There are a few things that I dislike about my favourite country.
While Singapore is known across the globe as one of the most-progressive nations in the whole of Asia, and also known as a major economic powerhouse, and also known as the only country to have safe drinkable tap water within a 2000-mile radius, there are still some annoying things about my favourite country that I just have to get off my chest!
The lack of government control over fake consumer goods, like at Sim Lim Square. We have all heard horror stories of people being conned out of their hard-earned money in Singapore, and I cannot understand why the Government do not do more to prevent this from happening. Jakarta? Definitely. Kuala Lumpur? Yeah, probably. But it is NOT what I expect from shopping in Singapore, and we are all looking for the Government to crack down on the fraudsters – but it never seems to happen! Why not?!
The late opening of shops. For a European like me, I am used to the day beginning at 8am or 9am (except Sundays) and this is when we can start our shopping. However, in Singapore, shops seem to open at around 11am instead. This means that tourists are encouraged to wake up late before they can start doing anything, which for an early-riser is not the best thing.
The Monsoon Season. Nobody can avoid the monsoon season in Singapore, but I still hate it! Roads become flooded and the infamous storm drains don’t work properly! I know it always rains in this part of the world (pretty much every afternoon when I am there!) but in Monsoon Season the rains are heavier and last for longer, often for hours at a time! That is WAY TOO LONG to be stuck sheltering under a shop roof to keep dry. I once spent 2 hours in a shop in Universal Studios Singapore during Monsoon Season simply waiting to run back to the taxi rank at RWS. Aarrgh, frustrating!
The strict rules that nobody seems to care about anyway. Chewing gum? Jaywalking? Criticising the Government? Being gay? Strictly speaking, none of these are legal in Singapore – yet many a Singaporean will cross the road without waiting for the Pedestrian Light to flash; they don’t care much, so why should the tourists? While I understand and respect that different cultures have different expectations, the lack of freedom of press and freedom of sexual preference in particular are reflecting very poorly on Singapore. It is a very modern society in many ways, but just lets itself down on these issues.
Mosquitoes carrying Dengue becoming more and more prominent. Despite active Government campaigning to make sure Singapore stays Dengue-free (and let’s face it, at least Singapore cares, unlike in Indonesia, where very few policies exist to battle these dangerous mozzies), there has been more and more cases of Dengue-related illnesses and even deaths over the past few years, even in tourist hotspots like Orchard Road! It seems more still needs to be done to make sure Singapore stays Dengue-free.
Racial segregation still exists, despite people pretending it doesn’t. Whenever I’m in Singapore, I never see Chinese people socialising with Indians. There are always ethnic cliques that segregate one race from the other. It seems the Chinese and north Asians are more suited-up and based in offices, whereas the Indians and south Asians are more suited to the construction work on building sites. If you want some advice on your home insurance, go to a Chinese. If you want a fence erected in your back garden, go to an Indian. Let’s stop pretending that that discrimination doesn’t exist in Singapore – IT DOES. And for a nation that prides itself on having 10 official religions, it’s just not good enough.
(BTW, if you want to eat some great char kway teow, go to a Malay).
The price of accommodation. The final thing in my list is the abhorrent price of accommodation in Singapore. As a tourist and a frequent visitor to the country, I have a lot of experience in hostels and hotels of all price-ranges. However, when you compare these prices to those of nearby KL and Bangkok then it is almost double and treble respectively! I know Singapore is a great nation and is much more developed than its neighbours, but there’s no need to charge S$200 per night (£100) for a 3 star hotel. Taxis are quite cheap and food is very cheap if you use hawkers, so why is real estate so expensive in comparison?
Are you Singaporean or do you travel to Singapore a lot? What do you think of my pet-hates? Let me know what you hate about the country, if anything.