Singapore Identity


The Stuff That Makes Us Singaporean

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.22.47 AMBy: Samantha Pereira, Annabelle Maria Jeffrey and Lakshmi Ganesan

Have you been trying to figure out what makes up the Singapore identity? Generally, we do get a lot of flack for the qualities we possess, but instead of being sour about it, we should be out there celebrating them instead because it’s just one-of-a-kind. Check out some of the few traits that can be seen in any pure bred Singaporean, be it young or old.

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Besides the urge to place everything on, we love documenting everything, from having our first tooth removed to that bowl of ramen noodles, it is all about the pictures and videos. A nation ruled by their smartphones, it is easy to spot a Singaporean in an international crowd, which is the one looking fixedly at their phones. The downside to this? Everything you do could be captured by someone else, and you could unwillingly get your 5 minutes of fame.


Singaporean men have been referred to as a pampered, lazy bunch, but then again that’s the generalisation for most men in the world. But what differentiates Singaporean men from the others is the ability to lug their girlfriend/wife’s handbag around. Ubiquitously seen all around the island, it is without a doubt a sign of love, so nicely done men for standing out.


Trying to get a seat at coffee shops during lunch or dinner times is nearly impossible with the huge crowd. But Singaporeans have found a way to get their seats and still stand in a queue without worrying they’ll lose their place. Called ‘tissue-choping’, which involves placing a packet of tissue on either the table or chair, this signifies that the terrain is theirs and no one is able take it.

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A skill we’ve all honed over the years, complaining is one thing we’re definitely good at. If there’s an opinion to be shared, we’re there with arms wide open waiting for the next person to come at us with another opinion we can tear down. We even carry on this habit with our friends and family, so rather than whine about how much we do it, collectively if we embrace it, we’d be a lot less finicky about just listening.


It’s a far cry to call Singaporeans emotionless because have you seen one in a sale? All hell breaks loose. Be it the ability to make money out of selling Hello Kitty dolls to lining up for a sale, Singaporeans can conjure up a frenzy whenever they want to. We’re still not sure where the bursts of energy come from, but the only way to rile up a Singapore: cut that queue.


Whether they’re 50 or 70, Singaporean aunties(as we all politely call them) are moving into the ‘IN’ crowd with their fashionable pieces. Usually attired in tights and the latest patterned tops, you’ve got to cheer them on for the effort they put in to dress up when heading to the nearest convenience store or supermarket. There are even dedicated shops that sell clothes which suit the personal styles of these aunties. Fancy slippers and bags, they’re wearing it all.


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You’ve seen or done it: fake sleeping while commuting. There could be different motives behind this act: a) You’re really trying to fall asleep. b) You don’t want to give up your seat. Some of the signs indicate that you’re faking it is that once your stop is announced, you’re suddenly all wide-eyed and alert. It could also mean you’re a light sleeper but we’ve all been there, right?