I would like to take this opportunity in writing about my hometown, Singapore in my travel blog now in 2021 since we all cannot travel to anywhere. So why not write about my country. But my motivation to write this is not to tell you where to eat or where to go in Singapore. I am gonna debunk some assumptions that you might have read about our country before you come here for your vacation. I am writing these is because the assumptions do definitely bother me if not I will not care, and also I feel like as a local it is good to share facts. Like if for instance if I travel to your country, I would want you as a local to tell me the actual happenings of your lifestyle, where is the nicest place to eat (not just because it is a tourist spot) and many others. And furthermore, I feel like it is nicer to share information to anyone in the world to learn about each others' lifestyle and culture.
Also as a traveler, I feel like it is good for to know about the country we are travelling to. Because most of the time, our assumptions about the country comes from the articles we read, videos we watched, comments in social media etc. This is understandable because those information are the most convenient. As humans, we absorb information whatever that is convenient to find. I do that too most of the time. However, on the other hand, when I finally visited the place myself most assumptions are like the opposite of what I see and assume or what people say. Like for instance, when I visited Russia, I love that place and feel safe when I was there. The people in Moscow, Yakutsk and Oymyakon were so amazing, friendly, warmth, and helpful. It is the opposite of what I imagined because of what I read in the news. And when I visited Paris, I was told by some of my friends that the people there are not helpful and will be harsh when asked for directions. However, when I was there by myself and was lost, I went in to ask the staff in a small supermarket and he helped me even though he was speaking French. Same goes to the 2 ladies in an office when I was looking for a shop which is actually right in front of me. They were looking forward to help me instead.
And another reason I would like to debunk some assumptions about my country is because, 2 years ago, a friend from Canada visited Singapore for a 2 months internship. And her assumptions really surprised me. But the sentences she used to comment about my country were so familiarly bias like I have heard it before somewhere.
Such as "Oh I thought Singaporeans do not have driving license." (When, at that time we were at a traffic light, and Lavender street was jammed with cars and vehicles); and "I thought that you guys don't have many friends" (I was like hmmm, where did you get these information?); and "Oh I thought you guys are not that educated" (My reply was "I really think that you have to interact with more locals to get more information than relying on wherever you get that information"); and "I have never seen any good-looking people when I was in Singapore" (I was like pffftt what? How about your colleagues when you are doing your internship? When you walk around in Orchard, did you observe people? I have so many beautiful girlfriends and good-looking guys around. Seems like you have to look around next time you are here); and "Singaporean drivers are selfish and don't know how to drive properly" (My ex-colleagues and ex-boss used to say this when they were with me, and one day I replied, "Can you imagine this happens in a country with rules. Imagine how drivers are in those countries with no rules?" -- Yeah, sometimes when patience is at a limit, you have to be smart in your reply instead of ignoring or keeping quiet. Since then, they have no balls to tell me the same thing over and over again because I will use the comparison card.)
Debunking Assumptions about Singapore:
1. Zero Crime - Zero is crazily impossible for a country but we do have a low crime rate.
2. "Singaporean drivers are selfish or don't know how to drive." An ex-colleague vent this before to me, and I asked him "How do you know that guy is a Singaporean?" He replied, "Can see the person, what from the driver's seat." And I asked, "How can you know his citizenship is a Singaporean? Doesn't matterlah what race because you said to me Singaporean, right?.
4. "Those people who stays in HDB apartments are actually poor and they couldn't afford to buy private properties." Take note that all these sentences are exactly what people tell me directly not through a third-person.
5. "Singaporeans are not friendly and they don't know their neighbors." Before I continue, just so you know, I am always in social media like twitter, tumblr and tiktok. Which means I am connected to the people around the world and when you are talking about this for a reason to criticize Singaporeans, I would like to say that this is a common characteristics anywhere around the world.
6. "Singaporeans do not know how to speak English".
7. "Singaporeans do not like foreigners to work in Singapore. They think that the foreigners are stealing their jobs." This is like a common phrase I hear often from most people. Initially, my innocence thought was that it seems like we have a problem, but then I realized that this kind of problem is a global issue.
8. (I will add in more whenever I remember anymore of the conversations I had with people.)
Statistics by Singapore Ministry of Manpower, Jun 2020 (3.25m Singapore Citizens; 1.64m Non-Residents; 0.52m Permanent Residence)
Views of Central Singapore
Views of North-Central Singapore
Views of South Singapore
Views of West Singapore
Views of East Singapore