The Professional Singapore aka Allen & Gledhill
On Jan 21 the law students visited the law firm of Allen & Gledhill (A&G) – Advocates & Solicitors. Our speaker was Low Pei Lin, a partner in the in the Intellectual Property and Technology Division. Tan Guat Ling gave us a tour of the facilities after our meeting.
Although they work at the largest law firm in Singapore, Ms. Low and Ms. Tan were very hospitable and “down to earth.” We were able to see a side of Singapore, that most locals would rarely see. During our tour we witnessed the Singaporean work environment and work ethic. For example, most of the lawyers shared offices, and they were all intently WORKING!
After a short day of our professional business, we had some free time to tour the city. Our first stop was Chinatown. It was unbelievable, this was not the beautiful side of Singapore that we had become accustomed to.
While eating duck in an underground food court, we saw a hungry, homeless man walking up to a table, searching for leftovers. Interestingly, the man did not ask anyone for money. This area also had garbage on the ground, unlike the immaculate areas that most tourists frequent.
We left Chinatown and took the subway (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit or SMRT), think New York subway but much cleaner and safer. The SMRT was unbelievably crowded, locals were everywhere; it felt like we were the only tourists on the SMRT.
We stopped in an area called Bugis, we learned from a native Singaporean Elon alumnus. She told us that that the young locals “hang out” here. Bugis was AWESOME, it was what we were looking for, some authentic Singaporean culture. This wasn’t the casinoes, not Universal Studios, or the Disney Land-like atmosphere that we saw earlier in our trip. This was crowded streets, hustle and bustle, real life!
What did we do in Bugis? We walked, walked, and walked………… One of our themes for our trip has been “food culture,” and this day was no different. We were determined to find a local dessert restaurant, recommended by the alumnus . On the way we ate local fruit and drank Hainan Kaifei (coffee). The coffee was cold, because the humidity is too strong for hot coffee, even at night. How do we describe the coffee? Great, Authentic, Awesome!
After walking what seemed like a half marathon, we found our dessert restaurant, Ah Chew Desserts. The desserts there are undescribable, imagine a spoonful of heaven. If you are ever there, we definitely recommend the mango sago with vanilla ice cream. For the extremely adventurous, add some durian fruit, but you may not want this to be your first time eating durian. Saying that durian is an acquired taste is an understatement.
Our last visit for the night was the “New Year Market.” According to our Singaporean friend, it is only open two months before the Chinese New Year. Once again, this was AWESOME! Bona fide Singaporean culture, this is what we traveled nearly ten thousand miles to experience! And everything is cheap, compared to the tourist areas of Singapore!
We ended our day with a couple of Tiger beers, tapioca, and some meat cooked in a deli-like place. We celebrated our discovery of The Real Singapore!
Alex Pham & Reggie Williams