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50 Things in Singapore

posted Jul 1, 2012, 6:50 AM by jj pionke

1.  You will sound more Singaporean if you add la or na to the end of almost any noun.  Example: I went to the grocery store-la and found dragonfruit-na.

2.  Its ok to point at the food pictures.

3.  Bus drivers mostly don’t speak English, but they are helpful anyway.

4.  The MRT is fast, efficient, often crowded, but worth it.

5.  Hawker Centers are really the only way to afford to eat here.

6.  You can get sweet popcorn at movie theaters.

7.  Be prepared to sweat a lot.

8.  There is not much in the way of recycling.

9.  Smell the food carefully.  If it smells like it will upset your stomach, it probably will.

10.  Singaporeans are very polite.  They are also very conservative and avoid talking about controversial topics.

11.  Durians reek and taste worse.

12.  Cane juice is better than you think.

13.  Traveling from Singapore to anywhere else requires a great deal of patience.

14.  Floss that is on food is actually desiccated pork dust (it’s pretty tasty).

15.  Singaporeans love to eat.

16.  Fruit is cheap and plentiful here and often eaten as a dessert item in whole chunks or slices.

17.  The heat will kill your appetite.

18.  There aren’t a lot of bugs or animals.

19.  Everyone wears flipflops or similar easy to take off footwear.

20.  No shoes in the house!

21.  Students wear uniforms (but not college students).

22.  Everyone speaks Singlish but will switch over to “proper” English when it’s clear you can’t understand a word they are saying.  That said, they might not understand a word you are saying either, so at least the confusion is mutual.

23.  Ethnic groups tend to live together and this is reflected in the MRT announcements.  All announcements are made in English but they might also be made in Malay, Chinese, or Tamil depending on where you are.

24.  Youth are just like youth everywhere else.

25.  It often looks like it is going to rain but  that’s the weather trying to psych you out.

26.  There’s not much of a recycling program here.  L

27.  Housing is ludicrously expensive.

28.  Work culture revolves around harmony which is very different than American work culture which revolves around get it done (I wish I had known/remembered this far far far earlier in my internship). 

29.  There are no bus maps.

30.  Postcards and letters are pretty much a standard price, but mailing a package will cost you every penny you own.

31.  There isn’t much in the way of plus sized clothing here so if you are at all remotely close to plus sized, bring everything you need.

32.  That said, many of the same brands and products in the US are available here.

33.  Do not underestimate the power of “Thank You”.

34.  Smart phones are ubiquitous here.  Seeing people watch tv shows on the trains and buses is a common sight.

35.  Bring a swimsuit.

36.  Make sure your passport has plenty of blank pages if you are going to be here for an extended period of time.  Immigration practices good stamp management because the borders are fairly porous, but if you are going to go in and out a lot, it adds up fast.

37.  Singapore is a city state – it pays to remember that.

38.  Singapore encompasses an area of 274 miles.  Next to the US, it’s the size of a pea.

39.  Religion is taken very seriously here.  There are Bible camps that many youth and adults attend.

40.  Everything is expensive.

41.  Get a native to take you around to places.  You will be so glad you did.

42.  There is almost always some festival or event going on.  Go check them out!

43.  It’s hot and there is nothing you can do about it except sweat.

44.  Did I mention it is hot?

45.  There is some truly amazing cuisine here for every level of your wallet.

46.  This is an up and coming bar/night life type of place, if you know where to look.

47.  The people here are friendly.  You may not always understand each other, but that is ok.

48.  Never underestimate the power of kindness, generosity, and thank you.

49.  Be courageous.

50.  Have fun!

and now, off to Uganda.  See you on the Uganda blog!