Singapore is the one place we visited where we said we would love to actually live here. I’ll tell you why. When you think of a place that you want to live in, what’s tops on your list? For me some of the top factors are: safety, weather, friendliness of the people, entertainment, dining, and education because we have kids.
In April 2013 we hopped on a plane to Singapore with our 6-month old son. As we approached Singapore Changi Airport we were handed immigration cards, which is common, entering a foreign country. What was different is what we noticed on the back of the card. WARNING DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW
That’s when we realized this was a no nonsense country. Singapore always ranks among the safest countries in the world. In fact, the laws are so strict, there is little room for misbehavior. We picked up a T shirt that said “Singapore is a fine country”. You can get fined for littering, chewing gum, graffiti, jay walking, spitting and feeding pigeons. This makes for a very clean city, with a respectful population. In dealing with the people (who all speak English), we got a really good vibe. People were friendly and had a surprising sense of humor. We had a taxi driver who rambled about how he loved American movies especially his favorite Pretty Woman. His re-enactment of Julia Roberts in the shopping scene was hilarious!
We like to call Singapore the smartest country in the world. Everything seemed to run smoothly and orderly without flaw. We were convinced of how smart the country was when we visited Gardens by the Bay. This park has man-made trees that act in the same manner as real trees in terms of taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. There is also a section of the park where there’s an indoor exhibit that mimics the environment that creates a waterfall and there’s an actual waterfall! So we thought, wow! the schools here must be amazing. PISA (program for international student assessment) tests students all over the world and ranks countries based on the results. In the latest results (2015), Singapore was tops in math, Reading and science!
One of the areas we stayed in was a residential area. Every morning, we saw people of ALL ages out jogging or meditating outdoors. We loved how active people were and the weather allowed for outdoor activities. The city was very green as there are random thunderstorms. We got caught in one that lasted 45 minutes. Then the sun came back out as if nothing had happened. The dining options were also world-class. The hawker food stalls are basically street food, but a cleaner, more regulated version. (More on dining in part 2)
Growing up in Los Angeles, we’ve learned to appreciate and love diversity. Singapore locals are a mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay people. This means you have influences from those cultures, as well as Arab culture being that about 15% of population is Muslim. In fact Arab street is where you find the grand Masjid Sultan. We had one of my most memorable meals across the street from the mosque at a restaurant called Zam Zam Restaurant. Imagine the dining experiences with an Arab, Indian and Chinese influence! I’ll talk about the food in detail in part 2.
And if you ever get bored, guess what? Bali, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Brunei are all less than a 4-hour flight away. We stayed in Singapore for only 3 days then hopped on a train for a 6-hour trip north to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If someone offers us jobs in Singapore we would probably be on the next flight there.
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