Yes, we are quite unique – as identified by our tourism board once. Our physical beings and special habits stand out wherever we are. Here are 10 ways to spot a Singaporean overseas (so you can pretend you didn’t see them).
#1 THE ACCENT
Even though it goes without saying, I’m going to say it. This is the 100% guarantee plus chop, irrevocably unmistakeable indicator that you are in the presence of another Singaporean. Don’t paiseh lah, say hi!
#2 THEY ARE IN A CASUAL TOP, DENIM SHORTS/BERMS AND SLIPPERS
Regardless of the season or how fashion-savvy a city is, our staple outfits do not change. Even if it’s winter, you’ll likely see the girls in a denim-shorts-with-warm-leggings (most probably a Heattech piece from Uniqlo) combo – with boots. Because we don’t get to wear boots back home. And in summery weather, unless we are going hiking, the footwear of choice is good ol’ flip flops – they’re comfortable, airy and easy to slip in and out of. Singaporeans value practicality.
#3 COMPARING EVERYTHING TO BACK HOME
“Eh this one Singapore cheaper, don’t buy here.”
“Eh, this one Singapore don’t have, buy more.”
“Wah, here so hot, even hotter than Singapore.”
“Wah, here the weather so chilly, if only Singapore was like that.”
You get the drift.
#4 TAKING PICTURES TO POST ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM BEFORE THEY EAT
I heard a funny anecdote from an editor I used to work with. Her sister was in transit in an airport in America and was sitting in a cafe with her food in front of her. Like the responsible Singaporean she is, she took out her phone and snapped a picture. A gentleman next to her asked if she was from Singapore. Surprised, she asked, “How did you know?” And he laughed, “Only a Singaporean would take pictures of their food before they eat.”
Thanks, we’ll take it as a compliment – good things must share!
#5 THEY ARE BUYING BUBBLE TEA
It doesn’t matter if the bubble tea is way more expensive than in Singapore (though we will complain about it – see point 2), or if the chain already exists in our country. We love bubble tea and we need our fix.
#6 THEY ARE WONDERING ABOUT THE LACK OF CHILLI SAUCE
The sweet-salty zing of chilli sauce is so commonplace in our cuisine that the lack of it perplexes a Singaporean abroad. “Oh, they got no chilli sauce? So funny.” And if you see someone whip a bottle out from their bag, it’s almost a guarantee that they’re from the little red dot.
#7 THEY ARE ASKING FOR THE WI-FI PASSWORD
If you go into a restaurant, or a cafe, and you see a bunch of travellers on their phones – it’s likely that the place has free Wi-Fi. If you ever need the password, and can’t get the attention of the service staff, just ask the Singaporean – he or she would have already gotten it.
#8 THEY ARE IN A QUEUE FOR FOOD
We will apply the same logic we use for food vendors back home, to the cafes, restaurants and street food stalls we see when we travel: If there’s a long line – it must be good. Thankfully we’ve got lots of practice from back home so the extended wait for a reward at the end, is no big deal. We’ll just play with our phones meanwhile.
#9 THEY ARE DEEP IN THE MIDST OF A SALE
If there’s a big sale, the odds are there’s a bunch of Singaporeans rummaging in there. We cannot resist a good deal – whether at home or abroad. Long line for the cashier? No problem, someone will queue first while the rest keep shopping.
#10 THEY ARE EITHER SOLO, A COUPLE, OR A BIG GROUP OF MORE THAN 5 PEOPLE
There’s no in-between. I guess we’re really sociable people and when we plan a trip with our friends, we endeavour to make sure everyone can make it. If you find a trio or quartet, observe them – it’s likely that they’ll rejoin a bigger group at a later time.
Do you know of more ways you can identify a fellow citizen overseas? Share it in the comments!
About the writer:
Ruby Tan used to write for Her World, and is now a freelance writer with a dream to travel the world. She believes that the some of best things in life don’t have to be bought.