Time is due for another relocation post. Sometimes, I think I bash my home country too much. Feeling a little unpatriotic but I do miss Singapore and here are the things I missed about her (excluding my friends and family) and have been taking granted for.


Yes, Singapore is a fine city/country. We fined, canes, jailed wrongdoers for the slightest mistake. Jaywalkers (people who cross the road without using a pedestrian crossing when there is one in sight) can be charged and fined up to $1,000, or jailed up to three months. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 or jailed up to six months.

There’s the long list of fines we are famously known for but it is also what keep Singapore safe to walk alone in the middle of the night without the fear of harassment or robbery. I used to club and come home alone tipsy at 3am, with the taken for granted knowledge that no harm will come to me.

Yeah, young and obnoxious me.

Now living in Kuala Lumpur, I get tutted by my friends if I go out past 8pm. No more short dresses for me unless I’m accompanied by a beefy man namely my husband (hey, I may be a mommy but I still can rock in my short skirts and spiked heels).

In Shanghai, I became so wary of strangers coming right up to me (even though they might be harmless, asking for directions) because of their infamous scams. The advice the locals gave me was ‘Help No one, Speak to No Strangers and No direct eye contact’. I can’t even help an old lady cross the streets or help a child up when he fell in front of me because it might be a grand scam of scammers waiting in the shadows, jumping right at the opportunity once I touched the old lady or the child to accuse of me harming them in some ways and demanding medical compensation.

Dangers are very real in the rest of the world. Unlike in Singapore, you still are able to see wallets, phones, and laptops lying around in public areas unattended.


So for safety reasons, Singapore still come up on top of my list being the best country in that aspect.


Singaporeans are sooooo pampered that they think (and I used to think) that walking under the hot sun for 15 mins will kill us. We demand that we have bus stops within 5 mins walking distance from each other and sheltered walkways to wherever we are going. We whine about every single delay of our MRT (subway). I really miss my transportation in Singapore. I didn’t have to own a car or to be able to drive since I can get around easily (even with a stroller) from Point A to B.

No such luxury in Kuala Lumpur.

Pavements are so bad that my stroller will die on me before I get to my destination. Either that or I’ll trip on the uneven pavement or overgrown tree roots and fall to my death. Kuala Lumpur’s public transportation never brings you anywhere except when you are in KLCC (city center), really makes you think that their subway is more for the tourists than the residents.

Shanghai’s transportation systems aren’t so bad, in fact, they are pretty efficient like Singapore’s except for the smell. Even the cabs smell horrible. The cabs don’t really turn on their air conditioner in Spring or Autumn to save on diesel so you get to breathe in all the pollution that Shanghai road has to offer.


Do you know in Singapore, water can be drank directly from the tap? Lucky Singaporeans. Something I definitely take for granted.

In Shanghai, the water is unfiltered and dirty. You never thought about how important filtered water is to your daily life until you have to use mineral / bottled water to:

  • cook (even instant noodles)
  • make coffee / tea
  • brush your teeth
  • shower
  • wash dishes
  • water the plants

Yes, it is that horrible. Sometimes, the water comes out sandy or muddy. I worked out the sum of installing my own water filtration system, I’m better off buying huge gallons of mineral water.

Same goes for Kuala Lumpur except their water isn’t as horrible. And the water filtration system is not as expensive due to stiff competition. But we have a water shortage here every 2 months. It means to say we might not have water for the entire day, sometimes three days in a row.


If you live in a condominium with good management, they’ll install water tanks that cater to such situations and you pray hard that it is enough to go around. You may laugh about it but I have been to restaurants only to be turned away because there is no water for the Chef to cook and hotels that instruct guests not to shower because there isn’t enough water.


Singapore is well known for its efficiency in everything we do. Things are done quickly and in the most effective manner in order not to inconvenience anyone. Singaporeans when encounter a process bottleneck, we complain. Waited in the queue for more than 10 mins, we complain. When the service is not polite enough, we complain. I would say Singapore is pretty efficient but not as efficient as Shanghai.

When comes to Shanghai, I love love love their efficiency. MacDonald’s delivery is only 15 mins away. My fries are still piping hot! But Singapore still pretty good at it, beating hands down at Kuala Lumpur. When my fridge broke down, it takes 3 days for the repairman to come just to take a look to see what’s wrong despite me describing in details. And another 2 more days for him to get the spare parts to fix it.

Urgh! 5 days without milk, butter, ice cream!!

And oh, when the delivery guy says he is coming at 2pm, you can expect him to only be at your doorstep at 5pm.


Singapore and Shanghai supermarkets are awesome. I haven’t had an incident where I bought products with expired dates and had to return them. Unlike in Kuala Lumpur, you’ve got to check the expiry dates on Every.Single.Thing! Some products have expiry dates past a year ago. I had even bought dairy products with expiry date past a month ago. So it does get some getting used to.

As Malaysia is a Muslim country, pork and non-halal stuff are situated in different parts of the supermarkets. It is usually in an isolated corner and you’ll have to pay and bag your goods separately from your other groceries. It can be irritating if you don’t have a grocery list and kept going back and fro to the non-halal section which is sometimes located outside of the supermarket.

And for those who are serious in their piggies like I am, it can be hard to find certain parts of the pig like the internal organs (liver / kidney / intestines). Yes, I do eat those and make them into a delicious meal.

Definitely not for the squeamish.

There you have it, my top 5 list of the things I missed in Singapore and now being in Kuala Lumpur allows me to appreciate it even more.

What are the things you take for granted when you lived or currently living now? Do share with us in the comments below.

If you like to hear more of my views of Singapore, these might interest you:
Feeling Disappointed At Singapore’s Legal System – An Innocent Child’s Life Is At Stake
My Life: Kuala Lumpur vs Singapore

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62 replies on “5 Surprising Things We Take For Granted In Singapore (I never knew until I live overseas)

  1. Singapore! ! Excellent country!:D
    Your Roots is Singapore? Lovely! !
    In Japan, there are many ppl going to Singapore with education training or graduation travels etc…:D

    By the way, in Singapore,
    It’s also prohibition to flag other countries’ flags even though in the room, is it true?
    Gum is prohibited to bring in, is it?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, Singapore is my homeland. I love my country, flaws and all. It’s not so harsh as to flag other countries flags if you do it privately and in a positive way. Example during Olympic if you are supporting your own country.

      As for gum, you can bring in gum for your own consumption not for commercial selling.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You know, the things you mentioned in this post are but a pipe dream here in the Philippines.

    * You’d best not roam around Philippine streets at night, lest you get mugged. More so if you are a foreigner.

    * Transport here is in pretty bad shape – from the trains, to the buses, even the jeepney (which most foreigners get interested in). And don’t get me started with the condition of the roads and how most Philippine drivers are behind the wheel.

    * Efficiency isn’t exactly the best trait the Philippines has. Just look at how long it takes for one to get necessary government documents.

    Those are just some of the points I can’t help but compare my country with, and all of that – during my three-day trip to the Lion City.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Comparing Singapore with countries that I have lived in, Singapore is a dream place. But she has her cons as well. It isn’t as gracious as I would love it to be and it is very expensive city to live in, let alone retire.

      I do hope you enjoyed your visit to my homeland.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely! I, for one, admire how efficient and safe Singapore’s transport system is – from the barrier doors in every station, to the timely arrival of every bus that we wait for just outside Paya Lebar Square. I’d surely be back!

        Though, I do concur with you on the rather expensive cost of living there. In addition, I saw ah kongs and amahs still working way beyond their retirement years during my visit. In the Philippines, they would most likely be receiving government-mandated pension to tide them over.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Unfortunately, we don’t have the pension system in Singapore. Whatever is left in their savings or CPF, it tied down with the property they are living in so mostly all the ah gong and amahs will need to work for a living. Singapore is not a place to retire!

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting article, I guess we got it pretty good here in America, as long as you got the money to pay for what you need it is all right at your finger tips. Safety is different in parts of our country, the big city’s can be unsafe after dark but we do have good drinking water and transportation in most of the country. The biggest problem we have here is it cost a lot of money to live here. We have a lot of people living in RV’s now because they can’t afford housing, but they say they like living that way. One reason it cost so much to live is we have to pay a lot of taxes, everything is taxed here and it just keeps getting worse.
    Have a super wonderful day.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for sharing this about America with us. I know the ridiculous cost of living in big cities. As much as I think living in an RV is cute with the freedom to uproot and go but I wouldn’t call it home. Singapore is pretty low on taxes but everything else is expensive as well, including healthcare. I wish my country would do something about the rising cost of healthcare.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Very interesting post. I think Singapore sounds really great. Kuala Lumpur sounds, unfortunately, like the country I grew up – Trinidad and Tobago (except for the pork restriction). Just like Malaysia, Trinidad is relatively wealthy, due to oil, but plagued by slow service, inefficient bureaucracy and a lot of crime (worse than Malaysia though). And when I was young, we also had water shortages from time to time, like once a week, though that stopped by the time I was in a teenager.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You grew up in an exotic part of the world. I know many people think that Asia is exotic but for an Asian, Trinidad is as exotic as it gets.

      Thanks for sharing this part of you with us. I’ll share a little secret… I feel like a tourist in Singapore whenever I get the chance to go back. I’m falling in love with Kuala Lumpur. The food here casted a spell on me that I can’t leave. Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess I did. For people there, Asia is pretty exotic too. When I was growing up, many of my classmates never knew what Hong Kong was and they always thought all Chinese people knew kungfu.
        Is the food better in KL than Singapore? As I only spent a few days in Singapore and KL, I can’t tell because food in both places are great.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes, KL food is much better than Singapore’s. For one good reason, most of the food in KL is cooked or prepared by the Malaysians whereas food in Singapore is usually cooked by foreign workers. So even if the food is the same, the taste is so much different.

          There are still people from different parts of the world who thinks Singapore is a part of China. Sigh!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s interesting to know since I didn’t realize most food in Singapore is cooked by foreign workers. I trust the hawker center food are cooked by locals though?

            Ha, yes, that is annoying when people don’t even know your country.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Haha. The local Hawkers in Singapore are nearly all from China if you look closely enough. There are still Singaporeans who cook their own cook but they won’t be at those touristy Hawker centres.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Oh wow, I didn’t realize that. I also didn’t know the hawker centres were touristy. I thought the appeal of them were that they weren’t touristy, ha.

            Liked by 2 people

          4. I went to one in Chinatown but it was kind of old and not very fancy. So perhaps that one was catering to the locals.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. Yes, it was one that was on the second floor. It was near the Buddha tooth temple and MRT station. That’s interesting if you know the very one that I went to.

            Liked by 2 people

          6. I know that place! I grew up in Chinatown. Haha. Yes, that is an awesome place. A mixture of both foreigners and local cooks though. Depending what you ate.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Nice, what a coincidence, ha. That’s interesting you grew up in Chinatown. I guess you must have gone to that hawker center many times.
            I went there mid-afternoon so some stalls were closed and there didn’t seem to be many tourists. I probably had food from a local cook.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. THANK YOU for this informative POST.

    Living in America is a Blessing most of us {ME TOO} take for granted.

    God has so Blessed US and so many of us keep trying to screw it up. GO FIGURE. Abortion “Rights” LEGISLATED; even “Gay “marriages””; Legislated. How so many can support this agenda is a dismal reflection of OUR Nations relationships with OUR God.

    Easter Blessings for a few more day’s

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My closest frame of reference was when we relocated from Arizona to Jeju, Korea, in the late ’80’s. Appliances were smaller, water was scarcer and more regulated, and shopping selections were narrower. On the other hand, buses and taxis were more common and cheaper, people-even when they mocked us, were friendlier and we enjoyed four seasons. There is always a trade-off.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. I hope it wasn’t too tough for you and your family to adapt. I am lucky having to relocate twice to places where cultures that I’m already familiar with and I still find it hard sometimes to blend in with the locals.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I found, also, in visiting Taiwan and Japan, during time in Jeju, that there was a great deal of diversity, even among Confucian-based cultures, just as there is among Christian and Islamic-based cultures elsewhere. Then, there were regional differences between various parts of Korea.

            Liked by 2 people

  7. (hey, I may be a mommy but I still can rock in my short skirts and spiked heels).
    This made me laugh…My sentence would be, since I am not a mummy, ‘hey, I may be almost 46 but… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Let me continue for you, Patty! “ hey you may be almost 46 but you still get catcalls and wolf whistles when you are deck in your Little Black Dress!”

      Yes, I have receive your email! I’ll get round to it soon, I promise.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I love Singapore and visit it at every possible opportunity… but, and this is just an observation of an outsider & tourist… but over the years, I have visited Singapore 6 times and there is a gradual degradation of most things… it’s not as clean as it was the first time I visited, services have also changed… stuff like that. Would love to know your take on that…


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