8 stereotypes Singaporeans are tired of hearing…


I’ve lived in and out of Singapore over the years, travelled through four continents and am always sometimes surprised by how others view me once they find out my nationality. Here are some exchanges I’ve found common over the years… the things that people from other countries say to us all. the. time.


1. They’re surprised we speak English


Them: “Where is your accent from?”

Me: “Singapore.”

Them: “Wow! Your English is amazing!”

Me: “Er. Thanks! Yours is not bad either.”


2. They can’t understand how ethnicity and nationality are different


Them: “Where are you from?”

Me: “Singapore”

Them: “Really?! You don’t look Singaporean.”

Me: “I don’t? Well I am. Second-generation.”

Them: “No. Where are you parents from?”

Me: “They’re from Singapore.”

Them: “Er…. So you’re from India?”

Me: *facepalm*


3. They find us overly by-the-book


(…it is rumoured we are all suffering from OCD)

Me: “What time is the bus coming?”

Them: “Around 5pm.”

Me: “Is it around 5pm? Or 5pm? The sign says 4:30pm”

Them: “Between 4:30pm and 5pm.”

Me: “What?!?! But it says!!!!” *begins to self-destruct*


4. They are envious of how very clean & green Singapore is


(…the real reason why we’re so clean and so green…)

Them: “Ah yes. Singapore. I was there in 2001. Very clean. Very green.”

Me: “Yes. Yes it is.”


5. They pass judgment about how controlled Singapore is


Them: “Ooooh no chewing gum! Careful not to dance on the bartop. You might get caned.”

Me: “Yes. It’s a hard life. Not sure how we do it really. It was nice to have met you…” *walks away*


6. They think they know the local lingo


Them: “Oh Singaporean! Hello lah!”

Me: “That’s not how it works. There is a grammar and a syntax to Singlish. Seriously, don’t try.”

Them: “Oh so strict you are lah! Aiyo lah!”

Me: “Please stop.”


7. They think we’re overly uptight


Them: “Wow, you’re pretty uptight. Relax.”



8. And that we like to complain…


Me: “So it’s 5:15pm and the bus is still not here. Why is that? Can I speak to your manager?”

Them: “Dude it’s 15 minutes, chill.”

Me: “I have to be somewhere at 5:30pm! I am deeply disappointed by the service you have provided today.” *frantically begins to type strongly-worded complaint email to management*


8. And we’re food-obsessed


Them: “For lunch I know this great restaurant that serves carbonara.”

Me: “OMG yum! Carbonara Napoli style? Or Sicillian?! What about putanesca? I LOVE putanesca. But with fusilli not fettucine. Never fettucine. Okay what about dinner.We should totally start planning dinner now.”

Them: “It’s 9am! Can you calm down about the food? Jeez.”



Aw hell, maybe no one understands us. Or perhaps I’m just insane. (Editor: Distinct possibility!)

At the end of a long trip there is no better feeling than getting into the taxi at Changi Airport, slamming the door and saying “Uncle, Beach Rd” Only to have a heated intense, Singlish-drenched discussion about prawn noodles, briyani and ah balling.

Majulah Singapura!








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