I can still vividly recall the moment I had set foot in Changi Airport. It was so surreal. I was excited to fulfil my dreams! Eight years had passed. Wow, just like that?! Looking back, I told myself, “I would only be here for 5 years”. But things didn’t happen as I originally planned it. It unfolded differently. I suppose it went on for the better.
There are so many things about the Little Red Dot that I am grateful about. There are so many facts and funny moments about Singapore that I miss and treasure. And here they are:
Living in Singapore
I was struggling to understand Singlish. Phone conversations were daunting as hell as I couldn’t even read lips. As I stayed longer, I managed to cope and started to speak in Singlish as it was easier and convenient to use. I remember a colleague who have told me on my few months in the company, he said ” I will give you one year – and your American accent will turn out to be Singlish”. True enough, I realized the only secret is to “copy the way they say it!” And you’re in! Where else can you find a place that you shouldn’t care about your grammar – so long as you can speak with mehs and lahs at the end of your sentences. Local folks will surely understand you. Aiyoh, it’s so easy lah!
I can get anything to eat at anytime of the day! Singapore’s hawker centre is among the most prominent and integral aspect of Singapore’s cultural heritage. How can I forget the very first experienced of having lunch in Bugis hawker centre. I had Chicken Rice – for the very first time. It was a friend who introduced me to the place. I told him, “I’m not comfortable eating here for a very obvious reason”. He just laughed and said, “What?!”. You will get use to eat. Start now! ” And that was the start indeed; I have embraced the convenience of eating at hawker centers.
The public transport and its ease of use. It is efficient that sometimes, even food delivery services use public transport to deliver food. Did you know that most of Singapore’s key attractions are within walking distance from MRT station? Taking bus and trains are very accessible and convenient to wheel chair users and the visually impaired, as well as families with strollers. Train operation hours are from 5.30am to about midnight daily and are usually extended during festive periods. The train frequency during peak hours of 7am to 9am is about 2 to 3 minutes and about 5 to 7 minutes during off-peak times. I am grateful because I wouldn’t have known that efficiency is possible until I came to Singapore. Oh, the luxury of world class public transport.By the way, it’s the cheapest and quickest mode of transportation in the country – because owning a car is another story!
Grounding and meditating every weekend in the park. Believe it or not, there’s as much greenery as concrete in this skyscraper- filled city. Singapore is best known for its stunning architecture, but the island is home to many beautiful parks and gardens as well. And before leaving Singapore, we made sure that we have visited all or most of them. (In the next blog I will post about our weekend adventures in Singapore national parks)
The People, community and friends. Singapore is a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-lingual country but this is the country where you can feel the remarkable tolerance for racial and religious differences. This is the country where I met people from different countries, religions and non-believers; from all walks of life — Government Officials, Public Listed Company Owners, CEOs, Directors, Bankers, Professionals to Skilled Workers, NGOs, Charity Groups, our CFC-Sg community and so on. This experienced taught me greatest life lessons which I am truly grateful.
I love window shopping. If you don’t have discipline and self-control you will always get tempted and go out of budget especially during The Great Singapore Sale. Everywhere you go there’s a Shopping Mall at almost every MRT stations.
Having tropical weather all year-round! I love waking up to good weather and being tanned all year long (as if mestiza); though there are rainy days, but imagine the idea that you can always soak up at the beach and enjoy! In addition to that, you have a peace of mind that this country doesn’t experience any storms or earthquakes.
Visiting my family more often. I can go back on holidays, weekends or emergencies anytime without hesitations. It’s 3.5 hours (by air) away from home. Apart from going home more often, there are so many places to explore over the weekend or holidays with budget airlines flying to neighboring tropical countries.
Safe environment. You can see cameras all over the place. Whether or not being monitored 24/7, the understanding is what matters. Not just because of the cameras but because of the government policies. I know, size is one of the few reasons – which means there’s nowhere the system doesn’t reach. I love how safe one feels in the country. You got nothing to fear about. Crime rates are the lowest in the world and rank as the world’s safety country to visit (2018).
My plan of five years has been already extended to another three years – and I am more than grateful for everything I have learned in those wonderful years. Someone said, “Never stop expanding your comfort zone. Even if you arrive at your stated goal it’s important to keep pushing those boundaries”. We believe that, getting out of our comfort zones means looking for new challenges. We saw an opportunity to go to Ireland and we went for it, and we’re here in two months now. Whew! Time really flies.
It has been a smooth ride by God’s grace, we felt that it was right decision though we always knew there would be obstacles. It’s not an overnight decision, but it’s a combination of planning, sheer determination and faith. We trust and surrender always to the Lord all our plans – because at the end of the day it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
It has been a wonderful eight years in the place where I used to call my second home. We will always love the excitement and buzz of exotic Singapore, but now, we wanted a slower pace of life and it was time for us to go – for better opportunities, new environment, new adventures, new community, new experiences, new friends and many more.