I Left My Heart in Singapore
Updated: Sep 7
When I first arrived in Singapore, I only brought with me an empty pocket but a heart full of hope. I wasn’t expecting that I would get a job let alone spend almost 10 years in this country.
Working in Singapore for 8 years really taught me a lot of things. It taught me to be tougher and resilient. I learned to defend myself from adversaries. It taught me that sometimes I must say no.
But having lived in Singapore really made me feel that I belonged there. Well, not technically, I know. But I collected a lot of unforgettable and fun memories which I just couldn’t set aside.
So why do I truly feel that a part of me has stayed in Singapore?
1. Talking Singlish. Yes, staying in Singapore has taught me to speak Singlish (it stands for Singapore English). How can you ever avoid the words “lah” or “lor” (whatever the spelling is), “mah”, “meh”, “is it?”, “can can”, “where got?” and many more. The truth is until now, I still can’t steer clear of these words. I truly love the Singlish lingo even though it’s not the proper way to speak English. I remember I was talking to my boss and she said something like “the sehvah doh”. It really took me a while to grasp what she was talking about. And when I did, I exclaimed, “Oh, the server door.” :)
2. Local Food and Delicacies. I haven’t been the daring type when it comes to food. But who can resist the food in Singapore? I was not a fan of spicy food back then. But when I tasted chicken rice for the first time, the only thing that gave flavor to it was the chili sauce. I remember a friend was visiting the country and I let her try the chicken rice. She complained that the chicken was bland. She just took the chili sauce for granted. :) There are still a lot to mention though – hokkien mee or fried prawn noodle (a favorite), oyster omelette, carrot cake, nasi lemak, laksa and the Indian nasi biryani. I totally didn’t like Indian food before, but a friend forced me to try it. I’m glad he did because it became one of my favorites.
3. Tourist Attractions. Would you believe that I have already been to Universal Studios Singapore many times? Yes, when friends and my family came over for a visit, I would gladly show them around. And no matter how many times I came to the same tourist spot, I would still be in awe of the place. Imagine this country with land scarcity but really made the most out of its area. And don’t forget to go to the most iconic landmark of this city. You haven’t been to Singapore if you miss the Merlion Park. Other attractions in Singapore are Resorts World Sentosa, Gardens by the Bay, The Jewel Terminal (HSBC Vortex), Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari, Jurong Birds Park, Singapore Botanic Garden, The Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands Sky Garden and many more.
4. Clean and Green. The one thing that I really love most about Singapore is its cleanliness and its knack for maintaining the greenery of the place. Even with the country being industrialized, you can see a lot of trees anywhere even in the CBD (Central Business District). Walking in Singapore is quite comfortable, having no or less pollution and a lot of shaded walkways anywhere. Aside from that, they have neigborhood and nature parks near you. You can do your run there or just sit on the bench or bike around. They also have children’s playgrounds where the kids can play all day long.
5. One of the Safest Countries. Singapore is one country that you feel safe even while walking in the middle of the night. It’s one place where I don’t feel scared even when walking home after 12 midnight. Of course, you must still be vigilant of your surroundings. There may be some untoward instances but those seldom happen. Well, it’s still best to be cautious.
6. United Colors of Friendship. One of the best things in Singapore is meeting friends from all over the world. It’s amazing when you interact with people from all walks of life. You get to work with people who are from different cultures and observing diverse traditions. These people are the reason why living in Singapore is much more exciting. They become your friends. They become your family.
If you ask me if I ever regretted leaving Singapore. My answer is no, I didn’t. It’s just that it was very hard for me to make the decision to leave because of the people that I learned to love. I really felt sad leaving the place where I already grew comfortable with, the place which I considered and still consider my home away from home. But sometimes, there are reasons why you make a choice, why you decide to do it. But I know I can still come back. I can’t totally forget this beautiful country which changed my life. Yea lah! I absolutely left my heart in Singapore.