Today marks the 50th year of independence for Singapore. From a third world to a first world, it is undebatable that Singapore has come a long way.
The different generations of Singaporeans have developed a unique and distinct trait for themselves over the short span of 50 years. From the emergence of the new unofficial language – Singlish, to the kiasu-ness – scared to lose attitude, where you have to be first at everything and can’t lose out to anyone, to the kiasi-ness – scared to die attitude and kia fine-ness – scared of getting fined by the government, which is evoked by the strict set of laws we have in Singapore that threatens to fine everyone who commits even the smallest and unavailing law like selling bubble/chewing gum on the island.
I don’t know about other countries but I realise that Singaporeans have a unique trait and that’s our colloquial language, Singlish (Singapore’s English) which is basically a fusion of English with Mandarin, Cantonese Malay and a few Chinese dialects (Hokkien). As bizarre as it may sound, it is actually how Singaporeans communicate with each other. Though our neighbour, Malaysia have their Minglish (Malaysia’s English) that shares several terms and phrases as Singlish, it is still undoubtedly different in terms of our accent and pronounciation.
When I was in Perth, I could easily identify Singaporeans based on their accent. Singaporeans tend to end their sentences with a “drop” tone?? Our choice of words and sentence structure also differs from the usual English speakers around the world. Can’t think of any examples off the top of my head but there really is a difference.
Kiasuness, is honestly something that identifies a lot of Singaporeans. If there were to be a free gift session anywhere across the island, it’d be the best way to gather crowd because rest assure, EVERYONE will be there to grab the free gifts. You’d witness a queue outside the booth/venue starting from the night before. Even if the gift isn’t free, as long as there’s a demand for it, you’d see a queue.
Visit Singapore when McDonalds have their annual Hello Kitty sale and you will know what I’m talking about. Or when we’re having our Great Singapore Sales in June. Brace yourself though because you’ll be constantly caught in a human traffic jam with locals and tourists.
Oh and also at hawker centres, where people reserve their tables with a pack of tissue paper, while they get their food. So if there’s a pack of tissue paper on the table, no, you can’t take it, and the table is reserved.
Singapore is a great place to live in. First world country with little or no corruption that provides not only a world-class education, but also a first-rate transport system and an ever clean and green city. Even if you want to leave this island, fret not because we have an award-winning and literally the world’s best airport (third year consecutive and running, here’s why) for you to depart from.
As incredible and perfect it may be, there are definitely certain aspects that could be improved on. The education system which drives every student into a vortex where only the strongest, smartest and skilful succeed, leaving the others stressed out and lost. The heavy tax imposed on motor vehicles (245k SGD for an Audi Q5 vs 50k USD) in an attempt to reduce car ownership and to eventually, reduce traffic congestion. Not forgetting the stringent set of rules that people here have to live by or live in the fear of getting chased down by the police or government.
“My Singapore, my home.”
Singapore, you will always be a part of me and no matter where I decide to settle in the future, the cultural values I’ve learnt here will never be uprooted. Happy 50th birthday and may you continue to prosper and be blessed with many opportunities to thrive.