Monday 14 May 2001– Singapore
Attempted to find and call into the Singapore Immigration Office – I found it eventually but didn’t go in because of the crowds.
Met with the public relations and cultural affairs personnel from the Australian High Commission. They were quite frank about the difference between the promotional image of Singapore as an up to the minute, wired, educated and efficient nation and the reality which it is still often bureaucratic and steeped in inefficiency and lack of procedure.
Interestingly, they were both in Singapore prior to being employed by the High Commission – apparently this is becoming more common.
They had much advice and suggested some key people to meet, including Audience Development personnel at National Arts Council, the Cultural division at Singapore Tourism Board, as well as plenty of arts journalists and writers.
Regarding my temporary visitor’s visa, their advice was that it was less hassle to leave the country (i.e., catch bus to Malaysia, have lunch and come back) – ones passport will be stamped for an additional two weeks (land) or 30 days (if arriving by air). They suggested that this was significantly less hassle than actually queuing at the Immigration Office.
During the afternoon I with Julie Lithgow, regional manager based in Singapore for Tourism Tasmania. We discussed my trip and how she might be able to use it to generate some introductions to media people and hopefully some coverage. She was very friendly and was keen to assist where she could with invitations, festival tickets and so forth.
Went to Spa at the Oriental – gym a bit cramped, but a fabulous swimming pool with a great view over the mouth of the river and the CBD.