5 facts about life in Singapore with Nicky Sujadi

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” – Reinhold Niebuhr

Having experienced a variety of challenges whilst living in Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam, Nicky Sujadi lives by this quote. Joining us for Atlas Talk 9, Nicky spoke to our host Nguyen Thanh Dat about life in Singapore. Here are 5 key facts.

Cycling is becoming popular

With many leading a busy city lifestyle, Singaporean locals enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and island-hopping during their time-off. For the tourist itinerary too, it’s important to add destinations where you can experience the beautiful natural scenery. Singapore is not just about the glamorous shopping malls and towering skyscrapers!

One particular outdoor activity that’s catching on is cycling. The Kallang Basin and Marina Bay route provide you many opportunities to photograph the city’s skyline as you cycle down the Marina Bay Boardwalk. The North Eastern Riverine Loop is a 16-km trail which unites you with Singapore’s flora and fauna.

Singapore is an international financial hub

Marina Bay Sands

At Grab, Nicky works in a project management role. In his team, there are people from different countries. Two of his managers are Vietnamese, and his colleagues include people from Malaysia, Indonesia and India. Commenting on multiculturalism as a whole, Nicky observes that there are lots of people from different countries. This makes sense, as Singapore is currently ranked by the Global Financial Centres Index as the 5th largest financial centre in the world.

This is motivating for University students, as one particular attendee expressed during Atlas Talk 9. Singapore, in its status as a highly developed economy, has many growth opportunities for aspiring graduates. There are several factors that work to the city-country’s advantage: it has one of the busiest ports in the world, it is located along key trade lines, and it is one of the most attractive markets for investors.

Hawker centres

Nicky with his brother, Nicholas

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice is an establishment that epitomises the Singaporean love of street food. Nicky loves it, and so do school-children, parents, university students, businessmen (and pretty much any human with taste-buds). As much as one might think that Singapore is all about expensive taste (re. the shopping malls and skyscrapers), it is also known for inexpensive street food.

There are many open-air food courts (a.k.a Hawker Centres) which serve everything from Chinese noodle soups to Malaysian laksa and Indian roti. These hawker centres are run by a community of energetic vendors who will serve you quickly and conversationally. A refreshing contrast to the many five-star dining options in places like Marina Bay Sands, eh?

The Singlish language

Igor's group of language teachers

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice is an establishment that epitomises the Singaporean love of street food. Nicky loves it, and so do school-children, parents, university students, businessmen (and pretty much any human with taste-buds). As much as one might think that Singapore is all about expensive taste (re. the shopping malls and skyscrapers), it is also known for inexpensive street food.

There are many open-air food courts (a.k.a Hawker Centres) which serve everything from Chinese noodle soups to Malaysian laksa and Indian roti. These hawker centres are run by a community of energetic vendors who will serve you quickly and conversationally. A refreshing contrast to the many five-star dining options in places like Marina Bay Sands, eh?

Singaporeans love to queue

Inside "Gardens by the Bay", a popular location in Singapore

It’s an affectionate joke, rather than a stereotype. Nicky points out a Singaporean way of thinking: if there is a queue for something, it must be good.

Indeed, queuing is a habit that has also been internationally recognised. Whether it’s lining up for the daily Hokkien Mee special, or the newest gadget, queuing may reflect a societal preference towards orderliness in Singapore. The streets are neat and the economy is well managed. It’s no wonder that there is an instinct to be orderly.