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21 Signs You've Lived in Singapore for Too Long

by Madhurima Dutta Mar 9, 2018

Singapore, the tiny red dot on a map which has become one of the richest countries in the world in a span of 30-40 years, has a unique blend of cultures. With 4 official languages, 3 recognized majority races, food from all the world, and unlimited convenience, living in Singapore implies you pick up a few habits that often might surprise others. Here are 21 signs that you have lived in Singapore for too long.

1. You find most Southeast Asian countries extremely affordable.

Singapore constantly ranks as one of the most expensive countries in the world. Moreover, Singapore currency is considerably stronger in value than most Asian currencies. After living in Singapore for too long, you jump with joy at how affordable everything is in other neighboring countries.

2. You leave your belongings anywhere and everywhere.

Singapore’s incredible safety often implies you can leave your belongings anywhere and most likely they will remain there. I have personally left my bag and laptop in Starbucks, on a university campus, and in hawker centers without ever losing them. In fact, I left my laptop overnight at a hawker center on a Friday night and found it on Saturday morning with a shop owner!

3. You can’t stick to eating one cuisine for a long time.

Commonly known as the culinary capital of Asia, Singapore combines a variety of cuisines from around the world and this is reflected not only in restaurants but also in hawker centers. If you go by the Singaporean way of life, one day you will want Laksa, Char Kway Teow the next day, and Roti Prata the day after. You just can’t imagine how people can possibly eat the same type of food every day!

4. You use a tissue packet to reserve seats in public places.

Imagine a lunchtime scene in a crowded hawker center and you need to reserve a place. What do you do if you are not carrying a bag? Just take out a packet of tissues and put it on the seat and now you have successfully “chopped” (read: reserved) that place for yourself.

5. You don’t just know what “kiasu” means, you have become it.

Singaporeans are stereotyped to be “Kiasu”, afraid of losing and must be the first one to grab every opportunity. Second place is never satisfactory and you will put in your heart and soul to be at the top of everything.

6. You have been stuck in an MRT breakdown at least once.

With world-class infrastructure and convenience, living in Singapore means expecting to be on time, every time. The occasional MRT (metro) breakdown is simply not tolerable. You know you have lived in Singapore for too long when you have at least witnessed one MRT breakdown or delay.

7. You start defending Singapore when you are abroad.

You may complain about a few things when you are in Singapore but when you are in a foreign country, you start defending Singapore ’til your last breath. You hate it when anyone thinks Singapore is a part of China and you proudly brag about the high standard of living in Singapore in front of others.

8. You have mastered a Singlish accent.

Admit it: the first time you heard Singlish (the Singaporean English), you did not understand it. But now, when someone asks you, “Hey, do you want to grab lunch?” you respond with a “can not liao! I makkan already.

9. You prefer Kopi C or Kopi O Kosong to Cappuccino and Mocha.

Ordering coffee in Singapore is nothing short of an art and the local coffee shops will make anyone forget their favorite Cappuccino or Mocha. You know you have lived in Singapore for too long when you expertly order a Kopi O Kosong or Kopi Gao from local coffee stores.

10.You decide what to eat based on which stall has the longest queue.

Every hawker center has numerous stalls. How do you know which one serves the best food? Just follow the longest queue! If so many people are waiting for it, it must be great.

11. Your day trips often imply trips to Malaysia.

Yes, Malaysia is really that close, so you have become accustomed to visiting Johor Bahru for a day trip and Kuala Lumpur for a weekend trip.

12. You haven’t chewed a gum in a while.

Chewing gums are banned in Singapore.

13. You have probably forgotten what winter feels like.

Thanks to the year-round tropical climate, the land of eternal sunshine experiences no winter, ever. While this is heaven for many foreigners, living in Singapore for too long has made you a constant critic of the weather.

14. You are more excited for Chinese New Year than Christmas.

Sure, Singapore celebrates Christmas, but not the way they celebrate Chinese New Year. The whole economy slows down for a while as Singaporeans take a break to reconnect with their family and loved ones. If you are unmarried and have Chinese Singaporean colleagues, you might even receive some “ang bao.”

15. You have cut down on drinking and smoking.

With the average price of a pint of beer being S$11-12 in a bar, and a box of cigarettes costing around S$13, we don’t blame you for cutting down on drinking and smoking.

16. You no longer hate the smell of Durian.

Remember the first time you smelled a durian and thought it stank? Well, now you have begun to love Singapore’s favorite fruit.

17. You think “Bakkwa” is better than beef jerky.

You may have loved beef jerky before, but ever since you tasted the different varieties of “bakkwa” you have become addicted to it.

18. You put chili sauce into everything.

Like literally everything except desserts.

19. You have become an extremely law-abiding citizen.

You have become well accustomed to the numerous laws like no eating and drinking in public transport, no jaywalking, no littering and so on. Singapore is known as the “Fine City” for a reason — and each fine can burn a hole in your pocket.

20. You find most other countries quite dirty.

You are so accustomed to absolutely clean streets and public places, you just can’t understand how public areas in other countries can have even a speck of dirt.

21. You have become absolutely spoilt on convenience.

Once you have lived in Singapore, you have been spoilt by the amount of convenience it offers. No place is further than 20 mins. There must be a grocery store, a food court, and a bus stop all within a 2-minute walk from your residence. You are never lost, thanks to the awesome signage system. Everything is efficient and runs smoothly, the way it is supposed to. Admit it: Singapore has spoilt you to the core and you absolutely love it.

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