Spotlight On: Singapore

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If you’re planning on traveling to Singapore anytime soon, as with any location, you should do a little research before you go. There is a social cultural code that you may miss if you’re not paying attention. Here are some things you should know before you land:

 

 

1. ZIP IT


Each building, apartment, or home in Singapore has its own zip code; it’s sort of like a street address and zip code rolled into one. This is the number you’ll need to book a taxi or find a location in Google maps.

cafe singapore
Photo courtesy of Farrel Nobel

2. THE NAME GAME


Your cleaning lady is called “auntie,” while taxi drivers you address as “uncle.” These terms function similarly to our “ma’am” or “sir,” which are considered impolite in Singapore.

3. TALK THE TALK

Singlish, an English-Creole blend, can be heard throughout the country. Even if you choose not to speak it, at least make an effort to understand it. Sooner or later, it will come in handy!

singapore lingo people chatting
Photos courtesy of Annie Spratt and Sumeet Mishra

4. LEARN THEIR LINGO


Even though English is one of Singapore’s four official languages, the meanings of certain words may be different. Here are a few examples: Elevator = lift; garbage = rubbish; jam = traffic; petrol = gas

5. WALK THE LINE

Singapore is home to ‘hawker centres’, open-air food markets. When in doubt which stall to visit, look for long queues. If you don’t mind waiting, these will be the most popular among locals. 

market singapore
Photo courtesy of Lily Ivnatikk

singapore city street
Image courtesy of Lily Ivnatikk

6. GET TECHNICAL

These two apps will go a long way in helping you get around town: · SGBuses: This reliable app lists bus arrival times and routes. · ComfortDelGro: A taxi-booking app, similar to our Uber.

7. CONNECT ‘PORE

Make friends! This is the best thing I could have done. I’ve met a lot of cool people—both locals and fellow travelers—with whom I explored, ate, and discovered life in Singapore!