10 Unique Things That Singaporeans Can Enjoy in Their Country

10 Unique Things That Singaporeans Can Enjoy in Their Country Despite COVID-19 

From the early arrival of COVID-19 vaccines to Disney+, there’s plenty for Singaporeans to be proud of.

Whether it’s the efficient vaccine roll-out or the resumption of leisure activities, it’s become clear in the past couple of months that Singapore is one of the best places to weather this pandemic. For some international travellers, looking at the fun things that Singaporeans get to enjoy right now is a recipe for FOMO, like that meme of Squidward staring out the window as Spongebob and Patrick frolic with glee. 

But it comes from a place of admiration. If a clean and green city sounds enviable to anybody living outside of Singapore, that’s because it’s hard not to want these things. Here, we look back on the moments that made Singaporeans happy to live where they are, as well as a few jabs thrown in for good measure. Because when it comes to using humour as a coping mechanism, that’s something this fine city can do just as well. 

1. A competent government you can actually trust

Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong addressing the press. | Image credit: Ministry of Communications and Information

If you’re a foreigner tuning into the announcements of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong or Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, it’s hard not to feel anything else but admiration. Okay, and maybe a bit of envy, too. When it comes to the response to the COVID-19 crisis, there can be no doubt that the Singapore government’s clear, consistent, and transparent public health communication strategy has proven essential to building trust among citizens. 

Given the country’s pandemic response, it’s no surprise to hear that Singapore is where many people want to work and live in 2021. On 28 Jan 2021, Singapore was revealed to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world, based on an annual global survey from Transparency International. Ranking in third place alongside Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden, Singapore was the only country in Asia to reach the top 10. 

2. Getting vaccinated early while the rest of the world watches

From having a fully vaccinated airline to administering more than 600,000 jabs to date, Singapore is enjoying steady progress in its mass vaccination programme. Not only was it the first country in Asia to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, but even the latest shipment of Moderna vaccines have arrived earlier than expected. Singapore expects to fully inoculate its population by the third quarter of 2021, according to The Straits Times

By the way, did we mention that COVID-19 vaccines in Singapore are free

Also read: Travel After the COVID-19 Vaccine: 5 Key Things to Keep in Mind 

3. Flights to nowhere, “glampcations,” and other creative approaches to travel

10 Things Singaporeans Can Enjoy in Their Country

Jewel Changi Airport is a tourist attraction all on its own. | Image credit: Matteo Morando

It turns out that flights to nowhere were just the beginning of Singapore’s clever and inventive ways to inspire people to dream about travel again. Fuelling the pent-up demand of Singaporeans, there has been an upswing in staycations, cruises, nature escapes, and fun tours around the city. 

Thanks to SingapoRediscovers vouchers, Singaporeans are slowly rediscovering the beauty of their country. From stylish “glampcationsat Jewel Changi Airport (possibly the most glamorous and appealing twist on the “-cations” concept yet) to lesser-frequented attractions like an underground bunker, you can support local businesses and explore all that the Little Red Dot has to offer here

4. Travel bubbles, green lanes, and now vaccine certifications

May we see a COVID-19 passport, please? | Image credit: Vitalii Petrushenko via Canva Pro 

Equally praiseworthy about Singapore is how the country has managed to curb the spread of COVID-19 while paving the way for economic growth. Singapore and Hong Kong are in talks to resume travel bubbles soon, on top of segregated travel lanes for business travellers from all countries for up to 14 days. The future of overseas travel also looms bright for Singapore, which is considering the idea of “vaccine passports” or a mutually recognised vaccine certification with other countries. 

5. Man’s best friend: a talking robot barks orders to remind you to social distance

When video clips of a talking robot dog roaming Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park circulated online in May 2020, some netizens on Twitter called it the “most Singaporean pandemic content” to emerge from the pandemic, and boy, do we agree. 

As far as tech innovations go, a robo-dog that commands park goers to observe social distancing ranks pretty high on the most amusing things about Singapore. This walking, talking  government initiative on four legs is named Spot. Hopefully, he doesn’t gain sentience and rise up to revolt against us.

6. A pandemic baby bonus — hold up, what?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. According to CNA, the Singapore government wanted to encourage more citizens to have babies by offering a one-time S$3,000 stipend for parents of infants born from 1 Oct 2020 to 30 Sep 2022

Called the “Baby Support Grant,” the stipend supports eligible parents by helping them with the costs of raising a child during the pandemic. Quick, there’s still time! 

7. The birth of this adorable lion cub

Simba’s name is a nod to Disney’s The Lion King. | Image credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore Official Facebook Page

One of the viral events to win “oohs” and “aahs” from the Internet? This newborn African lion cub named Simba, who happens to be Singapore’s first locally born lion cub. Born in the Singapore Zoo in October 2020, Simba was conceived via assisted reproduction to continue his father Mufasa’s bloodline. 

Wildlife Reserves Singapore says that Simba is growing healthily. At least before he becomes an alpha predator, we can fawn over this photograph of him drinking milk from a bottle as a cuddly bundle of joy. 

Also read: Newborn Lion Cub Simba Warmly Welcomed in Singapore Zoo

8. Social gatherings of up to eight people

10 Things Singaporeans Can Enjoy in Their Country

So, who’s going to break the bad news to the ninth friend in your group? | Image credit: Jacob Lund via Canva Pro 

Effective from 28 Dec 2020, the Ministry of Health announced that social gatherings of up to eight people can resume as the country moves into Phase 3. Households in Singapore can also welcome up to eight visitors at any given time. Even malls and indoor live venues have increased their capacity limits. 

All the pre-pandemic experiences and the exciting things that Singaporeans enjoy, like relaxing in a charming café or meeting up with their significant other, are back in business. 

9. Romance

10 Things Singaporeans Can Enjoy in Their Country

Love at a socially acceptable distance. | Image credit: lumineimages via CanvaPro

Speaking of meeting up with people: While some residents in other countries were suddenly feeling the “love lockdown” and the struggles of long-distance relationships, Singaporean couples didn’t have to wait too long before reuniting with their partners. 

For one, there’s the fact that Singapore is, well, pretty small. Even though many couples found themselves separated by stay-at-home orders during the circuit breaker on 7 Apr 2020, the partial lockdown was eventually lifted on 2 Jun 2020. 

Thankfully, couples living in the country were able to meet with their sweethearts again — with social distancing measures in place, of course. Three months can feel like forever, but that’s a shorter period of time spent apart, compared to what Singapore’s neighbours had to endure. 

10. Disney+

10 Things Singaporeans Can Enjoy in Their Country

What is the MCU, if not spoilers persevering? | Image credit: Disney

Have your friends been dropping WandaVision memes on your feed and you have no idea what any of them mean? On 23 Feb 2021, the House of the Mouse finally arrived in Singapore with Disney+, where subscriptions start at S$11.98 a month or S$119.98 a year. Congratulations, Singaporeans. You can uninstall VPN now. 

With buzzworthy shows like The Mandalorian and WandaVision inviting audiences to tune in, Disney’s streaming platform contains more than 650 movies and 15,000 episodes in its catalogue. It’s putting up a fight against Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, for sure.  

Based on the different cultures of Southeast Asia, Raya and the Last Dragon is now available for streaming on Disney+ in Singapore and Indonesia. | Image credit: Disney 

One of the most anticipated movies of the year to arrive on Disney+ is Raya and the Last Dragon. Set in the lush fantasy kingdom of Kumandra, the animated movie about a warrior princess (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) and a water dragon (Awkwafina) gained attention when it became the first Disney movie to feature a Southeast Asian heroine, as well as the first Filipino song performed by KZ Tandingan. 

Also read: 47 Upcoming Movies We Can’t Wait to See in 2021

On that note — is anyone going to bring up the fact that Raya and the Last Dragon still isn’t available for the majority of Southeast Asia? No? I guess we’ll always have Avatar: The Last Airbender

Featured image credit: zefart | via Canva Pro 

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