Singapore Has Changed

I used to tell friends who want to visit Singapore that 3 days is enough, and 5 days is too long.

Going to Singapore for 3 days makes you want to go again. If you go for 5 days, you’ll probably have nothing much to do by day 4, you’ll think you never want to go again. However, this recent trip back made me realize that is no longer true. There are so many things to do in Singapore now, it’s kinda difficult to finish all of them in just 3 days. My recent trip to Singapore was so short, there wasn’t even enough time to complete half the things I had planned.

Further, after almost 6 years in Japan experiencing high quality service, I’ve begun to get annoyed by the lack of quality in service back home. But at the same time, I’ve begun to see the side that I love about Singapore service. Staff in Singapore smile, make small talks and joke with you. Ask a simple question about how to get places, they direct you and smile from the bottom of their heart.

In Japan, you get highly professional services: they either don’t smile or put on their business smile. You can tell the smile is a company policy. It feels cold and distant. In the few days back in Singapore, I enjoyed the experience and conversations I had with the cashier at the airport duty free shop, the two aunties at the makan sutra seafood stall, the shop staff at the Far East Plaza apparel shop, the sales representative at the MBS Prada outlet, the staff at Anchorpoint Charles & Keith outlet, and the young staff members at various Sentosa entertainment points. While I do recognize the same kind of sincere smile and service in places like Okinawa and Osaka, the deep down joy and sincerity I experienced was something you don’t get much in Tokyo. That is what the metropolis seems to be lacking.

Granted, we have poor services in Singapore as well, but if I can get such heartwarming interactions with people from time to time, I don’t mind the occasional poor service.

I loved the Singapore of the 80s and 90s, but Singapore has changed and not necessarily for the worse. It’s not a perfect place, but where is?

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