This article on WeAreSoleSisters is dedicated to all the people who always ask me whether Singapore is boring. Boring is a state of mind! A state of mind you should never have. After over 6 months of living in this bite-sized country, I debunk some myths below.
One of the (many) perks of living in a new country is getting to know it intimately and in your own terms. Traveling, on the other hand, can sometimes be a one-night stand where you don’t have enough time to undo an experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. How long does it take until you know a place?
Ever since I moved to Singapore from the Philippines people have curiously asked me same kinds of questions like “Isn’t Singapore boring?” or “Will I go to jail for chewing bubble gum?”
While every place has its stereotypes, uprooting oneself and moving is like taking your long-distance relationship with a country to the next level: accepting and understanding each other — faults and all. The funny thing about migrating is explaining on behalf of a country that isn’t even your first home.
Singapore, which is dubbed as both the most emotionless country and best place for expats in 2012, can’t be that bad, right? Based on my experience living here, below are 5 things you thought you knew about Singapore.
Broke-back in Singapore
Compared to its South East Asian relatives, Singapore is that wealthy auntie with a high standard of living. As a first world country, both locals and foreigners pay the price for the convenience of Orchard road, manicured streets and efficient MRT’s. A taxi fare may be equivalent to a full course meal back where you’re from.(Warning: Do not convert.)
Tip:What you splurge on shopping, you can save on affordable 3-dollar chicken rice or duck noodle meal at a hawker stall. Singapore is cheap where I believe it matters most— food! Here cheap is never synonymous to bad tasting food.
Saving never tasted so good.
While a nightlife in Singapore can be expensive, if you’re resourceful it doesn’t have to be. Once you arrive in Singapore, hoard. Buy a bottle at the Duty Free in Changi Airport and bring it to the bridge of Clarke Quay for a chill one-of-a-kind drinking session.
Dying of Boredom
There is more to Singapore than shopping at Orchard road. In fact it’s a global hub bursting at the seams with free talks, networking opportunities, foodie tripping, first-class art exhibits and awesome music festivals and concerts.
Take for example Creative Mornings, a free monthly breakfast series of inspiring Ted-like talks, Lego exhibit at ArtScience Museum, or ZoukOut and Laneway with big acts like Calvin Harris and Gotye. Or instagram to your tummy’s desire with the wide range of novel places to have brunch. Singapore is not boring if you make an effort to not be bored.
Tip: Check out Meetup.com, TheList, CityNomads, TimeOut Singapore, Sistic for event listings.
It’s easy to mistake Singapore as only a man-made city with an industrial skyline, a consumer appetite and technological aesthetic. Where is the arts and creativity?
But for a developed country, the culture thrives in being cosmopolitan.Its bite-sized multiculturalism where eating briyani from India or nasi lemak from Malaysia is part of your every day menu and not saved for special occasions. You don’t have to travel far to experience celebrating Hindu or Chinese holidays.
Tip: Walk down to China Town or Little India during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or when you want a gastronomical excursion.
Singapore is strict but in a way that makes every day life easier. No, you will not go to jail for chewing gum (only selling and importing it) and yes you can smoke a cigarette in the streets (only if you throw the butt away properly afterwards.) A plus for partyphiles and travelers is being able to pass out in the cab ride home without fear of being raped or mugged. Sometimes it’s a relief to enjoy a place without policemen lingering around.
Tip: If you can adhere to the rules in Singapore, like using the pedestrian lane for example, why not do the same in your own country.
(Small) Size Matters
Singapore is a small country with a great backyard for travelers. What it makes up for size is accessibility as an Asian hub and commuter city with good urban planning. While there’s only space for one city, you can easily plan a trip to Malaysia and Indonesia,which are just a bus and ferry ride away!
Tip: If you need to escape the city for a while, consider taking a trip down to Malaysia on the weekends for a cheap change of scenery. Use gothere.sg to find the best route to your next destination in Singapore.