My time living in Singapore has come to an end. I am flying off to Tokyo in less than six hours.
There are a few blog posts I started but never finished about my time in Singapore. I thought I’d throw them up here.
Censorship in Singapore
When I first moved here I tried to keep up on Canadian news by reading canoe.ca. From here the site loaded pretty slow each time, and sometimes wouldn’t come up at all. I did some research into censorship and discovered somewhere that Singapore ranks second behind China in internet censorship.
This is also evident in the movies shown on TV. Harold & Kumar was about 30 minutes long on HBO! OK, I exaggerate a little… but all the good parts were definitely cut out. Watching a few minutes of some Jaws clone, I managed to not see people getting eaten. Only swimming in the water one second, then blood floating around the next.
A Singaporean film maker Royston Tan expresses this very well in his short film “Cut”:
The Right Side
Since Singapore is a ex-British colony, cars travel on the left side of the road. I have reason to believe that the citizens here don’t like that too much.
When I walk around the city I try to stick to that rule, but people insist on passing me on their right side. It’s pretty strange.
An Incomplete List
A collection of random tidbits I hoped to compile over a long time… but I only managed to collect a few:
- for reasons unknown to me, everyone always parks their vehicle by backing into stalls
- the white lines dividing lanes on the road mean nothing; drivers veer left and right all the time
- people always use their full name as it appears in their passport: Leonard, not Len or Lenny; Vincent, not Vince or Vinnie; Benjamin instead of Ben
- there are TLAs for everything and everyone knows them: ICA, CTE, MOE, PAP, etc, etc…
- everyone sits in the aisle seat on the bus or in the cafeteria, but why?
- much English is a direct translation from Chinese; British English origins add to the confusion:
- keep: put away “Can you keep your toys before you go to bed?”
- just now: anytime (two minutes ago, last month, the 90s) “Holy shit, did you see that? That motorcyclist almost got creamed by that cab driver just now!”; “I went to the Maldives just now… I think it was for Christmas three years ago.”
- there are many more…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about Singapore. These are merely things I noticed as a foreigner living here.
It’s been a great experience! I’ve met great people, learned lots about myself and the industry I want to work in. I’ll miss the food, the year-round-summer, and the conveniences of not having to own a vehicle 🙂 But it’s the people that make one’s stay in a place memorable, and I’ll definitely look back on my time here with a smile.
It’ll be fun to visit here again 🙂 Bye, Singapura!