Often, Singaporeans will ask "how do you find Singapore" (meaning, do you like it?)- and there's kind of an expectation for that question to be met with complaints- too hot, too crowded, whatever. And even when they do anticipate your approval, they think it's going to be for the shopping. Sorry, that's not what we love about Singapore. Anyway, so to me, this list is kind of something to give back, hopefully for those that don't love their country so much to take a bit of pride- of course we could make a list of things we won't miss, but you can read those somewhere else. Here we're going to focus on the good things.
And so, in no particular order, here are the things:
1) Fresh orange + carrot juice mix at Houseman for $1.20
2) public transit that works quite well.
3) ability to order cab by SMS, iPhone app- has been around a long time
4) great prepaid cell phone plans
5) one season of clothes -always a pretty safe guess on weather.
6) it rains a lot. Sometimes this means extra concern - but I never carry umbrella unless already raining, and I very rarely have been inconvenienced much by it. The rain is pleasant and cooling.
7) awesome thunder. really really loud.
8) fantastic airport
9) easy access to so many places
12) dragon fruit
13) public library Toa Payoh
14) park connector
15) macritchie reservoir
16) taxes! this table explains. For instance, if you make $60k- you pay $550 on first $40k, then 7% on the next 20k- total 1950, which is 3.25% total. how can? Furthermore, they make it stupid easy. There are no deductions or dependents or any of that crap- basically you just get a bill and you pay it! This is top 10 on the best things.
17) government spending on science- this is why I'm here. This article says the government spent 6.5 billion on research in 2010, or 2% GDP.
18) my soccer team
19) the man at the furniture shop that always said hi
20) the hong kong ice cream man
21) the man that I would pass every morning doing his stretches
22) the flower stall and the lady that knew me
23) the contact lens glasses shop and nice man that remembered us and always complimented Alli on her irises
24) Steven of peranakan food fame
25) Clarke quay
26) a homebrew shop that delivers
27) the homebrew club
28) pretty reasonable iPhone 4 pricing
29) east coast park
30) sentosa- beach you can get to by public transit.
31) colonial architecture
32) karun guni
33) tailors and cobblers and key makers
35) taxi drivers who are dying to expound on miracle diets, government events, tiger woods, Obama...
36) little india
37) Arab quarter
38) religious respect
39) public restrooms - people that know me know I like those around. Singapore does a pretty good job of one always being nearby- although there is inverse logic in that the free ones are clean and nice, and the pay ones are dirty and gross. Still, they are there, which is much more than you can say for some places.
40) lizards, not cockroaches (almost always)
41) Homebrew festival
42) practically non-existent crime
43) no gun problems
44) good healthcare- Alli and I have both had a bit of medical intervention here, and it's gone well both times. Not to get into the much larger debate about government provided vs other methods, but Singapore usually comes out at the top of international ratings here.
45) chicken rice
46) generally cheap local food
47) people are very kind and supportive of public baby feeding
48) our church
50) botanic gardens
51) Brussels sprouts (restaurant at Robertson Quay)
52) wet markets- crazy but fun
53) the automated system at the airport that scans your passport
54) how ridiculously easy it is to get into the airport and only later go through real security when entering your gate.
55) fresh coconuts
57) well designed centers around mrt stations to make things feel less crowded than they are
58) lots of greenery, old growth trees
59) general cleanliness
60) public holidays that account for many religions
61) generally high number of holidays compared to US
62) no "democrat"/"republican" typical rhetoric, though of course there is always politics, at least it's a different flavor
63) highlighter birds
64) fast internets
65) 12 gb phone data plans - way more than I can manage to use.
66) yong tau foo
67) island creamery
69) queen and mangosteen
70) oosters (restaurant with good Belgian beer and moules frites)
71) dr pepper isn't unheard of
72) movie theatre online booking with seat selection by credit card - that actually hasn't worked for us while here, because we never got a local credit card, but the idea is gold.
73) scuba diving trip that leaves on a boat from changi jetty
74) public bus to Malaysia
75) kind neighbors that bring new moms subway every day, give away old toys, buy new clothes, and sew pillows for new babies
76) beef rendang
77) marina barrage
78) ice kacang in Chinatown
79) bubor cha cha
80) neighborhood cats (I miss Sylvester)
81) fighting about Bali water
82) fresh lemongrass
83) chili crab
84) bamboo clams
85) colorful plastic $ of different sizes
86) squeaky baby shoes
87) crazy sweet breakfast pancakes (like at the toa payoh wet market)
88) the way you check out books from library (place them in a stack at a kiosk and it scans em all at once, and you walk away. magic)
89) balls of joy
92) the lady on the bus who helped with arranging nursing cover and putting blanket on Hamish
93) fresh mangoes
94) easy 2 minute walk to the grocery store (Toa Payoh) - actually 3 different grocery stores
95) people were very good about giving up seats in mrt to pregnant cute lady
96) the lady at the Vietnamese baguette place that called Hamish the banh mi chicken baby
97) the Tai chi circle in afternoons
98) nursing rooms
99) banana prata
100) all of the overconfident aunties that incorrectly forecast Hamish's gender
101) pure gym
102) cheap melamine foam (magic eraser)
103) resident tourist
105) highlander coffee
106) $10 express haircuts and the amazing hair vacuum that is worth $20 alone
109) "can lah"
110) our friends! of course this is really number one. save the best for last.
Happy National Night Singapore. You know what to do...