We Singaporeans are a unique bunch indeed. Our habits, our hobbies and even the way we speak make us a rare breed. Because it’s National Day, we celebrate all things Singapore with a list of 10 things only Singaporeans will understand.
#1: The need to conform to rules
We’re a law-abiding bunch, we can’t deny that. Even those of us with a rebellious streak will think twice about dropping any rubbish nonchalantly on the floor, no matter how small it is – then not do it.
Not only do we not want to get fined (you never know who’s watching!), we also don’t want to mess up our oh-so-pretty streets. I mean, have you seen the litter in other countries? We also feel slightly guilty just popping a mint while on the MRT, even if that’s not strictly ‘eating or drinking’.
#2: Calling everyone ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’
From the hawker to the taxi driver to the cleaning lady in your office, everyone older than us is referred to as ‘aunty’ or ‘uncle’. Our foreign friends are often confused by this – surely we can’t be related to so many people? And this endearing term crosses all races and age groups too, from when you’re a child to, well, hmm…when do we stop calling others ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’, exactly?
We’ll just keep doing it until someone stops us or, more likely, just stares at us (that’s a very Singaporean trait too!).
The weather here usually ranges between “aiyoh, so hot!” and “wah lau, every day rain!”. Whether it’s hot, wet, hazy or hasn’t rained in ages, we seem to find something to complain about.
Actually, it seems we love complaining about ANYTHING. From the traffic to the cost of practically everything to the fact that “there’s nothing to do”, complaining has become somewhat of a national pastime.
#4: We love bargains
Forget L-O-V-E, our favourite four-letter word is S-A-L-E. Don’t get us wrong, we want to be loved too but seeing a ‘sale’ sign gives us googly eyes and butterflies in our stomach.
Plus, there’s an ‘aunty’ in all of us, who loves irresistible ‘2 for the price of 1’ bargains, even if it’s on something as mundane as washing powder.
#5: ‘Choping’ our seats
We see it at hawker centres or food courts all the time – tissue packets on empty tables or chairs and everyone walks around them, giving them the ‘respect’ we know they deserve.
Only in Singapore does a packet of tissue hold such power. This is our way of ‘choping’ or reserving our seats. Sometimes, umbrellas are used instead, but no matter what the object, nobody messes with it.
#6: House parties are a big deal
So your parents are away? Let’s have a party! In a country where most of us live with our parents until we’re married, the idea of having the house to ourselves is a very big deal.
House parties are a rarity so when we get the chance to have one, we sure relish it.
#7: Feeling super safe
You know how we can go to a cafe, leave our handbag at the table, go to the counter to place our order and get back to the table with our bag still there?
There are not many countries where we can do this so we certainly appreciate it. And the fact that taking the last train home or a taxi at 2am doesn’t come with any scary safety concerns is something that’s quite uniquely Singaporean too.
Probably the most unique language in the world, it’s definitely something only Singaporeans will understand – literally! The mishmash of English and a number of other local languages (Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Tamil…just to name a few) might sound funny to foreigners but it’s something we’re truly proud of.
After all, we love our food mixed – ‘rojak’, anyone? – so why not our language too?
#9: Shopping and eating at anytime
Our little red dot is constantly buzzing and two of our favourite hobbies are undoubtedly shopping and eating. While those are not exactly unique activities, the fact that we can enjoy them pretty much any time of the day is.
We scoff at the idea of late-night shopping in other cities – after all, we can shop at night any day here. And, as for eating, it’s not difficult at all to find 24-hour dining spots.
#10: First world problems
Singaporeans are #blessed to ‘suffer’ from #firstworldproblems. We can’t decide which food delivery service to use because there are so many. We get a headache choosing to be loyal to either Uber or Grab because we want to make the most out of our vouchers.
And we understand that complaining about waiting 15 minutes for a train is a real thing. What can we say, the ‘struggle’ is real in Singapore.