Monday, February 3

The 5 Worst Things About Singapore

Despite having a great 8 months working and living in Singapore, like any where in the world, it isn't perfect. Here are the worst aspects of Singapore that I encountered.

5. The weather

Impromptu rain storms force those without umbrellas into cover, or be soaked within seconds!

Singapore hovers around 28 degrees Celsius all year round. There are no seasons as such. Doesn't sound too bad right? Singapore is extremely humid and if you merely walk a few meters outdoors, you'll find yourself breaking into a sweat. Air con or fans are a must in day time and even into the evening. Exacerbating this issue is the temperamentality of the weather. Its not uncommon for the day to start out sunny, have a tropical rain storm around lunch, ending with the sun returning in the afternoon. It makes planning out door activities  hard; want to sun bathe and swim at the beach? Better pray to the weather Gods that there will be no clouds to be seen.

4. Hidden racism

It happens, but it's rare to see races mixing.

Singapore has a thinly veiled racist culture which may not be obvious as a Westerner. Many Chinese look down on the Indian and Malay populations. Its not uncommon to hear otherwise sensible Singaporeans describe Indians as 'lazy', 'rude' or 'all talk'. Racial groups generally stick to their own and don't intermingle. Despite Singapore's insistence on one country, there are clearly some subtle and not so subtle divisions.

3. No privacy or space

This is  a relatively quiet day at Bugis.

Singapore is a country of 5 million people, in an area of 700 km². It has one of the highest population densities in the world. Tenements and apartments are everywhere and only the wealthy can afford a house with a garden. Day, or night, the streets and roads are busy. The persistent hustle and bustle of the city is hard to get away from, even the Singapore Botanic Gardens is surrounded by the sounds of traffic. Trying to get away from it all and be alone with a loved one can be challenging.

2. Materialistic culture

Christmas in Singapore at one of the indistinguishable malls.

The rat race in Singapore is the worst I've ever seen. People are eager for recognition, money and prestige. Nice car, nice job, nice clothes, nice house are all paramount. Ridiculous work hours are standard, if not encouraged. Singaporeans seem to rush around and its rare to find somebody that appreciates the now. Shopping malls with all the big name international brands dominate the country. In general this is not a country of laid back, easy going people.

1. A country in a day

You could go worse than the Straits Times.

Singapore is a tiny, developed (over?) country with almost no unique geography, natural beauty or out door activities. There are no mountains to climb, no jungles to explore and the only beaches are artificial. As a result the entire country's attractions can be seen in the space of 3 days, and those which are worth seeing aren't particularly exciting. Once you've seen those attractions your options are limited. Either travel abroad for something more exotic, or enjoy the truly metropolitan lifestyle of eating and shopping.