Things You’ll See in Singapore
Every country has its unique traditions and sights – vodka can be cheaper than water in Russia, and eating an octopus live is no biggie in Korea. But don’t forget Singapore has its own too! Where else in the world would you eat an ice-cream block sandwiched between bread? Or have playgrounds in the shape of a dragon?
You may wax lyrical to your overseas friends about all these amazing Singaporean things, but these are moments best experienced first-hand. And thanks to the Singapore Invites contest, you can now invite an overseas friend to Singapore… for FREE!
Just submit an invite via the Singapore Invites contest, and stand a chance to have not only their return airfare and accommodation, but also your ultimate Singapore experience together, fully paid for! After all, there’s no better way to share your one-of-a-kind local scenes with them than actually letting them see it for themselves.
Watch Diana and her best friend from Japan, Yuki, reunite in Singapore:
This list of 35 is only the beginning:
1. MRT commuters with wake-up call requests
Not everyone is angsty and unkind on public transport. Don’t worry about conking out on the train and missing your stop – just tell someone to wake you up.
Source “Please wake me up at Sengkang. Thank you. P.S. If you want to STOMP just STOMP, I’m too sleepy.”
Not a single damn was given that day.
2. Whereas some commuters just don’t want to be disturbed
Whoever said you don’t apply anything you learnt at school in real life lied – this industrial design graduate created a spiky vest to keep pushy MRT crowds away.
3. Businesses with a sense of humor…
4. …and the ones that overpromise
Source “Pancake hot hot, after eating, win jackpot!!!”
I’m not sure whether the Loh Jia Pancake will deliver what it promises tho. Someone share the good news!
5. Questionable shop names
Foreigners have a very different understanding of the word “wang” – you may or may not want to look the word up on UrbanDictionary. If the restaurant is as divine as its name promises, that’ll be quite something.
We still want an explanation nonetheless.
6. MRT puns that only locals will understand
We might have some accidental puns all around, but these are every bit intentional.
7. This Doraemon-themed taxi…
Imagine hailing a cab and having this pick you up:
A Doraemon taxi?! Is this real life?
If being in a taxi absolutely filled with all things Doraemon – decals, figurines, plushies, you name it – doesn’t lift your mood even in the worst of jams, I don’t know what will.
8. …and the strangest road signs
“Free umbrellas this way!”
… is what you wish it meant. Error 404: Free stuff not found.
The sign actually points to the area where cyclists and motorists can seek shelter from the wet weather.
9. Baffling math questions that shook the entire world
When is Cheryl’s birthday? And why is she such a tease?
The question that stumped Secondary 3 students taking the Singapore Schools Math Olympiad started as an innocent Facebook post, but was soon featured even in major newspapers such as the New York Times.
Did we just make a math question, of all things, go viral?
10. Even then, otters are still keen to enrol in our schools
You know Singapore’s education system is stellar when even otters are keen to enrol in our schools – Saint Andrew’s Junior College recently saw otters roaming around their campus grounds.
We hope you find the admissions office soon.
11. Celebrity chefs trying to perfect our local classics
Even Gordon Ramsay couldn’t win us over when he took on the Hawker Heroes Challenge recently, losing to our local hawkers at their own game.
12. Using tissue paper packets to call dibs on a table…
We’ve got a reservation system of our own in place: using tissue packets to chope seats, a law unsaid but understood.
13. …among other everyday things
How about using umbrellas to chope parking spots? Of course, as is mandatory, it got STOMPed.
14. An ice-cream sandwich with a special place in our hearts
Offer this to a tourist and they’d probably give you a dubious look – a block of ice cream sandwiched between a piece of multi-coloured bread?!
If only they knew.
Never mind that they’re not as fancy as the specialty Gelato shop along the street lined with hipster cafes – the ice cream uncle’s classic Mint Chocolate Chip or Raspberry Ripple tastes of simple, old-school bliss.
15. Kopi served in plastic bags
No Instagram-worthy takeaway cup, but in a plastic bag. You DO NOT want to forget a straw. Bless your soul if you do.
16. The perfect beverage for every indecisive Singaporean
Funny, because it was precisely frustrating conversations like these that prompted the birth of the pair of soft drinks: “Anything” containing a random carbonated drink such as cola, and “Whatever” containing a random non-carbonated drink such as flavoured teas.
“Eh, what you want to drink ah?”
“You say one ah!”
Although the fad eventually died out, it did spark people’s curiosity at one point – you probably once bought a can for novelty’s sake, and peeped at the ingredients to find out what drink the can contained.
17. LONG. QUEUES. FOR. EVERYTHING.
Spoilt for choice of what to eat at the food court? Join the longest queue – it’s the most accurate measure ever. See a snaking queue at a shop you’ve never heard of? Join anyway – must have good lobang!
18. A $126,000 McDonald’s Hello Kitty – SOLD!
And speaking of long queues, the McDonald’s Hello Kitty toys must be a heck of a good deal, with eager customers queueing from as early as the night before.
There’s some truth in that, though, what with a prized Black Hello Kitty being auctioned off on eBay with a winning bid of $126,000.
Pretty cute, but it’s between this Hello Kitty or a BTO flat downpayment.
19. Iced Milo served in beer towers
There’s Milo, which is divine in its own right, but then there’s Milo Dinosaur, which takes it to the next level.
And then someone out there decided that no cup is big enough to hold a satisfactory serving of Milo, and so the Beyonce of all Milos was born – the Milo Tower. Behold:
Milo is life.
20. Curry is both a staple in our McDonald’s meals…
Even a multinational company such as MacDonald’s boasts something that’s uniquely Singaporean: curry sauce. No McNugget binge is complete without it!
21. …and a Singaporean right that we fiercely protect
Don’t even ask us to “chill” about it.
22. HDB void decks with “built-in” chess mats
While the hip youngsters are cafe-hopping, HDB estates are where the uncles are at – engaged in intense games of chess on the chessboards carved onto the stone void deck tables, while other eager viewers observe the game.
You can demolish the kampongs, but you can’t kill the kampong spirit!
23. Netizens taking the role of Justice Bao
Remember Jover Chew? The dude from the mobile store in Sim Lim Square who attempted to scam a Vietnamese tourist, who resorted to kneeling down to beg for a refund?
Of course you do – after our righteous internet warriors reinstated justice through various means. Whoever said Singaporeans are cold and unfeeling?
24. Celebrating 50 years of independence with this infamous fish cake…
Amongst all the SG50 promotions, freebies, and special product launches, the most befitting of the hashtag #simisaialsoSG50 is undoubtedly the notorious SG50 fishcakes.
Fun fact: while many called this gimmicky product a scam for supposedly charging a higher price for less product given the “50” cut-outs, it’s actually more expensive because it’s premium grade fish cake, no less.
25. …and #SG50ShadesOfGrey
In light of our SG50 jubilee celebrations, the very timely movie release of Fifty Shades Of Grey inspired the trending hashtag #SG50ShadesOfGrey, satirizing the film with reference to all things Singaporean, from the MRT to NS boys.
Clearly, Singapore has its very own legion of budding creative writers.
26. But this guy definitely won SG50
27. We act like we don’t know the lyrics to our national anthem in school…
…only to shock the entire nation when a technical glitch occurs.
28. Our unwavering allegiance to our respective districts
Whether it’s all in the name of good fun or zealous patriotism, Easties and Westies are constantly zealous in advocating the allure of their hood.
And then there’s Sengkang, fighting a losing battle. Is that even Singapore anymore…?
But really, each neighborhood is beautiful in its own right, from Katong’s Peranakan charm to Buona Vista’s futuristic vibes.
29. And proud neighborhoods with their own theme songs
When you have no comeback for a dig made at you, burst into song.
30. Tourist attractions that should be rated M18
We don’t have awe-inspiring mountains or cathedrals dating back centuries, but meh, they’re basic anyway.
Instead, we have the ten courts of hell – I’m talking Haw Par Villa.
Think sculptures of people thrown onto a hill of knives or thrown into a pool of blood and drowned. Or don’t. That’s a morbidly strange thing to imagine. Just visit and see for yourself.
31. Mascots for EVERYTHING
POSB gets a mascot! NEWater gets a mascot! Courtesy gets a mascot! Everybody gets a mascot! Oprah would be proud.
32. Though one of them had just tendered his resignation…
Singa the Courtesy Lion must be no stranger to us, after his years of dedicated service to Singapore Kindness Movement.
But he tendered his resignation in 2013 with an open letter to Singapore and there was no beating about the bush: “I quit.”
Mascots have feelings too, ok?
33. …and others are inspired by commuters like you and I
Are you Bag-Down Benny, Move-In Martin, Give-Way Glenda, Stand-Up Stacey or Hush-Hush Hannah? Also, why was I able to intuitively type that out without stopping to think at all?
Don’t answer that.
34. Free entertainment onboard
Amusing moments on the MRT always find their way onto cyberspace, from commuters singing their heart out to hopeful ballerinas practicing their art.
You know, just another day of commute.
42. Our kampung spirit in times of need…
This year saw the unfortunate passing of our Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and Singaporeans lined the streets to bid him a final farewell.
From offering food and free drinks to queuers to holding out umbrellas to shelter soldiers on duty, this misfortune ignited a kampung spirit amongst Singaporeans that we had thought was long gone.
35. …showing no matter where you come from, it’s home to all of us.
Yes, that is a foreign worker risking his life to save a baby.
At the end of the day, this is home and the same things make us tick.
Show a friend Your Singapore
Update: This constestis now over.
What may seem like normal everyday occurrences to you might blow a visitor’s mind – who ever thought of making ice cream in bread a thing?! And there is no better time than now, to invite your friends here to experience everyday Singapore life like a local!
All you have to do is submit a photo that represents a unique experience you’d like to share with your overseas friends. To increase your chances, be creative about it and let us know why this experience is meaningful to you and your guest. The Singapore Invites contest ends 6 December 2015, so wait no longer!
This article was brought to you by Singapore Tourism Board.