Tried the new Marina Bay Sands Skating Rink today: it's not ice but plastic laced with oil! Plastic, as in Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Molecular what?! I hope my old chemistry teacher is on Facebook.
1. Painful Skates
The skates were painful. It was as if both your feet are being crushed on all directions and poked at random places at the same time. And I'm certain it was my size. This happened on two skates that I tried, the other one already two sizes up. Unfortunately, personal skates are not allowed.
2. Seriously Slippery
The counter guy actually informed me about it, but I wasn't expecting it to be that slippery. Even experienced skaters will have a difficult time adjusting.
Initially, I tried the red skates (hockey-type skates) and it was frustrating. It could be one of these things: a) the skates assigned to me had blunt blades; b) blades were sharp but the plastic was very hard the blade can't grab on it, or c) the layer of oil caused the blades to slip before you're able to put your weight on them. It was nearly impossible to skate, as it was tough to establish the required friction between the blades and the floor. I fell once, and I haven't fallen from skating in years. I knew something was wrong.
I saw this guy having a similar dilemma. He was trying to skate while his girlfriend was watching outside. I knew from his legwork that he was an experienced skater - but he can't even move for more than a few meters from the edge. He probably wanted to impress his girl, too bad. I feel for him.
3. Difficult to Brake
Anyway, I went back to the counter and switched to the blue skates (figure skates). It felt a lot better. Yes, it was still painful - but I could skate. So it must be the blades. I was able to move about freely although it was tough to brake. You can't establish friction between the perpendicular blade and the surface to slow down your momentum.
Michelle Kwan's Performance
I googled about it, looking for similar sentiments only to find Michelle Kwan's remarkable performance on the opening ceremonies. It's possible to skate well it seems. Then she must have had razor-sharp skates, or the oil happened to be well applied that time.
Marina Bay Sands Skating Rink has a few good points though. Since there are only a few skaters, you have the whole area all to yourself. Falling won't hurt since it's hollow plastic (ice can scratch you). It's relatively cheap considering the location.
Beginners, especially seasoned skaters, be extra careful when trying for the first time. It takes some serious getting used to. I'll give it another chance someday, hoping for a better experience.