Singaporeans are a well-travelled lot and exposure to foreign cultures during our travels often cause us to compare what we have back home to what these countries can potentially offer.
The grass always seems greener on the other side. It is only after living overseas for over a year that I have come to truly appreciate Singapore. Here are 6 reasons why I miss Singapore and am so happy to be back!
Let’s start with the basics. After traveling for a week (not to mention a year or more), it’s inevitable that we start craving for Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, Chwee Kuey or even just a simple plate of piping hot economic rice. Our hawker food is unrivalled in terms of taste, variety and quality. Plus, we have some of the best restaurants and cuisines in the world! In short, you’ll never get bored of food in Singapore. That probably also explains why many Singaporeans like me don’t even bother to cook. 😀
I miss speaking Singlish. Nobody else in the world understands our interesting blend of English, Chinese, Malay and dialects, but that is precisely what makes us unique.
Singlish has become our way of life and is an integral part of our national identity. I don’t know about you, but I always feel a sense of familiarity and comfort when I hear Singlish being spoken overseas. It literally warms my heart.
Ease of Taking Public Transport
We may complain about our train breakdowns, but you’ll be surprised that many developed countries face transport issues that are far worse than the delays and breakdowns that we are used to. Think train stations that may not even be open during the stipulated opening hours, buses that only arrive at one hour intervals or floods in train stations. Yup, I’ve experienced them all.
It’s really not funny when you are rushing to the airport and the train station employees refuse to start operating at the stipulated opening time. Or can you imagine having to wade through floodwaters just to get to a train station in a First World country? I really can’t decide which scenario is worse.
Well, I guess the choice would be clearer if everyone looks like this during a flood…
A meritocratic society is still rare in this day and age, which we often take for granted. In Singapore, both men and women are given equal opportunities to move up the social ladder. If you work hard and score well in school examinations or excel in activities such as sports, you’ll be duly recognised for your achievements and given opportunities to succeed. It’s hard to say the same when you enter the workforce because human emotions make performance assessment more subjective but then again, blatant corruption is not as common in our country as compared to many countries around the world.
Haven’t you heard about students paying to get into universities or to get good grades? Or even cops accepting bribes and turning a blind eye to crimes? It really is more common than we think it is, and you’ll only realise how deeply rooted this culture is when you have lived overseas for an extended period of time.
The recent foiled terrorist attack on our iconic landmark MBS was definitely unnerving, but aside from terror threats, you and I both know that Singapore remains one of the safest cities in the world. I hardly ever feel that my safety is compromised, even when I return home alone after midnight. We tend to take this for granted and it is only after I’ve lived abroad for a period of time (I’ve even had policemen knocking on my door on university campus asking if I knew anything about a sexual assault that happened the night before, omg) that I’ve come to truly appreciate how safe our city state is.
Racial and religious harmony is very strong in Singapore, and that’s one of the reasons why we feel safe in our country too. For instance, it’s sad to know that in many parts of the world, including some First World countries, Muslims are assumed to be security threats. It is without a doubt that ISIS has given Islam a bad name, but many Muslim leaders and organisations do not consider ISIS terrorists to be Muslims. Ignorance usually results in misconceptions and irrational fear, tearing the social fabric which took generations to weave. This, thankfully, is not something that we have to grapple with in comparison to many countries.
Besides these reasons, this is where my family and closest friends are. This is where I grew up in and everything about our garden city holds precious memories that I can’t bear to part with. As cliche as it may sound, home is where the heart is. Singapore is a place that I’m proud to call my home and I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be. Despite the annual haze situation.
Plus, don’t you agree that Singaporeans are some of the most humorous and creative people on earth?
This is home, truly.
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