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Photograph: Unsplash/Kym Ellis

7 things Singaporeans do better than anyone else

We ownself declare we’re number one. And we’re not shy to tell you why we're so awesome. By Charlene Fang

By Time Out Singapore editors
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Singaporeans have a lot to be proud about. Around 226,000 of Singapore residents are in the top 1 percent global wealth holders and about half of the population of Singapore part of the top 10 percent. We have a number of world’s best/most accolades to flex: airport (seven years running), airline (also best first and economy class) and expensive city (for many years). Yes, we have a lot to be smug about. Don’t believe us? Check out this list of modest "ownself declare" accolades.

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Gold Medal complainers
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We are… Olympic-level complainers

We have one Olympic gold medallist – hello Joseph Schooling – but we’re the real champions: of complaining that is. Don’t like that your Grab driver dropped you off 50m from your destination? Why have a conversation when you can give him/her a one-star rating, and call the hotline and demand compensation for emotional distress. Getting anything less than a full refund (and Grab credits) and you dare call yourself a Singaporean? Don’t ask, don’t get.

Singapore CSI
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We are… top class keyboard vigilantes

If World War Three broke out, we might not be able to hold off the airstrikes but so long as we have Wi-Fi, our merry band of online CSI’s – did you think a Protection from Harassment Act would deter them? – will be digging up dirt on the person responsible. The same way they dealt with the 'Sovereign' lady, Amos Yee and any clown going viral on social media for the wrong reason, they’ll be on the case to run him/her out of town – or at least till the fibre optic cables get cut.

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Acronyms
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We are… amazing with acronyms

From HDB to MRT, SIA and SES, BTO, we Singaporeans say so much with so little. We’re so creative, not only do we not spell things out, we can carve out multiple meanings from a single acronym. What? You didn’t know SMRT also means ‘Sometimes Must Ride Taxi’, PSI is ‘Please Stay Indoors’ and ERP is ‘Every Road Pay’. I mean, CB now means 'circuit breaker' instead of, you know.

Queue
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We are… crazy for queues

Call it a hangover from the colonial years but Singaporeans are the only people (next to the British) happy to stand in line for whatever everyone else is queuing up for. We like it so much we’ve created a travelling gig economy out of it – when we could still travel, that is. According to Airfrov, you can get paid anywhere from $15 to stand in line for Lim Chee Guan bak kwa and bring it overseas. These days, we're still queuing up for McDonald's while maintaining a one-metre social distance from the next Big Mac lover.

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Guinness Book of World Records
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We are… a bunch of record breakers

What do you get when you combine kiasuism and an irrational fear when it comes to breaking the law? The unquenchable desire to break Guinness Book of World Records. According to a 2017 report by The Straits Times, we’re particularly keen on mass event records. We’ve done at least 30 since the 1980s and some of them are just naff: Largest Game of Musical Chairs (8,238) set by the Anglo Chinese School in 1989 – and here we thought you ACS boys were cool – Most People on a Trampoline (375) set in 2017, Most Number of People Wearing Balloon Hats (5,911) in 2014. Now let's say it together – what is the point of all this?

Language
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We are… brilliant multi-linguists

Adorable Prince George has nothing on us. We rojak speak from young, mangling a perfect sentence of English with Hokkien, Malay, Chinese, Tamil and some Singlish (of course) thrown in for a good measure. We even change the meanings of perfectly normal English words to mean something else here. How else will uncle understand if you’re just speaking Queen’s English? Yes, it’s complex – and not low SES – that’s why we’re number one (see earlier). 

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singapore
Photograph: Unsplash/Kym Ellis

We are... a nation of influencers

For a relatively small country, we have quite a huge community of 'influencers' ranging from micro-influencers that who do small shoutouts on their Instagram pages when brands that send them freebies to mega influencer who are involved with collaborations with the biggest brands and can even get a whole entire wedding sponsored. Dreams can come true if you're an influencer. 

meme
Photograph: Instagram/@kmfst_

We are... meme-makers

Through bad times and bad behaviour, one thing is constant – the memes. If you need a primer, memes are texts, images or videos that are humorous in nature. Whenever something is announced or a scandal erupts in Singapore, a meme is born. Who says Singaporeans don't have a sense of humour?

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Marina Bay
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We are… always looking ahead

History? Culture? Preservation? Look around you, does this look like a fishing village? Exactly. We’ve got supertrees, the world’s longest indoor waterfall, the only Formula One night race. We have no time for nostalgia, just to bemoan it when it’s dead, dying or on its way out. Similarly, we have no time for old buildings – or anything that predates the 1970s – how else are we all going to become overnight millionaires if not for an en-bloc sale?

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