Credit: www.edition.cnn.com/AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
Last week, Singapore celebrated their 5oth anniversary as a nation. Happy Birthday, Singapore! I have an utmost respect and admiration for Singapore that became a leading city-state and country in Southeast Asia.
I have been living and working in Singapore for 3 years now and I have been grateful to Singapore for allowing me to have this life adventure in their country until I find another adventure destination that my life would take me to.
Living in Singapore allowed me to take a closer look at Singapore and made me see things that are uniquely Singapore.
1. MULTI-RACIAL POPULATION
When I was younger, during our family trip to Singapore when I am in high school, I have easily assumed that the ethnicity of Singaporeans to be Chinese. But after living here now, I learned how wrong I was. The beauty of Singapore is it multi-racial population. You see Singaporean Chinese, Singaporean Malays and Singaporean Indians coexisting harmoniously in this Little Red Dot despite vast differences in languages, belief and religion. Singapore’s First Prime Minister, the late Lee Kwan Yew advocated this racial unity which is one of the main key to Singapore’s success.
2. DIVERSE SINGAPORE CUISINE
Due to its diverse cultural influences, going to a hawker centre (the open-air buildings with various food stalls) is a treat to a group of people with different food cravings. In one place you can enjoy the different type of dishes with various cultural influences. You don’t need to travel far and wide to satisfy different food choices and cravings. You get it all in one place. You get to enjoy the Chinese Bak Kuh Teh, Char Kway Teow, Kaya Toast and Popiah while some of you friends can enjoy Malay’s Nasi Lemak or Ayam Penyet, Otak-Otak and Satays. Or some may prefer Indian’s Roti Prata, Tandoori Chicken or Murtabak. There are also those food that are hybrid food from cross-cultural influences like the Fish Head Curry from Malayalee, an Indian ethnic group with Chinese and Malay influences or my favourite Laksa from Peranakan origin (Chinese-Malay). There is also the famous seafoods in Singapore like the Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab and Sambal Stingray. Of course, there are also Western food choices in hawker centres like fish & chips, baked beans steaks. They don’t call Singapore, Food Mecca, for nothing. It is needed a country for people to enjoy a good various of food.
3. UNIQUE SINGLISH LANGUAGE
When you arrive in Singapore, you would hear locals speak in English. At first, you think they are speaking English but you realised you got lost in the conversation. Are they really speaking English or maybe you they are speaking another lamguage. Answer is a yes and a no. They are speaking Singlish. Singlish is a Singapore Colloquial English that would take time for foreigners to understand. I am privileged to have an amazing Singaporean friends who would speak Singlish so freely when I am around that I managed to understand what they are talking about. I love that it is like Singapore’s own special code speak. Wah lau! So late! Wow, that girl so choi! No lah! No choice mah! Where you wanna makan? Can can. Wow, so shiok man! I cannot tahan this already. Why you so kaisu? You’re blood pressure very high today but normally not so high, you kancheong ah. I heard she married an ang moh she met in her latest travel. I don’t think I can go to that place, I might be out of place, so atas. Why you bo jio?
4. PROXIMITY TO TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES
Singaporeans love to travel. And travel junkies would love to live in Singapore where you get to have a quick trip to different countries through ferries, buses and planes in few minutes or a few hours. A weekend can allow me to travel to Batam, Indonesia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Malacca, Malaysia or Bintan, Indonesia. I can easily travel to Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, HongKong, Krabi, China, Korea or Cambodia. I get to know other places like Penang, Bandung, and Chiang Mai, etc. Taking trips to Australia, Europe, Canada, USA or New Zealand are easy because the accessibility of embassies in city.
5. COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE
I have worked with Singaporean for years now and I noticed a sense of commitment to excellence. They want to do a job that they can be proud of. Some may call it perfectionism but I call it exemplary. Taking a cue from Lee Kwan Yew, excellence and pride to be the best has been ingrained in the hearts and minds of Singaporeans to produce a commendable output to whatever they has set themselves up to do. Singapore is no doubt a country to be reckoned with. Looking into their history, you would understand how they managed to rise into a leading city-state in South East Asia with booming economy. Example: look at their airport. Changi Airport is known to be the World Best Airport. Now, that is commitment to excellence.
Belated Happy Birthday, Singapore!