Singaporeans are the citizens of Singapore, an island city-state and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. It is rather small being a small city-state having an area of 699 km2 being the reason for its dense population. Geographically, Singapore is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, south of the Malaysia state of Johor, and north of the Indonesia Riau Islands. It lies just 137 kilometres (miles) north of the Equator.
Singaporeans are quirky, intelligent, interesting and a very warm and friendly bunch of people to hang out with. Ask any tourist who has visited Singapore, and they will be quick to attest that the typical Singaporean is courteous, cordial and fun to be with!
QUIRKS OF A TYPICAL SINGAPOREAN
Singaporeans don’t speak English; rather, they speak Singlish!
Singlish is simply the localised form of “English” that Singaporeans use.
Despite the government’s efforts to promote the “Speak Good English” campaign in Singapore, Singlish remains a rich vernacular in its own right and, if language is the ultimate manifestation of a national identity, ought to be celebrated rather than discouraged. In this vein, the government is now redirecting its energies towards encouraging people to develop Singlish as a kind of spare accent; so that Singaporeans can speak good formal English at work or whenever they need to speak to a foreigner.
“Shop till you Drop” is a favorite phrase in Singapore.
Shopping is the second national obsession for Singaporeans – only after Food – and the retail onslaught will either seduce you instantly into maxing out your Credit Cards and emptying your wallet or send you screaming back to your Hotel room to shiver under the blankets.
The best items to pick up are Electronics (which can be cheaper here, but you need to shop carefully and arm yourself with the standard retail price before looking for bargains), Art and Antiques (unless you’re travelling on to other Southeast Asian countries) and Clothes. Books and CDs are also cheaper than in most Western countries.
Orchard Road is Singapore’s most famous Shopping district. It is to Singapore what Fifth Avenue is to New York and the Champs-Elysees is to Paris – one long line of shops, shopping malls and hotels with shopping arcades stretching from the top of the road at Dhoby Ghaut where Plaza Singapura stands to the end where Tanglin Road begins.
Singaporeans just simply love Good Food!!! – Eating is THE National Pastime, with Shopping coming in a distant second!
A typical Singaporean lives to eat and their preoccupation with culinary matters means that finding good food here – at the right price – presents no problems. Few places in the world can offer as diverse, exotic and thoroughly appealing a food scene as Singapore. The city has every imaginable cuisine, for every imaginable budget.
After all, Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-cultural society. It is not surprising therefore that the favourite local Food comprise the melting pots of the richness, tastes and peculiarities of each unique culture. Singapore is a cornucopia of different Cuisines and the variety of dishes available is enough to keep one eating all the time. Whether you fancy haute cuisine, ethnic foods, vegetarian or spicy Local Dishes, you are sure to find many great Food choices.
“Kiasu”, a Hokkien word meaning “afraid to lose”, entered Singapore’s popular lexicon via the Mr Kiasu cartoon character, whose philosophies include: Always must win; Everything also must grab; Jump queue; Keep coming back for more; Look for discounts; Never mind what they think; Rushing and pushing wins the race; and Winner takes it all! all! all!
Other Noteworthy Characteristics
Among others, Singaporeans are known to be extremely hardworking; they clock long hours each day, and sometimes even into the weekends. They are also very Business-Minded, particularly the Chinese.
Singaporeans are also known to be deliberately late at Chinese Wedding Dinners, something that should be rectified. The younger generation are starting to change, and at times, the start-time of the wedding dinner is brought forward just to accommodate this cultural quirk.
Many Singaporeans wear spectacles from a very young age, probably a result of too much television and reading of books at near range. For the adults, you will note an increasing number of them without spectacles – the wonders of contact lenses, or even Lasik surgery!
Last but not least, a typical Singaporean hates to travel for long distances. It is common to hear of complaints that they have been on the public transport for an hour to get from one place to another! Maybe they are spoiled, but another way of looking at this is that time is a very precious commodity for a Singaporean, particularly if you consider their very hectic daily schedules and the fast pace of life and rat-race in this country.
The above is probably an over-generalisation of Singaporeans, usually good just only for a laugh! In general, you can’t help but like a Singaporean for their many wonderful and quirky attributes – honest, sincere, friendly, warm, fun-loving, bubbly and genuine.