Why we love Singapore


Here are no less than 18 reasons out of the top of my mind why one could love Singapore so much 🙂 I tried not to sound too biased, but it’s actually difficult when you appreciate the place…

1. It’s never cold! You can wear light clothes and stop worrying about a coat or scarf.

2. The food is excellent everywhere. And the variety is extremely large.

3. Food stalls are opened all night !! You can have a bowl of noodle soup or roti prata at anytime of the day or night!!

4. And it’s cheap!! Snack on a Pau or Curry Puff for less than 2 S$.

5. It’s super safe. Cabs will never cheat you. You will never be scared on the streets, even alone at night.

6. Singapore is extremely clean. No dog poo, gum or litter on the streets!

7. Singapore is beautiful at night. Take the time to look at the skyline and lights around the Esplanade.

8. There is always something new to do! Try a new restaurant, check out the recently-opened mall you haven’t had the chance to see yet, or jump into a cab and explore less known areas of Singapore (like MacRitchie Reservoir, Pulau Ubin, East Coast Park…).

9. Bargains !! Instead of walking up and down Orchard Road wondering why things are so expensive, go to Chinatown or Bugis for bargains.

10. Transportation is super convenient. No strikes. No delays. The MRT network is rapidly expanding (the circle line is now complete!) and the bus system is very well designed. You can get around Singapore for a very cheap fare.

11. Cultural events in Singapore happen quite often. As an Asian hub, it has become a preferred location for artists or exhibitions going on a worldwide tour. Check out concert programs on the Esplanade for example, or the MOSAIC Music Festival. Coming up soon in Singapore, no less than Lady Gaga and John Butler Trio!!

12. Singapore attracts people from all around the world. It’s a great place to meet people from all walks of life, both local and foreigners, and gather feedback from various work and personal experiences.

13. Singapore is a wonderful starting point to start exploring South-East Asia. Jump onto a Tiger Airways or Jet Star plane and organise a cheap and short get-away in a neighbouring country.

14. According to The Economist, Singapore is the best place to do business in the world. Which means great growth and networking opportunities!!

15. Settling in Singapore is easy. You can get your Employment Pass in no time, do most of the necessary paperwork online, set up a phone line in your home in 30mn, get a credit card and open a bank account in less than an hour… Isn’t that the dream?

16. Singapore streets are green. Even on the busiest streets in town, there will always be well-cut trees and vegetation on the side. Helps you cope with the stress of crowds 🙂

17. Singapore’s air is not so polluted. Compared to other major cities in Asia, the air is quite clean, probably because its tall skyscrapers are not too close from one another, which helps the wind circulate.

18. Last but not least… It’s a wonderful blend of old and new… Old shophouses and colonial buildings VS sparkling new malls and modern skyscrapers. Take your pick !!

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How about you, why do you love Singapore ? 🙂

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See Singapore Pass


Did you ever wish to visit the whole of Singapore in just a few days, but didn’t really feel like spending too much on it? Here’s a perfect deal for you! The See Singapore Attractions Pass.

It’s a card which gives you free and unlimited access to attractions and discounts in famous AND off the beaten track places of Singapore. There are different packages available so you can pick the one which best suits your needs. Go check out their cool website to choose the best option for you.

And together with the card, you will be given a paper brochure with details of the offers you are entitled to. You can enter for free to museums, visit famous parks, take part to fun and interesting activities and even get discounts at participating restaurants and outlets!!

Among the various activities available on the pass, here are two personal favourites:

The Original Singapore Walks are a great way to discover more about Singapore’s history and less known anecdotes. You might think that walking in Singapore is very tiresome because of the heat, but it’s actually quite pleasant. But most of all, the tour guides are very knowledgeable and willing to share their passion on Singapore’s history.

– The National Orchid Garden is really worth it. It is located inside the Botanical Gardens and allows you to discover a large number of different orchids. I had no idea there were so many different types of orchid before I went there!! Did you know that most of them are actually hybrid varieties crossed by men? Click here for more information on Singapore’s gardens.

The best thing about the See Singapore Pass is that no matter which activity you decide to go for, you can be sure it will be a success. The pass provides you with free access to quality tours and museums, as well as interesting activities (a trail up in the tree, a flight in the air, or even a slide down a snowy path!!)…

It’s ideal if you want to cover most interesting places in Singapore in just a few days, and really perfect if you have relatives visiting you in Singapore too. Definitely my favourite sightseeing pass in Singapore!

CNY 2012 in Singapore


Chinese New Year (CNY) is coming up! Although it is officially on Monday 23rd Jan this year, celebrations in Singapore begin before hand. So why not take advantage of this week-end to see as much as you can?

CNY 2012 in Singapore will include :
– streets light up in Chinatown
– lanterns and light shows along Marina Bay Reservoir
– the Sentosa flower event to celebrate the upcoming Spring
– the Chingay Parade on Feb 3rd where there will be dragon shows
– music, theatre and play performances all around time
– and of course many shopping bargains and commercial events…

You can start planning your outings here.

But for those of us who are not familiar with CNY, what is this celebration really about? Chinese New Year – also called the Spring Festival (春节— pronounced chun jie) – celebrates the end of one year (ie the Rabbit year) and the beginning of a new year (ie the Dragon year).

It is a tradition for Chinese people to gather with their families at this time of the year, enjoy good food and spend time together. In mainland China, people are usually allowed a full week of holiday, which is enough time for them to travel back home.

Homes are decorated with red paper cuttings, families thoroughly clean their houses to get rid of bad spirits and welcome good ones for the new year… and also, the elderly usually give out a little money in red envelopes to the younger members of the family. We call them 红包 (pronounced hong bao).

As this is a time of the year for peace, sharing love and gathering with your loved ones, I would like to sincerely wish you a very happy Chinese new year !!

恭喜发财
Gong Xi Fa Cai
Prosperous new year (literally : Wishing you a lot of money) 

新年快乐
Xin Nian Kuai Le
Happy New year !!

If you want to make a joke to your friends, you can tell them : 恭喜发财,红包拿来 !(pronounced : gong xi fa cai – hong bao na lai), which means “Happy New Year! Give me the red envelope!”.

English Translation:

In every avenue and street
From the mouth of everyone
The first sentence when we meet
is congratulations
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

The winter has come to an end
That’s really good news
The warm breeze of the spring
will wake up the earth
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

The heavy snow has melted
The plums are about to blossom
The endless dark night is over
We hear the crowing of a rooster
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

After so much difficulty
with so much discipline
So many hearts are looking forward
To the news of spring
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

Singapore Idol


Today I would like to share with you the Singaporean version of “American Idol”.

You know, the TV singing competition, where the winner gets to record a new album and be famous? The show was locally adapted in many countries, including in Singapore.

Sylvia Ratonel and Sezairi Sezali, finalists in the 2009 season. Sezairi Sezali won with 61% of votes.

3 seasons were broadcasted on Mediacorp, in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Candidates came from various backgrounds but were all determined to try their luck to break through in the competition. And as usual, the jury was delighted to make crisp comments on each of their performances!!

I must say the show was very popular!! But like in all “Idol” shows, some singers are really good, while others… well… just see for yourself…

I hope you can manage to understand their Singlish accent 🙂 What strikes me most is, as mentioned in the video, problems some candidates have with bad diction. Maybe this is one of the results of being part of a culturally and linguistically mixed-up environment!

And to end on a positive note, this one REALLY makes me laugh a lot !! It was during Singapore Idol‘s first season.

Acronyms in Singapore


Singaporeans simply LOVE acronyms!! If you live and/or work in Singapore, not a day goes by without hearing things like HDB, ECP, ERP, PAP, CTE, SBS… Get acquainted with the Singaporean lingo if you want to be part of it!

Most of the acronyms used in Singapore are abbreviations for expressways, but some of them refer to uniquely Singaporean systems (like ERP) or types of buildings (HDB)…. Also, organisations and companies in Singapore are very often referred to by their initials. They definitely are a must-know if you plan to work in Singapore. Here are the most commonly heard acronyms:

CTE : Central Expressway

ERP : Electronic Road Pricing. Refers to the fee that people must pay when they drive into the central area of Singapore during peak hours.

HDB : Housing Development Board. Refers to the Singapore Housing Authority, in charge of building public housing that are affordable and of good quality. Also refers to the flats or the buildings themselves.

MRT : Mass Rapid Transit. Refers to the train system in Singapore.

NTU : Nanyang Technology University. See other article on Singapore universities.

PAP : People’s Action Party. This is the political party which has been ruling in Singapore since 1963.

SIA : Singapore Airlines. What else? 🙂

But most of all, Singaporeans love to joke about acronyms… And I think some of them are really funny 🙂

ERP – Everyday Rob People? Everytime Raise Price?
PAP – Pay and Pay?
MRT – Mad Rush to Trains?
And my personal favourite : SENTOSA – So Expensive Nothing To See Already !!

Trust the Singaporeans to be creative with acronyms!! More jokes over here.

Can you speak Singlish meh?


If you have been to Singapore, you have definitely heard about “Singlish“. Actually, you might even have heard people “speak” Singlish in hawker centers.

What is Singlish? A Singaporean version of English. It’s not a proper language, but rather a slang used by very local people. Okay time to have a good laugh!! A few examples… just out of my head 🙂

walau! so stupid one i tell you! : I cannot believe he is so stupid…

oi ! wake up lah! : hey, please wake up!

alamak, so much work today, cannot tahan one loh! : I have too much work today, I really don’t know how to go about it

ayah! i told you already what! : can’t you remember what I tell you?

fly ly also can lor! : fried rice is also fine by me

Get the idea? Feel free to contribute with the funniest Singlish phrases you’ve heard so far 🙂 And if you have trouble imagining the Singaporean accent, take a look at this video… Get it now? It’s quite something isn’t it!!

Of course, it goes without saying that I am not encouraging you to speak Singlish, just knowing what it is is enough 🙂

Also, did you know that Singtel has developed an application so that the Siri system on iPhone 4S can recognise the Singapore accent? More information here.

And for those of you who are very familiar with Singlish, try out these Siri jokes, some of them are really funny!!

Singapore for Dummies


You wouldn’t believe the type of questions I sometimes get… so it’s time to set the answers straight !!

1. Is Singapore in China ?

No !! Although you might have seen the word « Singapore » often associated to the Chinese community, Singapore is definitely NOT in China. It is an island city-state at the Southern End of the Malaysian Peninsula.

2. What language do people speak in Singapore ? Singaporean ?

People who live in Singapore predominantly speak English. However, there are 4 official languages : English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Also, according to their origins, people usually speak a few different dialects (Hokkien, Teo Chew, Hainanese…). Oh, and people “speak” Singlish too ! But more on that later.

3. What is Singapore’s population ?

According to the 2010 census, there are around 5 million people in Singapore, including approximately 3,2 million Singaporean citizens, 500 000 Permanent Residents (PR), and 1,3 million non-residents (ie people who live, work and/or study in Singapore without being granted a permanent residency).

4. Are there buses and trains in Singapore ?

Of course !! Do you think Singapore is still a fishermen’s village? Taking the bus remains the most convenient way of moving around Singapore, and the train (MRT – Mass Rapid Transit) is developing fast, with new lines opening (the last part of the Circle Line opened on Oct 8th 2011).

5. Is it true that you are not allowed to chew gum in Singapore ?

Not really, you are allowed to chew gum on the streets. However, it is forbidden to sell chewing gum in Singapore (unless it is used for medical reasons). Try not to think of it as an unfair rule to prevent you from being free, but rather as any other rule created to keep the streets clean (like forbidding dog poo or spitting…!).