I LOVE that my birthday is in August and I get to celebrate this birthday month with my birth country – Singapore!
This year is Singapore’s 50th birthday, so it is a pleasure for me to hop on this blog train and share what Singapore means to me. I am not going to do 50, just FIVE significant elements that endears Singapore to me.
1. Singapore Is A Safe Zone.
As a youth, Singapore was way too sheltered for my naïve, inexperienced self. I craved for excitement and adventure. These days, when I hear about women being raped in India, the random kidnapping of children in China, the senseless bombings in Thailand, natural calamity in Indonesia and gang crimes in Malaysia, I am thankful that I live in Singapore.
Today, this safety is a blessing, especially now that I have children.
Only in Singapore will I allow my children to take the public bus on their own, unsupervised at 8-years-old. Only in Singapore will I allow them the freedom to walk (independently) to the nearby gas-station to buy bread or milk; or to their friends’ homes for sleepovers and playdates with minimal supervision.
I am assured that when they grow up and go out with their friends at night, it will be safe for them to walk on Singapore streets or jog in the park at night and feel unafraid. Having said that, I think we should still advice the practical precautions – don’t venture to any dark, lonely places on your own; keep a lookout for your belongings etc. Singapore is not yet a utopia. I got mugged in Singapore a very long time ago (but that is a story I will share another time). Interestingly, a week after I was mugged, my IC, credit cards and house keys were anonymously mailed back to me. I never solve this considerate (?) mystery.
2. Singapore Is So Convenient, Practical and Expedient
I did not appreciate this growing up, but now that I am in charge of feeding the family, I am really grateful for the hawker centres / food courts in our neighbourhood. It is so easy to run out and “da-bao” (takeaway) when you have no time to cook or are sick of cooking. And there is so much variety – chicken rice, wanton mee, laksa, carrot cake, and an assortment of zhi-cha (home-cooked dishes).
During the period when I did not have a maid working for me, I was (still am) thankful for online grocery shopping. When my car broke down, I was thankful for the Automobile Association of Singapore who towed it or got it fixed within 24 hours. And let me get started on how convenient our public transport is. Sometimes, with the high COE, the ERPs and the parking fees, I think it is cheaper to hop into a cab than own a car. Might be faster too to take the bus and train during the peak school / office hours.
If you are in an inter-racial marriage, getting married in Singapore is no hassle at all. Just pop into the Registry of Marriage (ROM) and get hitched. No questions asked. If you want to start a business, register online at ACRA and start making money. Easy-peasy.
When I return from my pleasure or business trips, Changi Airport welcomes home its citizens with their enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS). No queues. LOVE it!!
3. Singapore Is About Abundance and Diversity
Ok, this is just a fancy title that says that we have a lot of choices here in Singapore.
You are having a baby? Do you want to give birth in a private, public, or women’s hospital?
Looking for a preschool? What preschool program do you want to enrol your child in? Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf Steiner, Highscope Method, Research/Inquiry-based, Play-based Curriculum or Theory of Multiple Intelligences?
Want to know where to take your kids out for the day in Singapore? According to Daddy Blogger, Kelvin Ang’s new book, Got Kids Go Where?, there are 500 things to do with kids in Singapore! (CLICK here for a review and where to get the book.)
We are a nation of people who love to eat and shop. There is a wealth of restaurants with cuisine from all over the world on our tiny red dot of an island (yay for the foodies!). And despite the high rental and popularity of online shopping, Singapore continues to build more shopping malls and fill it with the same retail brands (yawn).
Seriously, if you are looking for anything or services, you will find a plethora of choices to pick from. And if you find a gap, start a business and you will soon see the choices mushroom up after you. That’s the way Singapore rolls.
4. Singapore Is A Haven To Raise Children
So, I have mentioned that Singapore is safe, convenient and abundant. Adding on to these reasons are the greenery (thank you LKY for planting the trees and making this a Garden City), and the quality local education (sure, it is demanding, but it gives our children a very good head start for their academic career) that makes this country so ideal to raise our children.
Even the expats who arrive in Singapore due to work or followed their spouses here recognize that Singapore is a great place to start a family and many have decided to make this home. Ask any American, European or Australian expat who became PRs or nationalized Singaporeans and they will freely share that Singapore offers one of the best taxation schemes in the world – another major attraction to stay and raise their family here.
Another plus point is that in Singapore, I can inculcate in my children the Asian values that is inherent in their Chinese and Indian heritage while adopting the best practices of the Western parenting techniques — best of both worlds.
5. Singapore Is My Portal
“To the young and the not too old, I say, look at the horizon, follow that rainbow. GO RIDE IT.”
~ Mr. Lee Kuan Yew
I love that we could travel the globe, explore the realm beyond the Little Red Dot and still come home to our cosy little spot on earth.
Singapore is always going to be a Homebase for me and my children. I grew up here. My family and friends are here. My kids’ childhood are here. And I hope to retire here one day (it’s the convenience and the warm weather). Work and life may take my children and family overseas, but I like the idea that I can follow the rainbow, ride it to wherever and still return HOME – and that is what Singapore means to me.
Happy Birthday Singapore!
May you continue to bless and nurture all who reside on your sunny island!
This blog post is part of the Blog Train: What Singapore Means To Me initiated by mom blogger who blogs on Finally Mama. Click on the picture icon below to read what Singapore means to the other moms on this blog train.