Before coming to Singapore I was told that it was a wonderful place, full of amazing food, unique shopping, and wonderful locals. Here is my honest look at what Singapore is really like.
The food: It goes without saying that the food is nothing like it is in Western countries. Where we might have cereals, toasts, eggs and fruit for breakfast, Singapore has chicken, curry and rices. If you are a lover of red meat, this is not the place for you. Sausage is always chicken sausage, bacon is always chicken bacon, and I didn’t see any steak on any menu. To a certain degree I expected that there would be no bacon, for cultural reasons, but what really surprised me was the absolute lack of any fruit and vegetables. As someone used to having fresh fruit and vegetables every day, I found it astonishing that Singapore has none. In fact, it was not until we had been here for four days that we stumbled upon a store selling fruit at all, and then it was pre cut into little take away cups. Weird. On day five we finally found a shop selling fruit, and bought a bag of Granny Smith apples, at two for $5! Overall I found the food bland and uninspiring, always the same at every restaurant: various forms of chicken, curry and rice. Perhaps it is different at a five star restaurant, but we didn’t try any. Overall, compared to Australia, France and London, I would rate the food at Singapore a 2 out of 5.
The locals: The majority of the locals are lovely and polite, but not at all helpful or embracing of anyone else, they are very ego centred. What I mean by that is that if you were to visit Australia, or London, and were standing in front of a train timetable looking at a map (for example), nine times out of ten someone will approach you and ask if you need help. While in Singapore I witnessed a very lost lady (Chinese maybe), at a bus stop asking locals for assistance by pointing to where she wanted to go on a map. One local told her to ask someone else, while others just ignored her. Eventually she just walked off, hopefully she was able to find what she was looking for. Another time I was on a tourist drop off and pick up attraction bus, when I man went to pay and the driver said he couldn’t change notes, the man needed the correct change. The man said he would go get change, and the driver said he can’t wait, he needs to leave on time, which is understandable, except this man had two physically disabled children with him and it was pouring with rain. Anyway, I told the man I could change his note, and together we managed to work out the local coins and he paid the fares. Compared to Australia, London and Paris, I give the Singapore locals a 3 out of 5.
It is very confronting to be an Australian in Singapore, and unless I was transitioning through to another destination, I would never voluntarily return. When I travel, I like to fully immerse myself in the local cultures and customs, and truly see the reality behind the tourism. What I found was uncomfortable. Singapore is crowded, poor, and regimented. Washing is strung up on lines between apartments, they have the death penalty, and if you touch or bump against someone on the subway you risk being caned. Singaporeans do exactly what they are told to do by their government, they have no voice of their own, and no freedom of thought. It may be easy to say that this is all they have known, so they don’t know what they are missing, however, as an Australian who is born knowing that I have the right to free speech and free thought and decisions, it is very hard to visit a country that is such a dictatorship. I don’t agree with, or support, anyone stifling or degrading others through fear and intimidation, and as such, would never consider supporting Singapore’s economy through visiting.