by Wang Lili
SINGAPORE, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- As many Chinese tourists have flocked to Singapore for the Chinese New Year holidays, quite a number of Singaporean dwellers of Chinese origin have returned to China either for family reunion or sightseeing, and were all amazed at their hometowns' fast changes.
"It just takes 24 minutes to go by subway from downtown Xiamen to the suburb Jimei which is home to several colleges and universities, and the train cars are clean and of the first-class," Huang Fei, an employee of a Singaporean bank, recalled her first trip on Xiamen's No. 1 Subway Line a couple of days ago, adding that the facilities were even better than those of Singapore.
Zhang Yuxuan had packed her public transportation card into her luggage when back on a holiday to Beijing, only to find that most of the passengers were swiping their mobile phones to pay for the subway fare.
The development of the cashless payment in China also captured the attention of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who had cited the story of a Singaporean minister who had no idea of the scan-and-pay practice using mobile phone in China's commercial hub of Shanghai, in his 2017 National Day Rally address.
Actually this is only one of the several changes Zhang had witnessed since she joined a China-financed cultural center in Singapore last April.
"When I dined at the restaurants in Beijing, I was given an electrical receipt which is both efficient and environment friendly," she added.
Huang, a food-lover, dined out several times with her parents when back in Xiamen. Besides local Fujian delicacies, she also enjoyed food from all over China as well as Italian and Spanish cuisines during the Chinese Spring Festival, which all tasted delicious.
"My hometown is more and more like an international metropolis in terms of cuisines and many other ways," Huang said.
Though the dish prices had risen by 30 percent compared with those in 2015 when she first left for Singapore, she still found them competitive with those of Singapore.
"I have a whole year back in Singapore to lose weight," grinned Huang, who is now a permanent resident of the city state.
Huang's view was echoed by her fellow countryman Chen Jiaxin also from the southeastern Fujian Province. He couldn't help posting pictures of the newly-expanded Fuzhou International Airport on the social media WeChat, and he was especially impressed by the VIP airport lounge.
"With sofas, flowers and red lanterns, the lounge is spacious as well as comfortable." Moreover, there was a buffet with local snacks before boarding, said Chen who works with the Singapore branch of an international insurance company.
During her holiday, Zhang also took the time to pick up her accountant diploma at a government organization.
She was informed by a letter in details, including which documentation to bring in to get the diploma, which window she should go for it as well as the address and office hours of the government building.
"I picked up my diploma without wasting a minute," Zhang said.
She was also very satisfied with her trip to the "Zhang Zhidong and Wuhan" Museum, located in Central China's Wuhan City.
"I learned that it's quite an internet star among youngsters, and was curious about it and wanted to see it by myself," added Zhang who is a manager in the media industry.
"Unlike traditional museums where exhibits are put behind the glass windows, the exhibits in the "Zhang Zhidong and Wuhan" Museum are close to the visitors and are displayed in a fashionable way." Zhang liked the museum's design and way of display, which has indeed attracted an audience both old and young.
The museum was renovated and reopened last year on the venue of the old Hanyang Iron Factory, as Zhang Zhidong, a high-ranking official in the Qing Dynasty, was the founder of the factory.
She was fascinated by an iron round curtain with large TV screens displaying videos about the factory's history, as well as an audio room where the visitors can take a rest and watch a video which is wonderfully shot and edited.
Besides the fashionable museum, Zhang also toured the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, which was also exempt of entry fee for visitors during the Chinese New Year holiday and also allured quite a number of visitors.
"The museums are interesting and really nice places to go to spend the holiday, especially in the cold winter," she said.