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A to Z: A Guide To Describing Singaporeans without slamming them

A to Z: A Guide To Describing Singaporeans 


View the Guide to Describing Singaporeans as how it was first originally published on

That’s it. There’s just too many negative descriptions of Singaporeans in recent times and I can’t stand it. ‘Misery city’, ‘unhappy’ and ’emotionless’ are just some of the more popular terms used by people these days. In all honesty, there’s definitely more to us than that!  

That is why we’ve compiled the ultimate list of words that you can use to describe Singaporeans. We hope that this would come in handy when someone asks you what Singaporeans are like. Instead of going “errr…I don’t know leh”, try using some of these words. They’re sure to come in handy, and you won’t look like a blur sotong anymore!


1. Amiable


b2ap3_thumbnail_18_20140321-015200_1.jpgSource: Gordon Ramsay’s Twitter

You may not have random Singaporeans saying hello to you in the morning as you cycle down the street nor would you get Singaporeans enquiring if your dropped laptop is still working. But, you’d certainly get Singaporeans greeting their friendly neighbourhood kopitiam aunties and uncles.

You’d see them smiling at the cleaning aunty they see every day in school or in the office. In all honesty, Singaporeans are just shy. Once you start talking to them, you’d realise that we’re actually a friendly bunch.

When I was on a plane to Bali, this Singaporean man behind me started a conversation with the Dutch couple next to him. They didn’t stop talking throughout. I kinda wanted to tape up their mouths closed so I could sleep. At the end of the flight, they even managed to get a selfie together. How cute. 


2. Bilingual 


Most of us are effectively bilingual. No, I’m not talking about us being able to speak our mother tongue fluently. Who are we kidding? We pride ourselves in speaking English and Singlish. You cannot deny Singlish has made communication amongst Singaporeans easier. That’s not even the amazing part yet.

Most of us are able to code switch between the two and use them in appropriate settings. During meetings and presentations, we attempt to speak proper English but outside of that, you’d be sure to hear Singlish words being uttered like the ones written in our list of Singaporean slangs 



3. Concerned Citizens


Singaporeans are an extremely concerned bunch. We truly do care for the well-being of others so of course we wouldn’t want a fellow Singaporean’s eyes to be subjected to atrocities. Even if it’s not against the law or any party in general, we just want to be sure others won’t potentially feel offended. 

That is why someone called the police when a woman’s underboob is showing because of her costume. Precautions, you know. 



4. Daring


We may be a conservative society but that doesn’t mean we’re a bunch of coward. If you play Truth or Dare with us, it’s not like we’d choose truth all the time…right? 

Well, I can’t say that all of us are bold because truth is, most of us don’t want to show our true colours just because we don’t want to be judged in the eyes of society. I’m sure there are so many of us who are itching to break out of our comfort zone and do something wild and crazy in public. 


5. Efficient


Singaporeans love knowing the short cuts to life and maybe that’s why we’re an efficient bunch. We can always count on our handy smartphones to figure out the quickest route to take home. We’re always eager to learn an easier way to solving a problem.

I mean, c’mon, why take the long, hard route when there’s an easier and shorter way! We have that ingrained in our head. 



6. Fierce


Step aside Tyra Banks, we’ve got it covered. Seventy per cent of the time, Singaporeans will be nice to you. But if you decide to stir up trouble with us, you’re going to get it. Just like this Ah Lian, I’m sure most of you will remember her.



7. Go-Getters


Singaporeans are highly determined to be successful in whatever they’re doing. You can blame it on our competitive nature but nothing will stop us from getting what we want…like that Hello Kitty and Minion toy at McDonalds!


Source: SGAG

So many people queued overnight just to get their hands on those toys. Back in 2000, when the initial Hello Kitty “craze” started, fans got injured in fist fights. You’ve got to give them some sort of award for being that hardcore over Hello Kitty. 


8. Humorous


It’s a lie when they say Singaporeans don’t have a sense of humour. We’re obviously so funny, stop envying us. Even if we’re not the least bit funny, at least we try. Ultimately, it’s the thought that counts.   

C’mon. Just take a look at some of these memes.




Source: SGAG


9. Instinctive


-something offensive happens-


-something good happens-


Enough said. 



10. Jealous


“The grass is always greener on the other side.” 

That’s actually quite true considering the past drought that we had which made our grass look like this:

Source: straitstimes 

On another note, Singaporeans do get jealous of the things that other countries offer. We question why there’s no circus carnival here or why there’s hardly any online websites that has free shipping to Singapore. There’s ASOS but that’s not enough!

We’re jealous that other countries get to experience the four seasons but here, we have only two – the really hot and the really cold. 


11. Knowledgeable


Due to our nosy nature, we seem to know everything. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we become smart alecs and try to smoke our way through. We’ve been especially trained to do so in school, when we have to take a test we didn’t study for.  



12. Loyal 


If you’re a fan of KPOP, bands or anything at all, you’d be able to relate to this. When our favourite artist finally decides to fly over to Singapore to perform, you’d be sure to get Singaporeans who would sit in front of their computers half an hour before ticket sales start, casually refreshing the page every minute or so. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_17_20140320-085159_1.jpgSource: asiaone 

There’s no other way you can explain why Colour Run ticket sold out in less than 4 hours or why Taylor Swift tickets were being snagged up so quickly. Or KPOP fans queuing overnight just to get their hands on MBC Korean Wave tickets, only to have organisers cancel the event. But still, they remain hardcore fans. Dedication and loyalty right there people. 


13. Money-minded



So many people have said this before, and I’m afraid I have to agree. Considering the fact that we’re the most expensive city to live in the world, money does matter. More often that not, Singaporeans choose the practical and ‘safe’ way because they’re guaranteed a fixed income, even if this means they’ll have to do something they’re not really interested in. We rarely want to admit this though. 

There are undeniably those who stray away and follow their heart. They choose to do something they’re truly passionate in regardless of whether they’ll earn lots of money or not. I know. But, you can’t deny that majority of Singaporeans are in fact preoccupied with money. 


14. Nosy



We can’t run away from the fact that we’re nosy or kaypoh, as some people put it. We just need to know everything about anything! From the PSI index to the -insert exam here- top scorers to what cafes to visit…the list goes on and on! We excel in extracting information about trivial matters.

Let’s say you see a couple fighting in public. Singaporeans would naturally stick around because they want to link the pieces of the puzzle together. They want to get behind why the couple’s fighting and want to know if it’ll be resolved. That’s Singaporeans for you. 

But I guess being nosy helps us become more knowledgeable Singaporeans! 


15. Opinionated



Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions but that doesn’t mean everyone should voice them out. In our case, we tend to speak and share our thoughts before actually thinking it through. Most of the time, nothing harmful comes our way but if you’re unlucky, word will spread – your words. You may come under the radar for all the wrong reasons. You’ll gain supporters but you’ll have to endure the numerous criticisms thrown in your face.

It’s not a bad thing to be opinionated. You just have to know when to voice them out.  


16. Prudent


In my opinion, Singaporeans are THE most prudent people in the whole world. Since we’re knowledgeable people, we know where to source for the cheap stuff and that allows us to set aside more money for rainy days. Just check out our list of cheap places to shop for clothes in Singapore!

Oh, and of course, how could we ever give up the chance to get free stuff? Just recently, McDonalds held National Breakfast Day where over 100,000 McMuffins were given out for free. Being the ultimate go-getters, of course we’d queue for it! 

Nothing screams out to us more than “FREE” does. 



17. Quirky


Singaporeans have tons of unusual traits and mannerisms. You can’t deny that.

Who uses tissue packets to ‘chope’ seats at a hawker centre? Singaporeans.

b2ap3_thumbnail_23_20140321-030928_1.jpgSource: timeoutsingapore 

Who automatically queues for the MRT without being told to? Singaporeans.  


Who has so many ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’? Singaporeans. 


That’s right, we’re related to everyone. We call almost everybody aunty or uncle from the hawkers to the cleaners to our actual aunties and uncles. 


18. Resourceful


I’m sure none of you can forget the Haze that plagued our lives in the middle of 2013. Some of us were crossing our fingers, hoping that school would be suspended so that we would have more time to study for exams whereas others, just didn’t want to go back to school. I feel ya.

But in such dark times, Singaporeans have proven that they can be resourceful. When N95 masks sold out, we knew just the thing to do:

b2ap3_thumbnail_07_20140320-073427_1.jpgSource: youdonthavetoagree 


19. Social Media Savvy


I’m pretty glad that we’re not lagging behind in the social media scene. Just take a look around you in the train. I’m sure almost everybody is either checking their Facebook or scrolling through their Twitter and Instagram timeline.

Hey, even our ministers are joining in the fun! Just check out some of MP Baey Yam Keng’s selfies and PM Lee’s tweets! 




b2ap3_thumbnail_11.pngSource: Facebook / Instagram


20. Talented


I’ve met so many talented people, it’s ridiculous. There’s the natural born singers who can probably sing the Yellow Pages and it’d still sound nice. There’s the dancers who can move and groove to any beat. There’s those who can do both AND excel in some sport…and then there’s me. The one who watches them do their stuff while having a slice of pizza. 

Truthfully, there’s a lot of talent going around, it’s just a matter of whether those people want to showcase them or not. As long as you’re not like this girl:



21. Unique


There’s just something about Singaporeans that makes it easy to spot them overseas. It’s something about the way we move, the way we speak and the way we carry ourselves. I can’t quite put a finger on it but you can somehow tell if someone’s a Singaporean or not from far. I’m not the only one who thinks so right?



22. Vigilant



Singaporeans are constantly reminded to be vigilant. When you’re on the train platform, you’re constantly told by the overhead speaker to look out for suspicious looking articles. When you’re at the void deck, walls would be plastered with posters reminding you not to expose yourself online or borrow from loan sharks. 


23. Well Rounded



By that I mean, we have well rounded tummies from all the shiok food available in Singapore! From cheap hawker food to lovely cafe hideouts to Michelin starred restaurants, we’re a food haven. So you can’t expect us NOT to eat away our feelings right? 


24. Xenophilic or Xenophobic?


b2ap3_thumbnail_30.jpegSource: areshaonline 

Back in February 2013, there was a protest at Hong Lim Park over the White Paper that was passed in Parliament. As a result, Singaporeans have been labelled ‘xenophobic’. But, the real question is, are we really?

In the spur of the moment, maybe we pinpointed certain negative characteristics too quickly and again, they’re not representative of the whole population. Many sensible souls have come to realise the importance of foreign workers in helping boost our country’s economy. Some have even gone the extra mile to show their appreciation of the foreign workers.

b2ap3_thumbnail_foreign-worker.jpgSource: HWZ


Singapore, as a country, is also xenophilic in nature. We have all them tourist attractions to boot like Universal Studios Singapore. While immigration policies are tightening in response to the small protest, I don’t think we are a xenophobic society. 


25. Youthful


Singaporeans do this amazing thing where they usually look younger than their actual age. Maybe it’s the Asian genes or maybe we’re just really good at hiding our true self. 

But you know your parents are trying to stay youthful when they start having Twitter and Instagram accounts…and adding you on Snapchat. 



26. Zealous


When the time calls for it, you can expect Singaporeans to be enthusiastic. We may not be balls of energy like these guys:


But we sure know how to put on a great show when the Royal Couple arrives in Queenstown:


Source: Channel News Asia’s Twitter 


Got other words to describe us?


So there you have it! You’ve just learnt 26 new ways to describe Singaporeans. If you have more to add, just share it in the comments below!