Singapore— Michael Francis is a happy, happy man in Singapore. Originally only intending to be here for a year, he’s been in the country for almost a decade. Interviewed about his life in Singapore on a YouTube show called “The Melanated Files,” he enthused about his positive experiences in the country, where his chief complaint is barely one at all.
Mr Francis, who has been living here with his family for nine and a half years, is originally from London. In the 14-minute video clip, he could not stop talking about all his positive experiences in the country.
“I call it Disneyland for adults,” he says, at the very beginning of the clip. “It’s so easy to live here.”
Since the show is all about the experiences of black people all over the world, he was asked about racism.
“I can’t say there’s much racism. There’s a tiny, tiny amount of racism here, it’s so small. It’s ridiculous, you know? I would say there’s none, to be honest with you.”
He says that he feels safe here, in comparison to how he has felt in the UK and Jamaica.
How he ended up in Singapore
Mr Francis’s wife had been offered a job in Singapore, an opportunity, he felt, that came around once in a lifetime. Having been a fireman in the UK, he took a career break that was only supposed to be a few months long and ended up staying for years.
At the moment he is not employed, but volunteers to take pictures at charitable events. He did work here, however, running a stall that sold Jamaican food at Bedok market. The stall got good reviews but had to close the stall down in 2017 when he had to return to London, and then Jamaica, when his mother died.
The other reason for closing down Mike’s Caribbean Food was that he could not get people to staff it, and was basically running a “one-man show.”
Nevertheless, he has been very satisfied with life here. “Gosh, there’s too many things I like here. Sunshine… the easy way of living…I call it Disneyland for adults. It’s so easy to live here.”
Mr Francis was especially enthusiastic about the food in Singapore. “I love the food. You can’t pin me down on one thing I like to eat here. All of it is good.”
He is a particularly a fan of hawker food places, having spent one year sampling chicken rice at different stalls “to find out which one was the best,” and then another just on wanton noodle soup, all over Singapore. On the third year, he tried out laksa, which he says is completely different everywhere he goes.
He especially loves picnicking at Gardens by the Bays, because of the spectacular view.
Another advantage to living in Singapore is that the has gotten to travel to a lot of countries nearby, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Australia.
His biggest problem was the lack of DIY or do-it-yourself chains. “You can’t just turn up somewhere and buy a tool. Yeah, that’s the only thing that I dislike about Singapore,” he said, laughing.
He also loves the people he has met here. “You just have to be open,” he said. He has met a lot of black people here whom he considers as good friends. He says he has a good “black network” here with whom he is close, and that they meet regularly.
He also has good friends among the Malays and Indians, but not so much among the Chinese, since he says he does not normally see many Chinese when he goes out.
“If you’re living next door to one, you don’t normally see them. They’re either inside doing something, or they’re out. Their children are studying.”
He has even found someone who has been able to cut his hair properly, which can be quite a challenge. “He’s Malay, but he’s black anyway,” Mr Francis said. / TISG