First Impressions of Singapore: 5 Things That Left Me Astonished

Singapore is truly an extraordinary city. Since I started living here some things turned out to be different from what I expected. I have been pleasantly surprised by many aspects of this place!.

The weather

Singapore is known for its high levels of humidity throughout the year. Being located close to the equator, the average temperature in Singapore ranges from around 25°C to 31°C throughout the year.The relative humidity in Singapore typically ranges between 70% and 90%, resulting in abundant rainfall and with an increase in the perception of temperature.

As we are currently in July, I can say that the days have become pleasantly comfortable. The temperatures have slightly decreased compared to the previous months.

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Although I had theoretical knowledge about it, my body was not prepared for the climate in Singapore. Upon arriving, I experienced a level of heat and discomfort that I had never felt before. This impact was magnified by the fact that it was late March, and Italy was still experiencing cold weather at that time. The weather in Singapore felt incredibly challenging during the first few months.

Fortunately, as I gradually acclimated to the climate, it became more manageable. Within a short period, I was able to carry out my daily activities without much difficulty, as long as I avoided the hottest hours of the day, such as lunchtime. I found that going outside for a walk became more enjoyable and feasible as I adapted to the weather conditions.

Despite the potential drawbacks, many buildings, shopping malls, and public spaces in Singapore are equipped with air conditioning as a means to combat the heat.

I noticed that once I acclimated to the climate, I experienced more discomfort from the heat when going indoors with air conditioning compared to staying outside without it all day.

The most important things are to stay hydrated, seek shade, and dress appropriately. I confess that I changed into lightweight clothes suitable for the climate, and since doing so, I have noticed a significant difference in my comfort level.

The food

Singapore is renowned for its diverse and vibrant food scene, which reflects the multicultural nature of the country. The cuisine in Singapore is a delicious fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and other Southeast Asian influences, creating a unique culinary experience.

One of the highlights of Singapore’s food culture is its hawker centers. These are open-air food courts where you can find a wide variety of affordable and delicious local dishes.

From famous dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, and char kway teow to lesser-known gems, hawker centers offer a culinary adventure for every taste.

In addition to hawker centers, Singapore boasts numerous restaurants, ranging from street-side eateries to fine-dining establishments. You can find international cuisines from all over the world, including Japanese, Korean, Italian, Middle Eastern, and more. Many of these restaurants showcase the creativity and culinary skills of talented chefs.

Singapore is also famous for its seafood. With its coastal location, the city-state offers a wide selection of fresh seafood dishes. From chili crab and black pepper crab to grilled prawns and fish head curry, seafood lovers are in for a treat.

The green

Singapore takes great pride in its efforts to incorporate green spaces and nature into its urban environment. The city-state has implemented various initiatives and campaigns to ensure a harmonious balance between urban development and the preservation of nature.

One of the key initiatives is the “City in a Garden” vision, which aims to transform Singapore into a city that is abundant in greenery and biodiversity. This vision promotes the integration of nature into the city’s infrastructure, with the goal of creating a more sustainable and livable environment for its residents.

To achieve this, Singapore has implemented several strategies. One of them is the development of numerous parks, gardens, and nature reserves throughout the city. These green spaces provide a respite from the urban hustle and bustle, offering opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and connecting with nature.

While walking between palaces, you might come across skyscrapers adorned with plants,

or you could be strolling along and suddenly find yourself inside a trail filled with lush vegetation.

Singapore also places emphasis on the preservation and protection of its natural heritage. The country has a network of nature reserves, such as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which serve as havens for native flora and fauna. These protected areas allow visitors to experience Singapore’s rich biodiversity and learn about its ecosystems.

In line with its efforts to promote a green and sustainable city, Singapore encourages environmental consciousness among its citizens through various campaigns and initiatives. One such campaign is the “Let’s Make Singapore a Zero Waste Nation,” which aims to reduce waste generation and promote recycling and responsible consumption.

The slogan “Let’s Make Singapore a City in Nature” encapsulates the city-state’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage and integrating nature into urban spaces. It serves as a reminder to both residents and visitors of the importance of environmental stewardship and the role they can play in creating a greener and more sustainable future.

Overall, Singapore’s focus on green spaces, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable urban development demonstrates its dedication to creating a city that harmoniously coexists with nature. The efforts to let Singapore be a “City in Nature” not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the city but also contribute to the well-being and quality of life for its residents.

The language

English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil are all official languages in Singapore. English serves as the primary language for administration, commerce, and education, and it is widely spoken and understood by the majority of the population. Additionally, Singlish, a colloquial form of English, is commonly used in Singapore. Singlish incorporates elements from various languages, including Chinese dialects (such as Hokkien and Cantonese), Malay, and Tamil.

It is worth noting that when I first started conversing with people, I encountered significant difficulties in understanding them. This was partly due to their accents, which are influenced by their origins. Furthermore, the use of dialects and the different sentence constructions posed additional challenges.

Until now, I have learned about the different nuances of colloquial expressions that involve the word “can.”

For example, the phrase “can can” is a colloquial expression that emphasizes agreement or affirmation. It adds emphasis and indicates a positive response.

In the same way “Can lah” means “Yes, it’s possible” or “Sure, no problem.” Instead “Cannot lah” means “No, it’s not possible” or “I can’t do it.” Where “Lah” is a versatile particle used to emphasize or soften a statement.

The kindness of the people

Being a bustling city-state, I initially expected to blend into the background, as it often happens in many cities where people are preoccupied with their own schedules and tasks. However, my perception changed once I arrived in Singapore. I discovered that Singaporeans can be incredibly kind and friendly. It’s not uncommon for strangers at bus stops to strike up conversations, asking about my experiences and engaging in pleasant discussions. This warm and welcoming attitude has been a delightful surprise during my time here.

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