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10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True

by - 2:36 AM

After living in a new country for relatively a reasonable period of time you can quickly identify all the incorrect assumptions or rumors simply about the place simply aren't true. This was definitely true for me moving to Singapore! I have compiled a list of the 10 things that I read or heard about before moving here that are simply false.

1. Chewing gum is illegal 

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(video source here)

Singapore (as I'll cover in #4) is famous for being very strict and particular about certain things. One of those being that it is illegal to chew gum. This "fact" is one always talked about in blogs and articles about Singapore and is relatively widely know. Whilst it is still technically illegal to buy gum in Singapore from the likes of a 7/11 or Supermarket there are still ways to get your hands on it. 

 The selling of gum was originally banned in 1992 and for the first few years they were very strict on it. These days you can bring gum into the country if it's for "dental health", and it's quite common for people to bring it in from overseas. The government hasn't completely overturned the ban though as they fear things will return to the way they were when they decided to ban it. You can be prescribed gum by a doctor which I think is pretty interesting. 

They do however have a $700 fine for spitting gum in public, which is apparently strictly enforced. I think this has worked really well for Singapore as there are very few cities in the world that don't have the sidewalks littered with gum, and it's a refreshing change.

2. Cost of living is expensive 

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(video source here)

Singapore consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live (in 2017 it was ranked #3). Don't get me wrong Singapore is not a cheap place to live, but once you read on you'll see why I think it's a myth.

The main reason Singapore is the third most expensive city to live is heavily influenced by the fact that the cost of a car has such a big influence on the overall index. It just so happens that Singapore is the most expensive country in the world when it comes to car prices. Taking a look at this example from GoBear which shows that one of "Singapore's best selling cars in 2017, the Honda HR-V: has a new purchase price of $112,999 after taxes and levies. In other countries I can find the same base model for closer to $30,000. 

Singapore however has very cheap, affordable, and a reliable public transportation system that takes you just about anywhere in the country. For the beautiful and luxurious condo that my boyfriend and I live in Singapore is surprisingly affordable for what you get. The rent prices aren't as expensive like the rumors say. It is very common to find ridiculously modern and beautiful condo units like ours and if you're willing to splurge then you can definitley find something worth all of you hard earned dollars. Check out my "Luxurious Dream Apartment Tour | A New Chapter In My Life" blog post if you want to see how an ultra luxury and lavishing studio apartment looks like in Singapore!

3. It is a concrete jungle with no nature

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(photo source here)

Say that to this beautiful photo of the National Orchid Garden situated in the Botanic Gardens of Singapore with nothing but lush greenery, thousands of diverse plants, and many different species of orchids.

Singapore is more nature than concrete. Everywhere you turn there is lush tropical greenery oozing throughout the entire country. From the lavishing sights of modern nature at Gardens by the Bay, the nature tree top walks at MacRitchie Reservoir, to the amazing mountain biking trails on an entire deserted island of Pulau Ubin, explore the breathtaking nature at Punggol Waterway Parks, all of the nature parks and walks of the West Region, bike paths along the beach of East Coast Park, and even the buildings are overflowing with vines and spectacular lush greenery.

4. You get fined for everything

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(video source here)

Relax, you won't get the death penalty for chewing gum, lah. But in all seriousness, Singaporeans take their rules really seriously and it's best to follow them so you don't get yourself in a sticky situation in the future. (Read #1 for joke reference.)

Although there are a lot of rules here, they are here for a good reason. Most of this is common sense anyways but you can get fined for littering, not flushing the toilet, singing in public, vandalism, jaywalking, spitting, etc. I've personally never been fined for anything here. Even the occasional jaywalking and forgetting one time that drinking coffee on a train is not allowed. Just don't be disrespectful and you won't run yourself in bad situations when it could have been easily avoidable in the first place.

5. English is not widely spoken

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(video source here)

I come from an English speaking country where most people speak English. Singapore however is a melting pot of different cultures and languages. Since Singapore founded as a country about 52 years ago, the government requires all children in school to learn and study in English. Although there are so many people from Malaysia, China, and all over Asia, most of them do speak good English. Most signs are in English and everyone under the age of 50 should be fluent. It is considered their mother language.

"English is widely spoken in Singapore. However, you will find Singaporeans' speech peppered with Singlish. Singlish is a portmanteau word made from the conjunction of “Singapore” and “English”. Singlish borrows terms from the Chinese, Malay and Tamil languages." says Guide Me Singapore.

Singaporeans on average are fluent in multiple different language since it is a country founded on immigrants. They have their own jargon and accent just like every other country in the world. What makes Singapore truly spectacular is that they're able to live in and experience many different cultures in a single city. Many people even come to Singapore to learn English.

6. All work, no play

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True

The working conditions is Singapore is one of the best in the world. It's no secret that the job market is tough here though. The competition is extremely high with very highly skilled candidates. The long hours that people put in here can make it seem that people don't have fun here. This rumor is also not true because despite the high competition, the unemployment rate is very low. Just Landed says, "Strikes, slow downs, and workers’ protests are very rare in Singapore. Employment contracts in Singapore are considered to be strict, yet the conditions for hiring and firing are flexible." That means that there is a good balance for the most part but I would agree that sometimes we should treat ourselves and take a break from our hard work.

Singaporeans love to travel and most can afford to. People here most definitely have a social life and things to do. Sure, maybe they spend a lot of hours at the office but they love to socialize with the locals at hawker centres and HDB complexes. Every evening the city comes to life with families, friends, and workmates socializing with some food and drinks until it is time to go home. Young university students often travel abroad to the UK, Europe, America, Australia, and New Zealand!


7. Lacks culture

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(photo source here)

It is rumored that the fast growing modern city of Singapore lacks a culture. As a woman from America I would confirm this rumor to be false as well. I experienced a lot of culture shock moving here. Everything from the accents, the food, things to do, how life runs here, and even where to buy groceries was all so new to me! From the vast variety of food from any cuisine you can think of to the large amount of immigrants sharing their culture with everyone else, there is no shortage of unique opportunities to learn here.

A few odd but rather interesting things I noticed about the culture here is that they take off their shoes before entering a home or building, call the elderly people as a uncle or auntie, and even chope with a tissue which you can read more about in this "13 Weird Singapore Cultures and Customs That Tourists Will Just Not Understand" article by The Smart Local.

8. You need a car to get around

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(video source here)

This couldn't be any more incorrect. Singapore has been voted many times for having one of the best and speedy public transit system in the whole world. With hundreds of MRT train stops and thousands of bus stops, there is no lack of ways to get around in this city. Although a car would be nice to put your groceries in, take families around in, and get to the few rare spots that a train or bus doesn't touch, you definitely do not need a car in Singapore.

Cars are too expensive here anyways so no need to make that hefty investment and stress about a car. Luckily taxis, Uber, and Grab Taxi are extremely affordable here. So if you really do need a car once in a fortnight then you have that option that won't break the bank.

Use my code JAMESW1132 to save $10 off Uber or $8 off Grab Taxi using this link.

9. There is no crime

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True 
(video source here)

Although Singapore is the safest country in the world, that doesn't mean there is no crime. It's safe for me to go out at night luckily and I have the peace of mind that no one will rob me or pickpocket me. But no city is perfect so there will always be crime. Anything from a theft of a bicycle to even a rare homicide.

The government takes their crime and punishments here very seriously however so it usually prevents people from doing them in the first place. But even still you should always look out for these things before coming to Singapore: "Tips on Singapore Warnings or Danger - Stay Safe!" Watch out for unverified taxis, not leaving valuables out in the open, and making sure you don't make it easy for thieves to pickpocket you.

10. Food is expensive

10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True
(video source here)

YEAH RIGHT!!! Honestly the cheapest. That's if you only eat at super local hawker centres of course. Like this $2.50 Michelin Star Chicken Rice dish! Yup, it's really that cheap! Not going to lie though, grocery shopping here is outrageous especially if you shop at grocery stores such as Cold Storage and Marketplace. If you're on a tight budget then eating out at hawker centres is where you should be.

I however am used to a western society of cooking at home with specific ingredients that are a lot more pricey here than I can find in America. I have tried out several different supermarkets here in Singapore and reviewed every single one of them plus what I like most about them.

Singapore is my home now and I am so lucky to be here living with my love, doing my dream job, and connecting with you guys! I hope this post was useful, make sure to share the photo below on Pinterest to help spread the word.

If you found this post interesting then read my story about why "I Moved To Singapore".
10 Myths About Singapore That Simply Aren't True


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