Heyya peeps! So I have been living in Singapore for more than a year and I have realised how little I have shared my experiences of living in Singapore as an Indian.
I had previously shared a post mentioning about the challenges I faced when I started living abroad. You can read about them Here.
I want to share more about living in Singapore.
Now, Singapore is a country mainly known for it’s tourism. However, the tourism part isn’t the only thing that defines the country. What many people don’t realize is that most people residing here, citizens or expats have a life apart from the touristy bit.
Today I shall share 5 unique things about Singapore that you may not have heard about.
The first thing I noticed when I came to Singapore is the language. While the official languages are English, Mandarin, Tamil and Malay, there is a unique language that locals speak here. It’s called ‘Singlish’ that is Colloquial Singaporean English.
Singlish has managed to capture a bit of all the languages that are official in Singapore as well as the original languages of the first migrants who came here, such as the Hokkien or Teochew languages. To top it all, it has also managed to get two words included in the Oxford English Dictionary, lah and sinseh.
Some of the Singlish elements are contagious and I have often ended up using them myself. For example, using Can instead of Yes, Cannot to say No and Lah to put emphasis at the end of a sentence. I love the lilt of saying lah and often end up saying ‘Can lah’ in a lot of my conversations.
Mastering the full range of Singlish expressions and way of speaking is very tough and difficult for expats.
Thus, Singlish is one of Singapore’s most unique facts and a clear sign of its identity and brings everyone together under a common language.
I am an Indian, so multiculturalism isn’t a new concept for me, but when I landed in Singapore, I wasn’t expecting it to be this multicultured. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the fact.
You can see Chinese Buddhists, Chinese Christians, Indians (South Indian Tamils are majority), Malaysians, Indonesians and Filippinos all living together in harmony in Singapore.
In Bugis, Singapore, there is a Lord Krishna Temple which is a Hindu temple and Kwan Im Thong Hood Chu Chinese temple adjacent to each other and one can see tourists as well as locals of all cultures visiting both temples to get a glimpse of the culture and grandeur they possess.
Thus, Singapore is quite multicultured and I feel it is often not given enough credit for being so.
- Cats Paradise
Singapore is a paradise for cats! Cats are considered lucky in Chinese culture and most Singaporeans are kind and loving towards them.
Almost every residential area will have a few stray cats and few local dedicated persons will feed the cats on a regular basis. Hence, the stray cats here are quite healthy and great to play with, like I discovered. My fondness for these cats has only increased with passing time. Cats are mystical, full of wisdom and although may appear aloof intially, once they get to know you, they show you love in their own distinct way.
I am amazed at how well taken care of the cats are in Singapore. Of course there are people who have been cruel to these harmless creatures, especially in an area called Yishun, but other than that, most stray cats here are well-taken care of and loved by many.
Also, in many of the Chinese shops and homes, you can find the Maneki-Neko (beckoning) Cat figurines. Also, called the waving cat or lucky cat. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning.
So if you are an animal lover or a cat lover, keep a look-out for these cute and gorgeous creatures!
- Hawker Centre Culture
Singapore has several hawker centres or ‘food courts’ which provide good quality food at afforable rates. As a result, most Singaporeans don’t really cook their meals at home but have it at these centres.
These hawker centres are not much known to the tourists who opt for the expensive restaurants. There is nothing wrong in that. We all love fancy restaurants, but the hawker centre culture is just too vibrant to be missed, even as a tourist. You can visit it just to be amazed by the variety of food and general atmosphere of these centres.
As a vegetarian, I always hunt for vegetarian hawkers and I do find vegetarian food at most centres, if not all.
The best part of these Hawker centres is that the government supports the thriving of these centres, hence they can afford to give the best food that they can.
Also, regular checks are made at these centres, which usually takes care of any hygiene concerns.
Did you know, Singapore is the only country where Hawker Stalls are awarded Michelin stars? so you can have the world’s cheapest michelin star food in Singapore! Few names- Outram Park Fried Kway Teow, J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff, etc.
So the next time you visit Singapore, don’t miss out experiencing the Hawker culture!
- Car Parking
While buying a car in Singapore is extremely expensive and can make one go broke, those who do own cars and park them in Singapore, have a unique and systematic style of parking them.
Almost all Singaporean locals park their car in reverse, so that it’s convenient to take your car out, once your work is done.
They really do have amazing reverse parking skills I tell you!
So those were few interesting, fun and unique facts about Singapore. I do hope you visit the country soon and whenever you do, lookout for these quirks!