When your town's founder is some rascal who ripped it off from the local Sultan (Raffles had signed a treaty with the Sultan's brother which meant little) you end up with a plethora (veritably) of landmarks eponymous to the much-lauded (except by his senior in the Navy) pioneer.
Wikipaedia lists quite a few places: hotels (one offs and chains), notable sights, schools, businesses, hospitals, streets, shopping centres, etc... around Asia and Australasia which have the dubious honour of bearing his name.
A well-liked person. Attractive to the ladies.
Raffles Hills Jakarta
Raffles City Shanghai
Sir Stamford at Circular Quay
Sir Stamford Double Bay
Stamford Grand Adelaide
Stamford Grand North Ryde
Stamford Plaza Adelaide
Stamford Plaza Auckland
Stamford Plaza Brisbane
Stamford Plaza Double Bay
Stamford Plaza Melbourne
Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport
Swissôtel The Stamford
Raffles Class (business class) of Singapore Airlines
Raffles International Patients Centre
Raffles International Training Centre
Raffles Investments Limited
Raffles Medical Group
Stamford Hotels & Resorts (Singaporean hotel chain based in Australia)
Yantai Raffles Shipyard
Raffles College (currently National University of Singapore)
Raffles College of Design and Commerce
Raffles Girls' Primary School
Raffles Girls' School (Secondary)
Raffles Hall, National University of Singapore
Raffles Institution (Secondary)
Raffles Institution (Junior College)
Raffles-BICT International College
Raffles International Christian School
Stamford Primary School
Raffles Country Club
Raffles Town Club
Raffles Institution Lane
Raffles Place MRT Station
Which may (Understatement Alert) create confusion: for example - how does the intrepid steak- aficionado get to the illustrious and soon to be famous Wooloomooloo Steakhouse (plug intended, please spend up big) in Swissôtel The Stamford by public transport? Despite it's unexplained absence from the Swissôtel The Stamford's website, or indeed in any signage in the hotel, it is there in reality if not virtuality.
Woolies hides itself away demurely on the 3rd floor of The Stamford Hotel on Stamford Rd, at the Raffles City Shopping Center. Got it? Stamford, Stamford, Raffles. Wooloomooloo.
Let me tell how NOT to get there.
Take the EastWest Line MRT (underground) and alight at Raffles Place MRT Station.
Half-asleep thanks to the soporific sultriness of the clime, half lost in a pod-cast on climate change or in the dream-world sounds of some ambient stuff recommended by No1 son ("No1 Son, did you leave the washing machine on downstairs?" "No, it's music." "Oh.") such as Carbon Based Lifeforms, Ulrich Schnauss, or Shpongle, I rouse myself as the train judders to a stop... almost to stop I mean, as it judders (jolts and shudders) briefly again to align itself with the outer anti-suicide doors and I fight my way out against the tide of prams and grannies as, I notice, the train on the opposite platform, going in the opposite direction, takes itself off.
The crowd looks and acts the same as in any situation, train-mall or large shopping mall, I can't tell yet where I am. A pulsing swarm-unintelligence rushing, pausing, floating, obstructing, ever-alert to inanimate things like clothes and watches, but nasty with indifference to non-members of the shopping swarm, as shopping is all the crowd does. I have to join for the flow through the turnstiles, or get crushed, eaten, assimilated and ejected.
So I come up from the depths of here, wherever that is, unthinkingly choosing one exit and slapped in my eyes is light. I am coming from a gate at one of the delightfully colonial pavilions of colonial architectural provenance, brilliant white in the sun in a small rectangle of a tended park of manicured lawn and low trimmed hedges that is standing defiantly dated, dwarfed on three sides by looming bank offices of Raffles Place, of course. Over the peak of the pavilion in the dazzling azure, I see the towering round tower of the hotel I had been expecting to find one hell of a lot closer, like all around me. The Stamford, Raffles City.
I am nowhere near where I should be. I realise that I have gone one stop too far again, yo-yoed up and over my public-transit bird-flipping ring finger. City Hall is naturally closer to Raffles City than is Raffles Place. Do'h!
But, seriously. Why the fuck would a station called Raffles Place not deposit you at a shopping centre called Raffles City? It's a fucking mystery. I've made this mistake three or four times now - but being who I am, I never learn from mistakes - how plebeian.
The building itself, Swissôtel, The Stamford, was once the tallest hotel in the world, for about 20mins (it is 221 meters at 73 stories). It was designed by our buddy I.M Pei, the guy who fucked up the Hancock tower in Boston when all the windows fell out, and the guy who built the much more iconic and impressive (and stable) Bank Of China building in Hong Kong. Tall and round, it is a great hotel to jump out of the windows of - recent case of a lady landing on the roof of the al fresco Starbucks, no doubt quite a shock to the green tea lattes consumers there. (Apparently, while they were retrieving her body, it fell further, through the parapet and onto the ground! May even have been a murder...!) The Formula 1 race takes a corner right at the window of Woolies at the base of the hotel.
It's a cool place, but I am not there. Yet. Back into the depths of the MTR... And, yes, the train to doors close, beep beep,just before I attain entry...
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