In celebration of Singapore’s 50th year of independence tomorrow, I’ve decided to put up a list of things that I like about Singapore.
1. Our multicultural heritage
I was craving for ondeh ondeh the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that hey, it’s so wonderful to be living in Singapore! Since Singapore is a multiracial nation made up of different ethnic groups, we get to savour a multicultural mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and western cuisines. Fancy some nonya kuehs or curry puffs? You can find them easily in shopping malls or hawker stalls. If you prefer western snacks such as doughnuts or cupcakes, these too can be found easily in the same shopping malls. I think many of us take Singapore’s multicultural heritage for granted and we should all pause to appreciate this the next time we tuck into our roti pratas and nasi lemaks.
2. Food! A wide variety of cuisines at that!
I know this is like an extension of the previous point but I just want to highlight that almost every type of cuisine can be found in Singapore. Japanese, Italian, Indian, Korean, Thai, Chinese, German or Middle Eastern, you name it and we’ll probably have it. Dining out in Singapore is never boring and you need not burn a hole in your pocket to enjoy a great meal here.
3. Safe and clean city
Singapore is well known as a relatively safe city with a low crime rate and I’m truly grateful for this. I once alighted at the wrong bus stop after a late night gathering with my friends and had to walk for 20 minutes from the bus stop to my home at 2 am in the morning. The streets were dark and deserted but I never felt unsafe. I love it that I can take public transport and walk on the streets in the wee hours without having to fear for my safety.
By clean, I mean hygienic. Since the food retail industry here is heavily regulated by the government, hawkers are required to practice and maintain high standards of personal and food hygiene. This means the odds of you having the runs after pigging out in Singapore is really low. If you’ve been to other countries *cough*China*cough* and seen the conditions of their food stalls, you’d think twice about eating there.
4. Efficient and convenient
Two words – Changi Airport. I live in the northern part of Singapore and I’m able to reach home by taxi within 40 minutes of the plane touching down the runway. Those 40 minutes include immigration clearance, baggage collection and getting a cab. No exaggeration there.
I also love the convenient amenities available in most of the housing estates in Singapore. 24-hour kopitiams and convenience stores to beat the late night hunger pangs. The neighbourhood medical clinics where you can just drop by for a consultation without the need for advance appointments. Public libraries with a wide range of books and magazines that everyone can borrow. Amazing isn’t it? And the one thing that I like best is the cineplex located just a stone’s throw away from where I live. Bored at home? Just pop over and catch the latest blockbuster. No sweat.
5. Public transport system
You may not agree with me on this point but I’d say the public transport system here is pretty efficient. Yes, the MRT did suffer a major disruption recently and left thousands of commuters pissed and stranded during peak hours. People ranted and bitched about it but come on, machines do breakdown. Perhaps we’re so used to being efficient that we’ve become intolerant towards such lapses. Well, at least we can count on our bus and train services to run on schedule daily without the workers going on strikes, right?
6. Uniquely Singapore
I like the quirks and jokes that only Singaporeans can identify with. Things like Singlish. Packets of tissue paper to chope seats with. Drinking beverages (both cold and hot) from little plastic bags. Things that make us unique.
Singapore is of course, not perfect in many ways. But at the end of the day, I’m thankful and proud to call myself a Singaporean. Happy 50th birthday, Singapore! Here’s to many more 50 successful and prosperous years!