Why Singapore feels like home to me
Its getting close to a full 2 years of living in Singapore and by this time you are either dying to go back home, or surprisingly, its crept up and become your home unknowingly.
Singapore is such a transient place for most foreign workers though. Its a place to live temporarily to make a bit of money to send back home, or to save for something big (like a house). But while grinding through the days and sweating it out on the walk home, I’ve started to realise that this little red dot will always have a place in my heart as my second home.
So what are the things that make this place feel like home to me?
Airport Gantries at Changi Airport
The immigration queue at Changi for foreigners is very efficient. Sometimes i think the manual queue is quicker than the automated gates for locals. Nevertheless i still always go through the automated gates for various reasons. One, because I know one day i will have to go through the manual immigration queues like all the other temporary visitors. And two, because once you pass through the fingerprint scanner after the passport check, you get a delightful message saying “WELCOME HOME <<Name>>”. Ignore the fact that its in capital letters in ugly Times New Roman font on a Windows XP Embedded edition system, its just something super nice to remind you that you live in this wonderful country.
Being considered a ‘local’ for the purposes of the Standard Chartered Marathon
I’ve run many races in Singapore and one of the highlights is the Standard Chartered Marathon held in December each year. As part of the registration process you must indicate where you are from, because your country’s flag will appear on your bib *represent*. However despite where you are from, so long as you live in Singapore you get the “Local” treatment in terms of pricing.
Mind you, i’ve also gotten quite used to running in 27 degree celcius heat and handling it fine. The air is actually easier to take in compared to running in say, 18 degrees.
Ordering coffee like a local
Ordering your local coffee with so much confidence that the aunty or uncle asks you something as a follow up but in Mandarin. Its a mixed feeling!
However i am known as Kopi C Kosong in the mornings at my local fun toast coffee shop on the way to work. The service has slowed down here due to some turnover but I can’t help but keep going back to it because the aunty knows my order off by heart now.
Also, carrying coffee in a plastic bag makes it look way more legit. Theres no way you can hold a cup of boiling water like that without it anyway. Flat whites are so atas 🙂
Reserving tables like a boss
Leaving a laptop back on an empty seat at Starbucks, tissue packet at hawker centre, staff work pass at indoor food court table. Its all good, anything can be used to chope table when in Singapore. And its highly unlikely someone will nick your goods!
Saying things like “Can”, “Walaoeh”, or “by right” in day to day conversation
I didn’t think this would happen, but I’ve incorporated things like “Can” in my daily vocabulary at work. Its just a much more straight forward and understandable term for locals rather than long drawn out sentences in English.
I’ve also thrown in a few “walaoeh” here and there to express discomfort in a humorous way (translation: oh my god). Another unusual term thats caught on is “By Right” which is another way of saying “therefore” or “as a result.”
Its funny how these small things all start to grow on you after a while 😀