Last year, when the result of the Time Out City Index was released, Singapore had to face a hard truth. The survey quizzed over 15,000 people about the cities they live in and 32 cities were ranked by how exciting they are. Our little island took the 31st spot on that list.
But that was before Singapore went on a massive PR campaign in 2018. Crazy Rich Asians launched in theatres across the globe, projecting sights like CHIJMES, Gardens by the Bay and Newton Hawker Centre on the world stage. We also proved to be a political powerhouse, hosting the Trump-Kim Summit and all of us marvelled at what this small but mighty nation can do.
It's not just the glitz and glam perpetuated by the media that caught our attention. Some people also made sure we kept our feet on the ground, talking about social issues that matter. The country debated on topics like inequality, racism and discrimination, sparking petitions to abolish Section 377A of Singapore's Penal Code, which criminalises sex between two consenting male adults. The conversations around pertinent societal affairs showed that Singapore is ready to talk about change openly – we're not going to sweep things under the rug anymore.
So much has changed in a year, and the recent Time Out Index definitely reflects that. This year's poll surveyed people in 48 cities around the globe and asked them about life in their city – again. After compiling the thoughts of over 30,000 people, Singapore came in at number 29 on the list and we found out some interesting facts about what makes us tick. Sure, there are things we already know, like how Singapore is one of the cleanest and safest cities on Earth. But here are some other little nuggets we dug out.
Something we've always suspected but had never been able to confirm: Singaporeans spend the most time in the world queuing for food and drink – probably a result of all those new bubble tea shops like Heytea and Tiger Sugar that opened up last year. We also dine out more than the global average thanks to our stellar hawker centres – a piece intangible cultural heritage we're looking to preserve with our UNESCO bid – and new restaurants opening up every other month. We're also the second greenest city on the list. Don't ask us how we fit some amazing hiking trails (and secret trails too), rustic islands and city parks into 721.5 km² of land. It's no wonder two-thirds of the Singaporeans surveyed are flexing and working out every week.
After all, boring means different things to different people. With so much to see, do, eat and buy in Singapore, we're of the opinion that only boring people would ever get bored here.