Culture Shock in Singapore

1. On escalators, people keep left. The right is for those who want to climb up.

2. Huge thunderstorms with torrential downpour will wake you up at 4 am. Gotta say that walking outside with heart-stoppingly loud thunder and crazy lightning right above you is pretty scary. Even a walk from my hostel to the bus stop was enough to scare me!

3. Around almost every block, there's a food court or five-story shopping mall. Singapore really, really loves their malls. These food courts or "hawker centres" were built by the government to prevent street vendors from crowding around.

4. It's interesting to me how there are rules prohibiting durian on buses yet prostitution is legalized.

5. Singaporeans are comfortable with being comfortable. They are pretty risk-averse.

6. The heartlands of Singapore, where I am staying, is quaint and quite charming actually.

7. I'm still not used to the amazing genes Asians are blessed with. Whenever I see a young person in corporate clothes, it looks really odd to me since it's like seeing a little kid play dress-up. But in reality, that person is in their late-20s. I think I've gotten pretty good when it comes to guessing the age of Asians. I actually just add 5-10 years to my approximation.

8. In my interactions, Singaporeans may appear difficult to approach, but once a conversation is initiated, they are generally gracious, warm, and can even be friendlier than Southern Californians. Singaporeans are very peaceful people! After all, it's a country that has "no allies or enemies."

9. Singapore is actually a tropical rainforest disguised as a city. Every year, the city has a tree-planting day. When I first took the taxi from the airport to my hostel, I was surprised by how lush the country was. Everywhere you go, where there's not a shopping mall, there is a smorgasbord of beautiful, fertile-looking, deep green trees. Singapore looks like it's perpetually stuck in spring where everything's blooming with the actual temperatures of summer.

Written in Summer 2014.