- June, 2017
In Singapore we live a very special life. We are a country, and state, and a city all in one. We are a trading hub for all of Asia. We are both westernized and not westernized.
We enjoy some amazing benefits but at the same time, some of those come with a cost. For example, many people notice how clean of a city we are when they first visit. They don’t see trash on the streets on graffiti on the brides.
It makes your day-to-day life very nice. However, it’s not without sacrifice. We have very strict laws made and enforced by our government that help achieve this way of life.
Like, these for example. We cannot feed pigeons in public. If we do, it’s a $500 fine. For feeding birds! And if we sell gum, we can go to jail. You can get a huge fine if you smuggle chewing gum into Singapore.
These laws are very extreme. You can see why the overall cleanliness is higher than most other places you visit.
Another big difference many people notice is that there are so many cultures. You can go into one food court and see food from a dozen countries and hear five different languages. In fact, most residents speak much more than one language. Spend a few hours in public and you will hear many of them.
You will almost definitely hear English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and a mix of all three. We have a large amount of Arabic speakers too, and you will hear the prayer calls from the many beautiful mosques.
To some visitors from other mixed countries, it’s not a big deal. But many visitors from less integrated places like Japan, it’s a lot to take in and can be overwhelming.
For being a fairly small place, the amount of variety from people, to food, language, and culture is amazing. It’s a bit of a paradox, as the very strict government somehow has created and allowed a very open and accepting culture.
Having these experiences since my youth makes me see the world a little differently than many people who did not grow up here. It’s easy for me to see the differences that more closed cultures have. It makes me see the differences that larger countries have and the problems they face due to their sizes, like the U.S.A. and China.
Looking out from this small but amazing part of the world, exploring different cultures, lifestyles, businesses, religions, and opinions is amazing. It allows for an open mind. Let’s explore the world together.
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