These foreigners living in S’pore reveal what they love about our little red dot

“Singaporeans have an amazing passion for food.” True story.

By Tan Xing Qi | July 4, 2016

Our little red dot has seen many foreigners come and go. Yet, many grow to love and respect Singapore for what it is, and some even come to consider Singapore their home away from home.

We hear from three foreigners, in their own words, what they love about this little red dot.

Anthony Hoglind, Swedish, 39, Sales Executive

Anthony Hoglind

“Different is very much a matter of perspective.

Being of Swedish Armenian heritage, and having grown up in Lebanon, Jordan, Sweden and Denmark prior to moving to Singapore, I consider myself to be global more than anything.

But I consider Singapore and Copenhagen to be my homes. These are the cities I choose to live in, and are very close to my heart.

What I love about Singapore is the energy, the food, and the people. Singaporeans have an amazing passion for food.

It’s also a place where the sporty can participate in different runs throughout the year. You can go outrigger canoeing from Tanjong Beach to the Islands every weekend.

And there is an evolving arts scene that has gotten more vibrant over the years.

Indeed, the best experiences I have had are a mix of all these aspects – paddling around the islands outside of Sentosa with my friends, picnicking in Fort Canning while watching Shakespeare in the Park, enjoying the live music scene on Haji Lane, and running at MacRitchie Reservoir.”

Goh Wei Choon, Malaysian, 27, postgraduate student

Goh Wei Choon

“I’ve studied in Singapore since I was seven, and my earliest memory was the first day I went to school. Because I stayed in Johor, I had to commute to school across the Causeway every day. My mother would wake me up at five in the morning, prepare breakfast and pack lunch for me to bring along, and shove me on a school bus. She did this for me every weekday for ten years.

I had been to Singapore before, but my first act of “growing up” in Singapore was that very first day on that bus. I cried, and some older Primary Three girls who were veterans of the Johor-Singapore commute consoled me. I got lost at the Customs checkpoint, I almost lost my passport, and I cried some more when I got to school.

I studied in Si Ling Primary School. It was a school with a lot of Malaysian students because it was in the North.

One particularly poignant moment that made me laugh really hard was when I was in secondary school. There had been a particularly nasty jam that morning, and many of the Malaysian students ended up being late for school. We showed up about an hour after school started, and there was a PA broadcast to announce our arrival. It went: “Teachers please note, the Malaysians are coming, I repeat, the Malaysians are coming!” Later in class, my English teacher joked that it sounded like Malaysia was invading. I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

I am currently a Singapore PR, purely due to convenience and logistical reasons. I will likely take up citizenship depending on what happens after I graduate.

I do get a lot of questions on why I haven’t become a Singaporean yet. I love being in Singapore and I enjoy the people, food and culture. I don’t put too much emphasis on my national label. I see my cultural, linguistic and national composition as being 50/50 Singaporean/Malaysian.

Just a random note, Malaysians like saying that Singaporeans are “kiasu”. But 20 years of frequently commuting the Causeway has revealed to me that Malaysians are JUST AS kiasu! I think Malaysians and Singaporeans are essentially the same people separated by geography.”

Assem Zhanaly, Kazakhstani, 27, Financial analyst

Assem Zhanaly

“I love discovering the local culture, no matter where I am travelling. Here in Singapore, its mix of cultures make it even more beautiful. You see a synagogue, mosque and church right next to each other on Waterloo Street, and don’t see them fighting over whose religion is better. That means people respect one another. This takes patience and kindness, and is a great example to the whole world.

People who grow up in Singapore might not be able to appreciate the advantages of living here. Expensive housing and cars are some issues that they face. I come from a developing country, and can appreciate the many conveniences and experiences that Singapore offers. It makes me reflect that we shouldn’t take things for granted.

What do I like about Singapore? I love the trees. Oh they are so pretty! And I love the sense of safety (touch wood).

My best experience in Singapore? Great experiences happen every day. The other day, I took a bus with some friends. One of them didn’t have an EZlink card and we didn’t have cash. A total stranger next to us was very kind; he gave my friend two dollars without us even asking. I was amazed by his gesture. That’s something very significant these days.”


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About Tan Xing Qi

In between episodes of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, Xing Qi deals T-Shirts to unsuspecting Singaporeans through a roadside stall, which, ironically, is not a physical stall.


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