With Singapore’s National Day 2020 upon us, team Sassy Mama takes a moment to reflect on what we love about Singapore.
Whether you’ve lived in Singapore all your life or are a more recent arrival, chances are there’s much you love about this amazing country that’s about to celebrate 55 years of independence. From our favourite kopitiam drinks to beautiful nature reserves, not to mention incomparable safety and efficiency, there is just so much celebrate.
This year has been a challenging one in Singapore, just as it has everywhere else in the world. But 2020 has also shown us how competent and caring the government is when it comes to looking after its citizens. COVID-19 has brought much of the world to a standstill (and we’re not saying the Circuit Breaker didn’t do the same here), but we are so fortunate that our kids are able to go to school, that we are able to meet up with friends at restaurants, and that there’s even an app to make contact tracing easier and more convenient for everyone. Togetherness, kindness and gratitude are the themes of this year’s dialed-back National Day 2020 celebrations, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate such important values.
This Singapore National Day 2020, please join us in taking a moment to appreciate 55 reasons – big and small – to love Singapore.
LANDING AT CHANGI AIRPORT
Coming home from even the best vacation is made a little easier when you can breeze through automated immigration gates, find your suitcase waiting for you, and hop in a cab within a matter of minutes at what’s without question the world’s greatest airport. Some day soon we’ll get back to experiencing this!
WEARING FLIP-FLOPS 365 DAYS A YEAR
For those of us who grew up with harsh winters, it’s a never-ending delight getting to wear sandals (and never having to deal with heavy coats) all year round.
You can get everything here. It’s your one-stop shop for everything from diapers, to spices, to ice-cream to smokeless camphor (!), to hard-to-find beauty products.
FREE FACE MASKS
Like it or not, face masks are now a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future. How lucky are we that the government has not only distributed multiple rounds of free face masks to every household in Singapore, but even took it one step further with super cool vending machines?
PM LEE HSIEN LOONG’S SASSY PINK SHIRTS
We’re partial to pink here at Sassy, and one of the few (literal) bright spots of all the government updates and Facebook Live addresses has been our natty PM’s sartorial choices. And we love that he’s even in on the joke.
A WOMAN PRESIDENT
Who run the world? GIRLS! In 2017 we saw the walkover election of Madam Halimah Yacob, Singapore’s first female president. Besides being an accomplished former Speaker of Parliament, she’s also a mother of five (which do you think is a tougher job?!). We’re so proud to live in such a progressive country where we can show our daughters that they can absolutely do anything they put their mind to!
COOL BRUNCH SCENE
Sunday brunch is definitely the new Saturday night out… If you’re an old-feeling, tired parent like us that is! Neck some free-flow champers, allow the bubs to run wild in the play area, and head home for a good nap at the end of it. Phew!
A great way to beat the heat (and a treat for the little ones too), this icy cold bevvy has vitamins, protein, and minerals inside, not to mention chocolate deliciousness!
In a city where the price of owning a car is prohibitive, we’re lucky to have the friendliest taxi drivers anywhere! They are always so happy to chat about everything, and make you feel “at home” during your ride.
WORLD CLASS MUSEUMS FOR [MANY] A RAINY DAY
Whether you’re taking out-of-town visitors to the Asian Civilisations Museum or the Peranakan Museum, or you’re keeping kiddos occupied at Sassy Mama faves like the fire station, Science Centre, Playeum or ArtScience Museum, Singapore’s perpetually rotating slate of amazing exhibits means there will always be something new to discover.
Read More: 13 Great Novels by Singapore Authors
It’s not hard to find the best spots to get gorgeous views of the little red dot. You can watch the sun set over a cocktail at Marina Bay Sands or hop on the Singapore Flyer (for no reason, obviously) and check out how beautiful SG is from all angles…
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
Sure, you might get a bit sweaty (and don’t forget the sunscreen/mossie repellant/hat/snacks/massive diaper bag) but Singapore really kicks ass when it comes to its awesome selection of parks and playgrounds, wherever you live.
Read More: Our Favourite Parks in Singapore
FOOD 24 HOURS A DAY
Ok let’s face it, when I got past the age of 35 these escapades reduced significantly, but still! We can eat anything we want at 3am and not just have to choose between a plastic box of fries or a stale kebab. Want to grab world-class noodles, or chicken satay, or roti prata, or dumplings (the list goes on and on)? Singapore’s got you covered.
OUTDOOR EXERCISE CLASSES
A bootcamp on every corner! So many to chose from and all in the lovely outdoors.
WE’RE ALWAYS LEARNING ABOUT DIFFERENT CULTURES
Living alongside multi-cultural neighbours often means we get to experience their traditions, like cooking for neighbours during Hari Raya, watching Indian/Hindu neighbours draw their Rangolis in front of their houses during Deepavali, and exchanging oranges with Chinese neighbours during CNY.
AN AMAZING SENSE OF SAFETY
I can take a bus from the city centre to my home in Changi after 11pm. Then get off and walk down a lonely street – alone – to my house. All this while not having to watch my bag every few seconds, getting scary catcalls or clutching my purse with all my might.
MONKEYS AND COBRAS AND CROCODILES (OH MY!)
Ok so this can be a little terrifying, but we love that the wildlife our children see in their storybooks actually comes to life in Singapore and somehow manages to coexist alongside our urban metropolis. There’s nowhere better for budding naturalists!
TRAIL RUNNING IN MACRITCHIE
You might be dodging monkeys but it’s well worth it for the shade and uniquely rugged terrain at one of the few truly hilly places to go running in Singapore. After doing this challenging 11km loop, I love emerging into the clearing that hugs MacRitchie Reservoir — one of the prettiest spots in Singapore in my opinion.
GRABBING A $2 MICHELIN-STARRED MEAL
Singapore is proudly home to the world’s only Michelin-starred street food. Whether you’re craving a $2 plate of chicken rice or some $4.50 bak chor mee, you’ll be eating the cheapest Michelin-starred cuisine in the world. Talk about value!
Even government hospitals provide top notch healthcare services. Everything is also super high-tech and I can rest assured that our hospitals are equipped with the best & latest stuff to help me with any (or most) health issues.
Pulled ginger tea with condensed milk just might be the world’s most perfect drink. A little bit zingy, comfortingly sweet and slightly frothy, it’s the only way to kickstart my day!
AWESOME LOCAL GETAWAYS
We’ve already mentioned how fricking awesome Changi is, but if you don’t want to get on a plane at all (ciao annoying luggage allowance!), then there are myriad possibilities via boat and car.
Okay, okay, Singapore doesn’t have as many public holidays as our sisters in Hong Kong, but we get days off for Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Diwali… all the cool multicultural ones!
RELIABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Sure, we may complain that the next bus is due to arrive in 7 minutes (which can be easily checked thanks to apps like Iris, My Transport SG, etc) which may be long by our standards, but we can definitely count on it! Getting from one end of Singapore to the other is so easy and usually involves just a couple of transfers. It’s also great that buses and trains are increasingly getting more wheelchair- and pram-accessible.
THE FOUNTAIN AT JEWEL
How can you not feel filled with wonder every time you lay eyes upon the world’s tallest indoor fountain? Besides the fact that it offers even more fun things to do with kids and has oodles of outstanding restaurants, it’s simply an architectural marvel. As if MBS, Gardens by the Bay, and condos like D’Leedon didn’t already make us feel like we were living in a city of the future!
WI-FI AT HAWKER CENTRES & MRT STATIONS
Free Wi-Fi at a hawker centre?! Seriously, you can connect anywhere and ‘gram away! Check out other cafés with free Wi-Fi here.
HAVING HELP AROUND THE HOUSE
As busy mamas, we totally dig that we can get support around the house from the wonderful hard-working women who often sacrifice time with their own children to come to work for us here. Whether it’s night nurses, cleaning services, babysitters or full-time live-in helpers, there’s a level of support whatever your personal taste.
Singapore is dotted by palm trees in more shapes and sizes than you can imagine. These exotic shrubs always make me feel like I am resorting in a tropical paradise. Their green lusciousness puts a smile on my face every single day.
YOUNG COCONUTS COLD FROM THE FRIDGE
The most refreshing thing, basically ever, and a totally affordable luxury!
HOW SPICY CAN YOU GO?
As a cultural hotpot (literally), Singapore might specialise in more cuisines than anywhere else on earth. Chinese food, Indian food, Malay food, Peranakan food, Thai and Vietnamese food…this is truly a foodie paradise!
FLUFFY WHITE CLOUDS AGAINST A PERFECT BLUE SKY
I grew up in Los Angeles (smog days and Malathion spraying, anyone?), so white fluffy clouds against a clear blue sky are always so soothing to have floating overhead.
Perhaps both a luxury and necessity in this heat, but the fact that most condos and houses come with a pool or are close to one rocks! Mamas can relax poolside with a magazine and an iced bevvy while the bubbas splash around (read: tire themselves out)! A win-win situation every single weekend.
HIT THE BEACH…AND THE SLOPES
So fine, we live on the Equator and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see fluffy white snowflakes, but not only does this mean we can hit the beach all year round, but because this is Singapore and innovation is the norm, of course we’ve got Snow City, too!
As a true Dutchie I LOVE that Singapore is a cycle-friendly city! If you accept the fact that sweating is inevitable and try to cycle early mornings or (early) evenings, it’s a fantastic way to get from A to B with or without kids.
THE FRESHEST FRUIT JUICE
Fresh and delicious – my ABC addiction comes cheap as chips from just about any hawker stall!
DRAMATIC LIGHTNING STORMS
Singapore holds the world record for number of lightning storms, and they are amazing to watch (but not so much fun when trees get knocked down!).
THE BEST EDUCATION IN THE WORLD
As parents, we’re pretty stoked to live in the country that leads the world in Math and Science performance. It’s not every nation that has its own brand of math named after it!
THE SINGAPORE ZOO
This Singapore institution has saved me from many an afternoon with the kids and is also a favourite with visitors. It’s probably one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. In typical Singapore fashion everything is very clean and orderly and all the animals (over 2,800) look healthy. Definitely a must-see.
SEAMLESS HARMONY BETWEEN THE CITY AND NATURE
No matter how much concrete there is in Singapore, there’s always an abundance of trees, bushes, flowers and the like, everywhere you go. Plus there are so many parks and even a few untouched habitats (Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, Pulau Ubin), we can discover once we’ve exhausted all the hipster cafés and photogenic architecture.
IT’S ALWAYS SO CLEAN
I love the fact that we have such clean streets!
BILINGUALISM (AND MORE!) IS THE NORM
While kids in local schools are required to have proficiency in at least two languages, plenty of international and preschools also take advantage of our multicultural landscape to promote Mandarin immersion and true bilingualism among children. How chuffed were you the first time you heard your little one conversing with a taxi uncle?
Whether you’re after the luxury international brands on Orchard Road (Singapore has more malls per square mile than anywhere else on Earth!), looking to score a bargain in Chinatown, or keep up with the latest hip up-and-comers on Haji Lane, you are definitely in a shopping paradise.
GOING TO THE SHOPS AFTER 6PM
A luxury I took for granted! In Europe all shops were closed when I was done with work, forcing me to do all my errands in the weekend. Only problem was: the rest of the people also did them then! Urgh!
I know this is odd – but after being back home in the UK for a holiday I’ve gained a new appreciation! I hate filling the car with petrol myself! I love how they do it for you in Singapore.
From the painted ladies of Koon Seng Road in Joo Chiat to the pretty tiles on Duxton Hill, Singapore’s pockets of architectural delights are an immediate mood enhancer.
KID-FRIENDLY PLACES EVERYWHERE I LOOK
Most bathrooms in malls are well-equipped for diaper changes & feeding, too. Kids’ activities take place all year round, not just during schools holidays. There’s never a lack of things to do with kids on Singapore. Love it!
This must be one of my favourite things about Singapore. Chicken rice along with chilli crab are Singapore’s signature dishes. What do you get? Amazingly tender chicken and super tasty rice. It’s delicious and totally child-friendly.
NEVER-ENDING FOOD PROMOS
Whether you get a sweet discount with your bank’s credit card, or a bar’s running a nice happy hour special, there are always enticing reasons to go out to eat here.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST AIRLINE
Don’t just take our word for it (although I will sing Singapore Airlines’ praises til the cows come home, much to my friends’ and families’ chagrin): take it from the readers of Travel + Leisure who have ranked its the world’s best international airline 21 years in a row! The service, the food, the nice planes and up-to-date entertainment options — they’ve spoiled us for flying anyone else.
EVERYTHING IS SO CLOSE
Singapore is really tiny; you can get to anywhere within minutes (longer if using public transport) but nothing will really take you long. By saving time commuting we get more time to spend with our family, friends or doing things we love.
Singapore has lots of taxis and plus GRAB, Gojek, etc. so you’re only just a hail (or a few finger taps via app) and a ride away from anywhere.
Singapore has done a great job preserving colonial architecture built by the British in the 19th century. Some examples include the Raffles Hotel and the old Supreme Court but I am also totally in love with the island’s many black and white bungalows.
VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES & COMMUNITY SPIRIT
One of the highlights of my job is getting to write about the myriad charities and volunteering opportunities available in Singapore. I think it’s a reflection of the “kampung spirit” and is evident everywhere from the schools to local politics, and truly rubs off on us expats!
Singapore is a rockin’ place and there is never a dull moment here for singles, married couples or families. I love there are always plenty of things happening, and of course you can always find the latest events here at Sassy Mama!
There you have it, mamas! We could go on all day. And don’t forget to check out our Singapore Bucket List if you’ll be leaving this beautiful island sometime soon (or simply want to hit up some of our favourite sights). Now tell us what YOU love, and have a very happy National Day. Majulah Singapura!
Lead image by Blub Creative
Macritchie image, Laksa image, Shophouses image and Old Supreme Court image all sourced via Getty
Changi Airport image by Changi Airport via Facebook
Face mask image by @missene
Milo Dinosaur image by Come Cucinare
City Views image by Gardens By The Bay sourced via CNN
Outdoor Excercise Classes image courtesy of UFIT Bootcamps
Local Getaways image by Cempedak Island
Free Wifi @ MRT image by Neo Xiaobin via Straits Times
ION Orchard image by CapitaLand
Cycling image courtesy of Cycling Without Age
Singapore Zoo image by Wildlife Reserves Singapore via Facebook
Singapore Airlines image by Singapore Airlines via Facebook