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38 things people in Singapore do that is different than the rest of the world




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Local actor/producer Michael Chua posted a rather hilarious answer to the question “What do people in Singapore do that is different than the rest of the world” on peer-based question and answer forum Quora.

Listing 38 things that set people in Singapore apart tongue-in-cheek, Chua quickly garnered praise for his wit and accumulated 103,300 post views thus far. We share some of our favorite things people in Singapore do differently than others around the world, as shared by Chua:

  • We reserve tables at hawker (cooked food) centres using tissue paper pads. This very local act is called ‘chope’.
  • We buy Certificates of Entitlement (COE) that can cost six-figures, to entitle us to own a car for ten years. This does not include for the price of the car or the road tax.
  • We buy 99-year leasehold apartments that appreciate in value, before it drops dead to zero at the end of the lease period.
  • Some couples marry so that they can live in such apartments. That said, there are some who divorce so that they can buy another apartment without penalty.
  • We do not have dictatorship, only natural aristocracies.
  • We do not have nepotism, only lack of talent outside the family.
  • An Indian can become Malay, but only if you are qualified by a government appointed council.
  • We do not have financial losses, only ‘long term investments’.
  • We do not have cock-ups, only honest mistakes. Nowadays, we call them ‘signalling problems’.
  • Drink driving for high profile famous people is called ‘having made a judgmental error’.
  • There are no floods in Singapore, only ‘ponding’.
  • A flood that is declared to happen once in 50 years, can happen again within the year.
  • A global search for top executives for government-linked companies will end up with an ex-government bureaucrat filling the vacancy – usually an ex-military general without war experience.
  • Often the Trinity of Government-Employer-Union is one.
  • There used to be the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Goh. Now, a Holy Ghost has joined them.
  • And apparently, there is the Trinity of the Government, PAP and PA.
  • We pay our politicians more than in any other country. Ministers are paid above SGD 1 million (USD 745K), while the Prime Minister is paid SGD 2.2 million (USD1.6M). These high salaries that sound like daylight robbery, are said to be necessary to pre-empt night robbery.
  • If you have to steal from the church, spend the money on your wife. She will get away scot-free, but you will go to jail.
  • For the sake of the environment, we promote reduce-reuse-recycle so well that apartment blocks less than 10 years old are re-sold, demolished and rebuilt,… for profits. So watch out next time you use that extra plastic bag guys.

Read Chua’s full list of 38 things people in Singapore do that is different than the rest of the world here.

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