Tuesday, February 16, 2010

23 things I have discovered about Singapore

A guest post today from my very good friends Yo and Matt who are currently living in Singapore.

Yo's list -

1. People buy whitening products for their skin – it is considered more beautiful – funny that a tan is beautiful in the west! No one sunbakes.

2. The people walk very slowly, they are never in a hurry.

3. No one EVER sticks to the left.

4. People always sit on the aisle seat in the bus so that no one sits next to them

5. “la” is said at the end of most sentences (I still don’t t know why this is)

6. People hold a business card with two hands when passing it to someone whom they have just met.

7. The umbrella is actually useful on a sunny day *shame* and is a must for the handbag

8. Pashmina’s are also a necessary handbag item – the air-conditioning is set to arctic wherever you go.

9. Chewing gum is not illegal

10. You get the cane for any sort of graffiti (10 lashes I believe)

11. Kids don’t play in parks, or generally for that matter...they are very academic from a young age

12. There are alot of really, really expensive cars: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Aston Martins...etc etc

13. Public transport is exceptionally cheap to encourage high patronage – it really puts Australia to shame. It is also very efficient (except to Matt’s work of course).

14. Affordable housing is done well, there are very little, if any homeless people.

15. Maids (mostly from the Philippines) invade Orchard road on Sundays – it’s their day off

16. Being Caucasian, and blonde (and female), you get stared at alot...you learn to win stare-offs very well. (Phebs, prepare yourself)

17. You pay for incoming calls on your mobile

18. You don’t see many policemen.

19. Shopping is a sport. More importantly, bargain shopping.

20. It’s all about the food here. Everyone is always asking about your next meal. (Chappo will fit in just fine)

21. Taxi’s are cheap, which is odd considering a Toyota Yaris is about $50k (just imagine what the Ferrari’s cost).

22. Starting Salary for a graduate engineer is about A$20,000.

23. You can have a maid for A$400/month. They will work 6days/week.

To round out Yo’s top 23 things to a top 30, Matt adds-

24: Almost all residents who live in Singapore are not from Singapore. Most are from Malaysia, Indonesia and other surrounding countries.

25: “Can” means yes, as in yes I can do that

26: Cash for payment is received in two hands (similar to Yo’s no. 6)

27: When someone invites you out to Friday afternoon drinks, that means you leave work late, not early

28: You can pay $2 for two coffees. You can also pay $20.

29: In addition to Yo’s no. 20, people never bring lunch with them to work. We don’t even have a microwave in the kitchen. Lunch with Singaporeans is always a sit down hot meal in a restaurant or cafe.

30: A 100m walk to a Singaporean is equivalent to a 1k walk to an Australian. No one walks very far here.


  1. i think further investigation of no. 10 - the cane - will reveal it as a MUCH MORE SEVERE form of punishment than older australians may recall from school days. I have vague recollections of an international incident with a young american guy sentenced to ? strokes of the cane and president Clinton stepping in??

  2. You're right Keith, the 'young American guy' was from an affluent family who thought they were above the law of Singapore, so got in touch with President Clinton to save their son from his punishment. Regardless of your social status and your family ties, the Singapore govt likes to make examples of anyone who breaks the law.