- The peculiarities of local Singaporean English, known as Singlish, that vary from standard British English.
- The astonishment of affordable and sumptuous street food offered at hawker centres.
- The unexpected high cost of owning a car in Singapore.
YouTube (@WanderlustWellman) shares that there are remarkable aspects of Singapore culture that can be shocking to foreigners.
The Language Puzzle: Unravelling Singlish
For a traveller, one’s first encounter with Singlish – the local Singaporean slang – can be bewildering.
Loaded with distinct phrases and unconventional grammar, this colloquial form of English is a unique blend of various languages, including Malay, Tamil, and different Chinese dialects.
Phrases like “lah,” “hor,” and “lor” cleverly appended at the end of sentences give statements a unique Singaporean twist.
Dining at Street Food Paradise: Hawker Centres
Another wonder of Singapore lies in the pots and pans at hawker centres.
Magnificent variety and affordability are the hallmarks of these open-air hubs, where one can relish a whole meal for just a few dollars.
Places like the Maxwell Food Centre, where you can dig into delicious Nonya Laksa or Chicken Rice, exemplify the best of Singapore’s culinary delights.
The Surprising Cost of Modern Motoring
What could potentially astound anyone visiting or planning to live in Singapore is the prohibitive cost of owning an automobile.
The price tag associated with an average mid-sized saloon can range from $100,000 to $150,000.
We’re talking about some serious dough here.
The root cause of such astronomical costs are steep taxes, import duties, and the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) that motorists need to acquire by bidding in monthly auctions.
The Unusual Ban: Chewing Gum
Surprises don’t end there.
In a striking deviation from the most parts of the world, chewing gum is unequivocally banned in Singapore.
Implemented in 1992 to curb vandalism and littering, the regulation keeps the city-state devoid of chewed gum on streets, buses or trains.
Domestic Helpers: A Day for themselves
It’s interesting to note the working conditions of domestic helpers in Singapore.
Most helpers are allowed just one day off each month to perform personal chores, socialise with their peers, or to remit money back home.
The minimal off-days for these important members of many Singaporean households is something that might raise eyebrows.
The love for Brands: Queues at Store Openings
Next on the list is the staggering sight of queue forming at the break of dawn outside high-end retail stores.
Lining up for hours, sometimes thousands in number, just to step foot in a newly opened store of brands like iPhone, H&M, or Uniqlo. It leaves one stunned.
This epitomises Singapore’s voracious appetite for the newest and the best in fashion and technology.
Culture of Restraint: Singaporeans Rarely Complain
The culture of patience and restraint, remaining tight-lipped even when there might be room for grievances, is something peculiar to Singapore.
Whether it’s about enduring prolonged queues or tolerating incorrect orders at food stalls, Singaporeans prefer to keep the peace, believing in preserving harmony rather than kicking up a fuss.
This can be a surprise, especially for those from societies where airing grievances is considered not just normal, but healthy.
In conclusion, Singapore brims with surprises, adds texture to travel experiences, and offers a fascinating blend of the unique and the wonderful.
If you’ve been to Singapore before, what shocked you the most on your first visit?
Share your experiences in the comments!