With a modern, cosmopolitan society and such diversity of thought in Singapore, young folks may need to rack their minds on what exactly makes the country unique. Furthermore, as a young nation, our culture is continually evolving and being shaped by everyone who calls this place home.
With National Day around the corner, it’s the perfect time to engage your children in the thought-provoking exercise of pointing out uniquely Singaporean traits. Plus, everyone can pick up new knowledge of Singapore history in the process.
Here are a few to get you started:
#1 We are fiercely protective of our hawker culture
Just how serious are Singaporeans about food? Enough for our policymakers to get our hawker culture listed in the Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Found in hawker centres and coffeeshops across the island, hawker food is known for being affordable and delicious, and they even tell stories of our past—some dishes like the satay originated from the 1800s. Even the Michelin Guide inspectors can’t help validating a long list of our street food stalls with Bib Gourmand awards.
#2 Singlish is part of everyday life
Love it or hate it, Singlish has become part of the national fabric. Think of the number of times we felt comforted by the familiar accent of our fellow countrymen during our travels. Or how we can convey our ideas with such efficiency and nuance? You may also be surprised to know that a number of Singlish terms have even made it into the respected Oxford English Dictionary!
#3 On the same note, we are multi-lingual
Anyone who’s been through Singapore’s education system will graduate with proficiency in at least two languages, English and our mother tongue. If you regularly converse with elders in the family or neighbourhood, chances are, you will be picking up common phrases from Chinese dialects, Malay and Tamil as well!
Tip: Want to improve your dialect and bond with your children at the same time? There are private language schools such as this one that offer lessons that you and your family can join together.
#4 We are respectful of all religions
There are few places in the world where you can find a Chinese temple, Hindu temple, mosque and church all within a short stroll of each other. At the famed Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple, you can even find deities from Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism all housed under the same roof. To experience the multi-religious harmony in person, plan an outing with the children to the bustling Bugis Street and Arab Street neighbourhoods to soak in the sights, sounds and smells.
#5 The streets are safe and peaceful
Even foreigners are in awe of the fact that we can enjoy an outdoor run in the wee hours of the morning without fear of being mugged or hurt. Our low crime rate and the well-lit streets have contributed to Singaporeans’ overall sense of safety and assurance at any time of the day—this also makes Singapore a truly wonderful place to live in.