What Makes Us Singaporean?

In the 54 years since Singapore gained its independence, we have grown a lot as a nation. What has shaped our Singaporean identity?

Every country, every culture is unique in its own special way, and Singapore is no exception. Our little red dot has quirks that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Just take a look at well-loved social media sites like SGAG which celebrate hilarious stereotypes or actions that only a Singaporean can understand.

As National Day draws near, let’s commemorate what makes us Singaporean!

Breaking barriers with Singlish

Non-profit organisation Beyond Social Services once specified that their food distribution volunteers need to be comfortable speaking Singlish! This marks the importance of Singlish, and how it’s relatable across different cultural or social backgrounds. Its common tone of casualness and familiarity allow communities to become more comfortable to receive help.

Acting on complaints

No seats at a restaurant. The haze in Singapore. We’ve all heard such complaints. On the flipside, these “complaints” gave rise to restaurant-reservation platform like Chope, and spurred ground-up initiatives to combat the haze, such as People’s Movement To Stop Haze which does outreach, research and advocacy.

The point is: Complaining actually makes Singaporeans realise an overriding problem which needs to be solved. Complaining about how trash everywhere is polluting nature? Why not volunteer with Nature Society organises clean-ups in Pulau Ubin?

More to hawker centres than just food

We love our hawker food so much so that we tried to replicate local flavours in restaurants. Think McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger or KFC’s Cereal Chicken.

Beyond food, our humble hawker centres have helped build community and recreate hints of our beloved Kampong Spirit. They are gathering places for families and friends - some of whom ‘chope’ seats for each other! - and the friendly ‘uncle’ or ‘auntie’ whom we chat with as they whip up our favourite roti prata. Other times, we find ourselves sharing a table with another stranger and chatting with them because of it. It’s even a way for strangers to look after one another, such as at Welcome Cafe Coffee Shop¹ which applies a discount to those in the Merdeka and pioneer generations in Nee Soon South.

This August, let that kampong spirit live on. Happy National Day!

This story was written by our volunteer writer, Shiree Koh.

¹ TNP News

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