Living in Singapore for the past few years has been a great learning experience for me. I had been to Singapore prior to working here, mainly for business trip and short vacation. Till that moment I knew Singapore is great country, clean and well integrated public transportation, and many great places to visit, but to have stayed with the locals is another experience I can’t find in tourism brochure. Here are 5 things that I like the most about Singapore.
- Singapore is well connected. It is designed to be connected all around the city without people having difficulty to locate from one place to another. Public places are always easily accessible with public transportations. MRT Station is connected with shopping center which is connected with public library and sport center within a walking distance.
- Pedestrians walkway is everywhere, sometimes equipped with a canopy on top of it that surely makes people rather safe and convenient for walking. The city seemed to be designed to encourage people walking as many places are close each other. You know why most of the Singaporean having slim body? I guess because they have engrained a habit to make significant number of steps everyday, it’s 5674 daily steps in average according to survey by USA Today.
- Singapore Library. I really love library, I wish I could have one in my house. What can I say about singapore library, from the building side, it’s pretty simple building with 2-3 floors of books collection yet it feels just right. There are another 4 revamped library buildings recently open in Sengkang, Bukit Panjang, Tampiness, and Bedok. I went to try my self in Bukit Panjang, and the architecture was amazing. With the ornament dominant color is whitish and grey, the book shelves follow the maze shape of discovery. There are some spaces for reading dedicated to different ages; adult goes to a stacked of floors with half rounded table each, kids got quirky sloped sitting areas which makes interesting spot for reading with their parents. There are also many events in library like the one that I missed so regretfully -a talkshow with Physics and Chemistry nobel prize winner. All information is accessible through NBL apps.
- Singlish. Singlish is another kind of english with mix of mandarin (or hokkien) accent, the sound and sentence forming follows it. It’s weird the first time I listened to it because I struggle to understand clearly so much so that I frequently asked my friend to repeat every time they speak. Sometimes I laughed when everyone laugh of someones jokes in Singlish, just to not look like idiot. Now that moment is over, I got used to it already. I can talk Singlish as much as Singlish can. Apart from the famous words lah, lor, leh, I can now understand few slangs or expressions like; walao eh (frustration maximum level), wa piang (despair expression), paiseh (sorry), kena hantam (got hit), cheem (difficult), shiok (nice, great), and many else. I would say Singlish is very effective form of daily english where you only care about the important message on the sentence. For example; this also can, how come like that, …then how ah. Now the best part is even Singlish seems to be ‘broken’ english, most of Singaporean I meet speak good english in formal occasion, good use of grammar and common idioms. It seems like they have two modes of english; formal singlish and conversational singlish.
- Food variety. Singapore is home for many great local foods, from chinese, malay, and indian, all blend together making its own uniqueness. It’s very often I visit Food festival all around the city; Thai Food Festival, Malay Food Bazaar, Singapore Food Festival, Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar (this one is so shiok) are among few I can recall. I also like attending evening live music on the lane park in CBD area, it’s served with local and western foods and drinks. Enjoying food with friends on the evening like this, where acoustic music gets in, was one of the best scene. And the fact that halal food are not difficult to find makes it even better.
There are other things that I love like having interaction with local community club, volunteering to non profit organization, or exploring jogging trail and park in the northwest border of Singapore. Of all many things I learnt from is that I understand being minority is not easy, all you hope is to meet nice people surround you, and being kind to them. Dump all stereotype and society generalization, people are more complex than that. When you experience good things being minority, you will make sure good things happen to the other end when you’re being the majority.