A few fun facts:
The population of Singapore is around 5.3 million and it is a city and a country that is only around 247 square miles -which is a little smaller than New York City.
That 247 square miles consists of the major island -the city of Singapore-and 59 smaller islands.
It’s only 85 miles north of the equator so that means is hot- every- single-day-of-the-year. Crazy humid and hot. In fact it is a joke here. No need to check the weather everyday because its one of three things- hot and sunny, hot and cloudy or hot and rainy. It’s always around 32 degrees Celsius – 90 degrees Fahrenheit give or take a degree.
Of that 5.3 million people, 2/5 are ex-pats, those from other countries all over the world. My taxi driver last week informed me there are over 90 nationalities represented here in Singapore. Now that’s what you call multi-national.
The best places to eat at the Hawker stalls will be ones with the longest lines. No brainier right? Well not exactly, if you just walk into the market and think ” that looks good” and stop at that stall you might be doing yourself a miss service. Keep walking. You will see that there are probably at least three stalls that serve the same food and it all costs the exact same. The one with the longest line is always your best bet. The difference could mean a 15 min wait compared to a no wait but the difference in taste is totally worth it.
Back to taxi drivers, want to know something get a taxi driver talking. You might only actually understand ever third word because many have very strong accents and speak a lot of Singlish- the Singapore version of English- but they can tell you about anything and are extremely nice.
Speaking of Singlish I have begun to pick a few things here and there:
Can-can (almost sounds like ken-ken) means they can do whatever you are asking. Ask a cab driver to take you somewhere you will hear can-can.
Auntie/Uncle is a sign of respect to someone who is older than you, think of when you would use Mrs or Mr. For example our neighbor is Auntie Monica to the girls. You can also use it for the cab driver or a person out and about that is older than you as a way to be respectful.
Brother/Sister/my friend traditionally someone who is your age would be called brother or sister – like a person you work with or a neighbor- but I’ve been told that many people use my friend now more often in the work place.
I’m still feeling my way through the Singlish but as anywhere I’ve ever been I find that if you ask people with a pure heart and only good intentions they will tell you what something means and even explain.