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Living in Singapore, from the USA

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Culture, Shopping, and Recreation in Singapore

Expats in Singapore will find it easy to explore the local customs and cultures of the city-state. Different cultural influences are reflected in public holidays, food culture, art, and even the shopping districts of the city. There is a lot to discover in Singapore!

Singapore’s local customs and culture are largely defined by the main ethnic groups that make up the population. Chinese, Indian, Malay, and western influences are palpable in the city-state and make for a unique diversity of culture. Ethnic and religious equality and harmony are very important in Singapore. To keep the peace, strict laws have been implemented prohibiting spitting, littering, jay walking, and even chewing gum, among others. You will also come across many different temples, churches, and mosques, some of which you are free to visit. However, it’s important that you show some respect and cover your hair, shoulders, or legs if necessary.

Food Culture, Art, Shopping, and Leisure

If you think you might get bored in Singapore, think again! There is always something to do here. Santosa is probably one of the most famous and exciting locations in Singapore, with water parks, beaches, and lots of green spaces. Adrenaline junkies can pass the time at skate parks, paintball facilities, or at Forest Adventure where they can swing from tree to tree. Another much-favored activity of Singaporeans is dining. Indeed, the city-state has an amazing food culture. Most people head to the outdoor food courts, hawker centers, for traditional Chinese, Indian, or Malay meals at very reasonable prices. Singapore is a shopping paradise with malls, department stores, and little shops that cater to every taste and need. Orchard Road is probably the most popular shopping area and home to high-class designers. However, Kampong Clam, Chinatown, or Little India are very popular as well and harbor some great shopping locations. Art is abundant in the small country that is home to variety of museums and galleries and draws in artists from all over the world. Even if you are done with museums, you should not miss out on the many art and culture festivals in the city.

Public Holidays

Singapore’s public holidays reflect the different religions and ethnic influences which are prevalent in the small country. Among the 11 public holidays are the Chinese New Year, Vesak Day (a Buddhist holiday), Deepavali (the Hindu festival of lights), and some Muslim celebrations such as Eid al-Fitr. They are usually the perfect opportunity to learn more about your neighbors’ and friends’ customs and religious beliefs. The only public holiday which does not have a religious background and which is also the most important one in Singapore is National Day. On that day, a patriotic vibe is palpable all throughout the city. The big parade and the fireworks are surely the highlight of the National Day celebrations.

InterNations Expat Magazine