Sentosa Island – Gold for Fools

Sentosa Island – Gold for Fools

I have two words for Sentosa Island: fools, and gold.

I just got back to Singapore after 20hrs of travel – to find my hostel won’t check me in ‘til mid-afternoon. Hmmm…I checked trip advisor. Not many options for an unwashed insomniac. Then I thought: ‘Hey, I’ll get out of the city and head to the beach – Sentosa beach that is’. That sounds gold – but I was foolish. 

They’ve taken a jungle island and turned it into a par three monstrosity. Think tawdriness personified – all roller coasters and rail lines, casinos and cable cars. There’s even a Madame Tussauds, which, incidentally, was founded in 1886 – losing relevance that very same year.

The whole island is so saccharine kitsch. Only the simplest of minds would not be offended. Children lose their ignorance in front of me – melodic trills fade to cynical sneers. This place has evil only Mickey Mouse could know.

And then there’s the beach. What could be more serene than floating in the bilge of Asia’s most celebrated liners? Jack Johnson plays at the bar, on tape of course, and gets drowned by fog horns. They say Taylor was a young girl, never one to be…what now?

A row of buoys marks the boundary between wholesome fun and an international shipping lane. Pasty English gap years flail towards it, as Persians in hairy vests ogle teens on family vacation. I’ve never needed a drink like I do right now. But my iced tea is anaemic. I call the waitress, and use five fingers to count out each liquor I should be tasting. Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Rum, Triple Sec. She thinks I’m playing ‘this little piggy’. She must get that a lot. This bar is a bird hide for kiddy fiddlers.

Triggered, I moan: Serenity now! People stare, then shuffle between me and their children. It’s time to go. Stay gold Sentosa – you sanctuary of fools.