Not all of Singapore is swanky and pristine. There’s also gritty, grimy and authentic in every way. One of the oldest estates is Toa Payoh which is right in the middle of the island. This is one area in Toa Payoh that won’t be featured in the tourist sales pitch. But maybe this is the Singapore you are seeking. Something alien from what you are used to. Something totally out of your comfort zone.
You can get clothing for as little as one Singapore dollar here at a store run by women from China. The little shops sell household items that have been used since the 60’s and most of them are hot and stuffy with no air-conditioning and poor ventilation. Fruit sellers call out to you with their bargain prices.