As I endeavor to see the world, I recently journeyed to the Southeast Asian country called Singapore. Part of the draw was the promise of gorgeous night illumination and pristine beaches, outdoor events, and vegetarian food.
When I arrived, I did not know that I would fall in love with the country and its people. I traversed the tiny country, and I soon found myself thinking about how I could live in Singapore, despite my love of Japan. Here are the reasons why Singapore could be home (or at least a vacation home):
After being in Hong Kong, which is the picture perfect dystopian setting, with crumbling buildings and the faintest glimmer of nature finding ways to survive, Singapore felt like a sylvan paradise.
I was awed by the beauty of the foliage, the cleanliness of the streets and buildings, and the pristine conditions of the subway station. The hostels where I stayed were always spotless.
I rarely saw litter in the gutters or clustered in bushes, which is evidence to how much Singapore hopes to preserve the natural wildlife and environment. So aside from being “clean” in regards to junk, Singapore is also “clean” about its energy consumption.
In general, I found the Singaporeans to be way more convivial than the locals of Hong Kong. People were more likely to speak to you when you asked a question or be willing to smile. I even joked around with several locals and made a few friendships that I believe will last a lifetime.
The openness of Singapore makes it easy for anyone to come in and find something that makes them feel at home. For expatriates, I can imagine Singapore being the ideal place to settle down, despite the high cost of living.
3. Minimal language barrier
Singapore speaks English, Chinese, Arabic, Indian, and a whirlwind of Southeast Asian dialects. It blew my mind. I even heard Japanese from time to time. Stations, maps, and menus were all written in the main language of the area and English.
For example, if you road into places with a higher density of Malaysians, you would see a lot more Malay than Chinese. In Chinatown, I heard both Cantonese and Mandarin. Regardless, you never felt detached or unable to communicate, because most people can understand English to some degree, if not fluently.
Again, the diversity of Singapore was what astounded me. I thought it was incredible how all these cultures can live side by side in near harmony. In a way, it is like America, where various cultures co-exist 95% of the time.
Not going to say that Singapore’s population is free from racism and other social issues, like gender and sexuality equality, because it is not. However, those issues were much less visible to me than they are in other places around the world.
Okay, so I fell in love with this thing called nyonya pandan kaya. It is a green spread for bread that is made of coconut, egg whites, sugar, and honey or pandan juice. So incredibly tasty.
Singapore also had a variety of vegetarian meals, breakfast cereals, yogurt, Indian and Malaysian food, Thai, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Chinese, and fresh seafood almost everywhere you went. Finding food was never an issue. Plus, depending on where you went, it was all very reasonably priced.
Would I return to Singapore to live there for months on end? Definitely. While many people go for shopping and nightlife, I found the pace of living, the cost, the friendliness and cleanliness all to my liking.
Life is full of discovery in this tiny country, and despite the physical size, the opportunities seem boundless there. If you are looking to visit Singapore, I highly recommend it!