Come As You Are
One day, I asked my coworker sitting across from me, “If you had to describe Singapore in one word, and only one, what would you say?” She paused for a minute and then with a mixture of confidence and joy, she said, “Harmonious.”
While it’s difficult to describe any culture in a single word, I think “harmonious” does a pretty good job of capturing the diversity and inclusiveness that defines Singapore. Singaporean culture, rather than being a unique entity in itself, is a blend of many different cultures including (but not limited to) Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian with a sprinkle of Western influence.
This small city-state has four official languages (English, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin) and one unofficial, which is Singlish. Having lived here for two months, I’m still having trouble understanding this Asian take on the English language, but the best way I can describe it is a lot of “lo’s”, ‘“la’s”, and “le’s”. The downside of having such a strong presence of so many different cultures, is it’s hard to say what is uniquely Singaporean. However, this isn’t to say that Singapore isn’t famous for traditional dishes like chicken rice, kaya toast and chili crab.
Speaking of food, the upside of this extreme diversity is the level of choice you have when it comes to incredible foods. Some of my favorite cuisines since coming here include Indian, Thai and Vietnamese food, all of which can be trusted to be completely authentic.
The cultural harmony in Singapore also lends that you do not have to worry about what people will think of you when you arrive here; everyone is incredibly accepting of different cultures and will welcome you with open arms, which is something we should all strive to do.