Interesting Souvenirs to buy in Singapore
Most people travelling have between a few days to a few weeks to experience living and seeing the sights around a country they are visiting. When you get the privilege to live overseas for a longer period of time, you tend to skip the initial excitement of buying tacky souvenirs to remind you of your time. This is probably because life is much more than fridge magnets of tall skyscrapers, or a crummy handicraft that is actually mass produced.
Having lived here for approximately 16 months now, these are some of the things i’ve picked out that will definitely remind myself of the time I’ve had here.
1. The Coffee Shop cup
This is an enamel cup, of which have come back into fashion as of late. This simple cup has a print showing the different varieties of ‘kopi’ you can order. Kopi is what i call the local coffee here, as compared to the ‘ang moh’ coffee (i.e. western coffee) that other parts of the world drink. I was stubborn at first, sticking to only buying my fancy flat whites in the morning. However after realising how much money I was wasting ($5 for a flat white??), I’ve transitioned to exclusively drinking kopi c siu dai (coffee with evaporated milk and less sugar) every day for a measly $1.50.
This was purchased from a Carousell seller named thycupbearer for around $15 each. Thycupbearer – Home | Facebook
2. Postcards of Singapore
Of course postcards are always part of the deal for tourists. But how often can you get hand drawn postcards? Instead of picking up poor coloured postcards from Chinatown, I got these again on Carousell from a seller called Papercranes. Its a set of hand drawn cards of the following 8 locations that are synonymous with Singapore:
1. Boat Quay
2. Marina Bay
3. Old Supreme Court
5. St Andrews Cathedral
6. Raffles Hotel
7. Sri Mariamman Temple
8. Masjid Sultan Mosque
This was approx $14 for a set of 8 cards. https://shopee.sg/SINGAPORE-ON-PAPER(Set-of-8)-PART-I-i.359026.735294
And another beverage of choice during those afternoons where you need a hit. Teh or tea is basically breakfast tea with either condensed or evaporated milk. Similar to the one above, this shows you how to order your tea in Singapore at a local coffee shop.
I bought this in a shop called Independent Market located in VivoCity. They specialise in local Singaporean made souvenirs that are of the more trendy variety
4. Old Bank Notes
A colleague came into work one day with a mooncake tin full of old bank notes, all nicely bundled up like in a bank. His father had held onto these old notes, totalling around $14,000 over the years because he thought it would appreciate in value. Unfortunately they didn’t, and its near impossible to get more than face value on these notes. I’ve been told its because everyone had the same idea, and thus, held onto their notes hoping it would appreciate, which caused an oversupply in old bank notes.
My colleague was nice enough to sell these to me at face value, so I couldn’t resist. The notes stand out because they look like fake monopoly money, and I love the cartoony feel to them.
I did have a look on Carousell, and these can be had at a small $2 premium per note if you really want them.
5. Ang Moh Coffee Postcard
This was bought from a Carousell seller called sassyshimi. Its hand drawn which adds to the charm of the product.
Another drink related souvenir, but this one in the opposite fashion. This stands out to me because it reminds me that I am no longer the local, i am the foreigner (despite generally blending in until i start to speak).
A flat white, latte, cap, or long black is what i consider ‘coffee’. But to people in other countries, that is not what they consider coffee. In Singapore, coffee is Kopi, and only Kopi. Everything else is ‘ang moh’ coffee, or western coffee. Ang moh is hokkien term which refers to a white foreigner.
This postcard is a reminder that I’m the temporary visitor, and that I have family, friends, home and a lifestyle to go back to eventually.