13 dumb questions Singaporeans get asked all the time

Alright, let’s sort this out once and for all
13 dumb things Singaporeans get asked all the time
By Time Out Singapore editors |

We try to answer all your burning questions without letting our eyes roll to the back of our heads. Here we go...

Singapore, China

Is Singapore a part of China?

We've been asked this one too many times in our lives that we’re starting to question if anyone out there studied geography. Simply put, no we’re not part of China. Never have been. We recommend investing in an atlas.

Singapore, Malaysia

Is Singapore a part of Malaysia?

Well, we used to be, but not anymore. Here's a quick history lesson – Singapore merged with Malaysia (then known as Malaya) in September 1963 before the bittersweet separation in 1965, where we officially became independent. 

Chewing gum

Can you really not chew gum in Singapore?

Sigh, poke fun at this all you want but its really one of those questions we’re tired of being asked. Lets make it clear: there's a ban on importing chewing gum into Singapore but it’s not illegal to chew gum here. Plus, we’d rather avoid having jaw cramps anyway and prefer mints.

Singapore skyline evening

Is Singapore a 'fine city'?

No, we're a divine city. Have you seen our stunning city skyline? *Whistles*

Speak english

Do you speak English?

Uh, yes, we do. English’s the most common language used at home and in schools. Most Singaporeans are multilingual or bilingual at least.


What's Singapore’s national language?

Ah, always the follow-up to the previous question. And surprise, it’s not English. Our national language is Malay and we have four official languages spoken here: English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin.


Are durians allowed on the train?

No and for a good reason. Sure, we love durian – we even built a landmark inspired by it for god’s sake – but you gotta admit, it’s one helluva strong smelling fruit.

Merlion, Sentosa, Singapore
Photo: Petegar

Are Merlions real?

Are unicorns real? But in case you wanted to hunt this half-fish half-lion creature down, here are seven spots on the island where you can.


How can you afford anything?

Living in one of the most expensive countries really takes a toll on our bank account. But we’re known (and proud) for being cheapskates so that’s how we’ve managed to thrive in this costly city. All Singaporeans live by this mantra: cheap must buy, free must take.

13 dumb things Singaporeans get asked all the time

Is the weather in Singapore always this hot?

It’s summer here all year-round with an average temperature of 27°C, but we do have our cooler days ­­­– especially during the monsoon period. Recently it’s dipped to 21°C and Singaporeans were practically calling it winter and a "miracle". Frankly, we call it global warming.


Am I using Singlish correctly?

Wah, you think Singlish very easy is it? You don’t anyhow lah and suka suka. It’s sibei chim okay! (Translation: probably not, but we appreciate the effort!)

Jumbo Seafood, Chilli crab
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Where can you get the best local dishes?

This isn’t a dumb question at all. We love getting asked this and we have the best answer for it too. Check out our list of the top 10 Singaporean dishes and where you can find them. You’re welcome.

13 dumb questions Singaporeans get asked

Why are Singaporeans so rude?

You know the saying, don’t let a bunch of rotten apples spoil the whole barrel? Well, here’s where it fits. We think we’re generally nice and kind people (albeit sarcastic), but come on, you’re always going to encounter a couple of rude folks anywhere you go.

Photo: Choo Yut Shing

More to explore