Expat leaving to USA: Lack of ‘interestingness’ makes it hard to love Singapore

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A Reddit user, jjhaha, who has lived in Singapore for five years and is leaving to the USA soon said that there are certain things that he will miss about the island, but that it is difficult to love the country. He listed 3 reasons which make it difficult for foreigners to call Singapore “home” and use it more like a “transit point to somewhere else”.

He said the lack of homegrown inspiration in the local arts, bands, films scene is one big reason why Singapore lacks ‘interestingness’. Another reason he said was because Singaporeans don’t open up to foreigners. He also faulted Singaporeans ‘kiasu’ attitude as another reason why he will bid adieus to the island-state for good.

The following is what the Reddit user said.


It’s been an interesting 5 years where I’ve learned a lot so I wanted to share my experience with everyone. I don’t want this to be a critique but an assessment of my thoughts as I prepare to leave. I’m leaving because of family reasons. I want to be closer to my family and ready to start my own.

A bit of background:

  • I’ve been in Asia for over 10 years so I’m not an Asian noob. I’ve bribed cops, ate dog meat, have slept in jungles, etc.
  • None of my companies that I’ve worked for have ever given me a “package”. I pay my own rent, I buy my own lunch, etc.
  • Sometimes I’m more kiasu than locals. Carohell? yeah, most likely me (50% off? can? so how?.. fuck cold storage, I only buy sale items at shen siong.. I’m always the first one into a bus cause I know how to box out aunties..etc)

What I’ll miss:

  • Changi – more specifically, the automated immigration gates and the security check at each gate. This means I can show up 1 hour before my flight and still have time to spare to eat Texas Chicken at the Jetstar terminal.
  • sales at Uniqlo – I’ll wait until the clothes I want is on sale and it always does. Now my wardrobe is about 80% uniqlo clothes.
  • Spize – Its good and the portion sizes are big, so that means I have a meal for the next day.
  • MBS – the casino. I think I’m up like $2K there and its funded a few vacations and paid for a few celebration macaroons from TWG.
  • M1 – I enjoyed getting 5gb data for $30/month and also 300MB fiber internet for $35/month, mostly without contracts.
  • * Old Airport Rd hawker – I think this place has the highest density variety+tasty. I was here at least once a month.
  • * Sheltered walkways – For having such a rainy climate, I can move around fairly easily without an umbrella.
  • * Challenger – I enjoy looking at gadgets and it was nice having one close to where I lived
  • * Koi/GongCha/Fruces – I know I should cut out this habit but I’m always down for a cup of milk tea + aloe vera
  • * Robertson Quay canal – Its one of the few places I run at almost every week

What I won’t miss:

  • Lack of fresh, variety veggies in local diet – yo! where’s the veggies? its all meat + carbs.
  • the car traffic – for not having a large car density, i’ve never been in or seen so many traffic accidents. I generally fear for my life crossing the street.
  • gov’t marketing – my youtube and bus rides are littered with dumb gov’t marketing ads. I understand many need more etiquette training but the execution is awful.
  • Singlish – its a bit harsh on the ears. Not my favorite slang/accent.
  • lack of homegrown inspiration – I know this is a bigger discussion, but there is a lack of “interestingness” from local bands, films, art, etc.
  • trying hard to get closer to locals – I know most of you are introverts but damn, open up a little more
  • kiasu/etiquette – again, this is a bigger discussion but this culture style is totally self inflicted and won’t change until there’s more enlightenment. i would say “just chill out”

I think for most of us foreigners, we generally like it here but its hard to really love. I think its the last 3 points that discourages from really calling Singapore “home” and more like a transit point to somewhere else. Just a place to see and experience but can’t be there for long because something is missing.

Thanks Singapore, its been fun, we’ve had a lot of good memories.. but its time to bid adieu!