2009-04-11

Some things I like about living in Singapore

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by Neil Godfrey

First list — more to come lah.

Singaporeans are normal — they break rules and disregard silly signs

Buses have signs warning commuters not to bring their durians on board.

Bus drivers stop to let you on board even after they have left the bus stop. (In Australia bus drivers take off faster with sadistic chortles if they see you running to catch their bus.)

They do laugh at themselves while being discreet enough not to risk going too public

Some court areas (like those in Geylang at evening) have the same welcoming camaraderie found in Australian pubs. (Am sometimes shouted a free beer by locals.)

Food is inexpensive and even their sweets taste healthy. (Easy for me to avoid sweets, like corn-flavoured ice-cream.)

Beer and wine are obscenely expensive. (Helps me reduce intake.)

I hate line dancing and gambling for myself but I love to see Singaporeans line dancing en masse in main streets and gambling in side streets.

The mosaic of Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus all doing their things side by side.

Public holidays for each of the faiths, with room still left over for Labour/May Day.

And lion dancers doing business with the hawkers and others.

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Neil Godfrey

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2 thoughts on “Some things I like about living in Singapore”

  1. What a coincidence! I’m wearing a “Singapore is a Fine City” shirt right now! There must be a higher power! :p

    “Singaporeans are normal — they break rules and disregard silly signs” – Maybe those were transplanted HKers. 😉

    BTW, isn’t Geylang the red light district?

    And if you plan to visit Manila, give me a heads up. 😀

    1. Geylang is one place in Singapore that looks “typically Asian”, but with the advantage of being unusually safe. I love it because it’s one place one can find the underside in an otherwise “too finished” country. When I see modern squeaky clean places I also like to see the old and dilapidated to take in their history, their past, their other side, their “soul”. Maybe I also like Geylang because maybe people are more themselves there. The honesty of their humanity is open for all to see and experience. But I’ve only been here a few months and still have much to learn. Hate the obvious sex trafficking that involves mostly foreign girls (their pimps standing a controlling watch nearby), and monks trying to sell me magic tokens for good luck, but can’t help but love the open mix of buddhist monks and prostitutes, hundreds of muslim shoes on pathways outside mosques and buildings where Christians meet to hold up a light for Jesus, smells of incense, prayer sticks and food spices throughout all the lorongs, and the openness and friendliness of the “normal” people who love to enjoy a beer and watch tv and a conversation at the tables in the streets.

      I’m happy that my main work office is nearby. I’ve heard rumours that the government wants to “clean Geylang up”. I think that would be a great loss to Singapore.

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