According to recent survey, the population of Singapore is made up of 60 percent Singaporeans and 40 percent foreigners. The country is steadily attracting tourists and investors, and a lot of them have chosen Singapore as a second, if not permanent home. What is it about the country that attracts people from all over the world, like butterflies to a field of honeysuckle?
At first glance, you’ll see all the obvious reasons: it’s very clean, crime-free, and the people are super polite. But underneath all that seemingly sterile perfectionism are more reasons to stay in Singapore. Here are all the reasons why expats love this country.
The food in Singapore is a major draw. There can’t be many places in the world where the food gets this good or varied. There is an eatery out there for every budget. From noodles at one hawker stall to fine dining at some of the top Western and Asian restaurants in the world, there really is something for everybody. A must-try dish is the chili crab, which is the unofficial national dish of this food-loving nation, with restaurants and coffee shops serving it by the ton nightly. Singaporeans are very passionate about their food, the same way the French are about their own cuisine, so it’s not unusual to find people debating where to get the best noodles or nasi lemak or kaya toast. The Internet is also dominated by food blogs where hungry netizens compare, argue, dissect, and swap foodie fodder.
A lot of food here reflects the influences of the multi-cultural city, and nearly every conceivable dish from every corner of the world has a home here, so expect to find Indian fare served side by side with Malaysian food. There’s also a lot of creativity when it comes to execution, and I’m not just talking about how they do things in a 5-star restaurant. Take, for instance, the carrot cake. It’s not the sweet cake slathered with cream cheese icing that we’re talking about. It’s a savory patty made from grated radish and rice flour, steamed and served with soy sauce and garlic. It’s surprisingly good. And you’re familiar with Milo, right? You know, that powdered chocolate drink that you mix into a glass of milk, and also that stuff that you hastily spoon into your mouth just because it tastes so good? Yes, that Milo. In Singapore, they have the Milo Dinosaur. It’s basically a cup of Milo, topped with a generous heaping spoonful of Milo powder. Then there’s the Milo Godzilla, wherein some genius added ice cream and whipped cream to the mix. It’s like a person tapped into someone’s childhood, and prettied it up with rainbows and unicorns. It’s that awesome.
The Educational System
The leaders of Singapore’s educational system saw the importance of math and science, and built a system almost exclusively around those two areas. The system is built to produce scientists, bankers, and mathematicians. Also, there’s a curriculum for kids as young as 18 months. They learn something new every day instead of being just minded. Before long, 4-year olds can do basic reading and writing in English and Mandarin. By secondary school, kids are allowed to choose their preferred subjects.
Young people are encouraged to do their best. Consider the fact that the youngest iPhone app developer is from Singapore. Nine year old Lim Deng Wen has written an iPhone app called Doodle Kids that allows you to paint on the iPhone using shapes composed of random colors and sizes. Now, he’s working on a new app called Invader Wars.
Singaporeans are voracious readers, as evidenced by the numerous public libraries in the city. There are 22 well-stocked public libraries scattered throughout the island. It’s so convenient to borrow and return books, plus the catalogue is huge and frequently updated with non-fiction titles, new chick lit or the novels on this month’s Amazon bestseller list. It’s a throwback to the days when one could just walk to the library to borrow a book for fun, and if you’re tired of swiping on the screen of your tablet, it’s easy to head over to the library and borrow Harry Potter or Gone Girl, whatever you prefer.
The Travel Opportunities
Singapore is a travel hub for Asia, with thousands of flights coming in and out of Changi Airport. Living in Singapore gives you the opportunity to have weekend breaks in exotic havens such as Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Flying to these countries are very cheap, with the likes of Air Asia and Tiger Air offering the bulk of the cheapest tickets.
Speaking of Changi Airport, a lot of expats appreciate the fact that this has been voted best airport by more magazines and organizations than anywhere else. You’ll see a lot of families plan vacations here, and students spend inordinate amounts of time studying and daydreaming within its four terminals. There’s a great transit hotel, an orchid garden complete with koi pond, free video games and movies 24 hours a day, and free wireless internet throughout the airport.
The Size of the City
Because the island is really small, it takes no more than two hours to get from one point to another on public transport. It’s easy to go to the nearest mall for some retail therapy, then do a foodie journey by leaving the city center for that off-the-beaten-path restaurant that you’ve been dying to try. It also helps that the MRT has added a lot of train stops, which makes it a breeze to get around Singapore.
Singapore is literally a garden city. Amidst the concrete jungle, there’s the Botanical Gardens, MacRitchie Reservoir, HortPark, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve—each of these places claiming myriad varieties of flora and fauna. Trees line every road, every pathway, and even the neighbors have some plants lined up outside their homes. And it’s not just the green façade, but Singapore is a champion of environmental initiatives, from the world’s largest CNG refueling station to its first Solar Greenlots for electric vehicles.
Singapore is also a global paragon of water conservation. Through sheer effort, the country has turned to desalination technologies to provide for thirsty citizens. The result is NeWater, which is non-potable wastewater filtered into highly purified water that can be used for industrial development, and yes, it’s perfectly safe to drink.
The country is also natural disaster-free. Owing to its geographic location, Singapore is sheltered from most of the natural disasters that afflict neighboring countries and the rest of the world.
The Complete Sense of Safety
Singapore has a crime rate that is really low, and ladies can take a stroll even in the wee hours of the morning without fear of getting mugged or raped. There are no national curfews, and people can enjoy shopping until 2AM without fear of being gunned down.
Healthcare in Singapore is world class, and it has one of the best health infrastructures in the world. In fact, various dignitaries and royals all over the world often stop by Singapore for checkups. The health care provision system is also one of the world’s best, and it’s so good, some even say that it rivals that of the Obamacare model.
Put all of that together with the attractions, natural beauty and modern delights of Singapore, and you’ve got a place that is hard say goodbye to. A vacation in this country may be great, but staying here on a day to day basis is even better.