverside meal of the traditional chili crab, set amongst a backdrop of Disneyland-esque structures & neon lights. We also enjoyed their hospitality for a poolside bbq at their highrise apt - I do miss cooking & especially grilling.
I treated myself to an eyebrow threading (Indian-style) in Little India, and we adorned long robes while visiting the big mosque at the Arab Quarter. It was fun to listen to a teacher explain Islam to a group of Chinese schoolkids. They seemed more interested in us taking their pictures.
Our visit was timely given Chinese New Year's, Year of the Rat, and we stayed right in the heart of the action, with a Buddhist temple next door. We weren't too keen on some of our Year of the Rat predictions, but I liked the one that described Tigers (that's me) traveling a lot this year.
Singapore was a nice gateway into SE Asia, as most folks do speak English and it is clean. Ariella chewed some gum upon arrival, luckily she didn't get caught. No death penalty for us, phew.