It is always fun to get the glimpse of a city like the locals. Being a tourist and hopping on a tourist bus and running by the tourist guide are not always fun at all. Why follow rules on a vacation when you can cut all the ropes and behave like a local citizen of that place and explore the city on your own terms?
And where else to begin such an adventure than the mesmerising Singapore! Becoming a local Singaporean for a day and exploring the city on your own terms will give you a happy high as never before. You can go wherever you want to, eat whatever you want to, and interact with anyone you want to.
The official language of Singapore is Mandarin Chinese, which even the local Singaporeans get to learn after a lot of difficulties! It is one of the most difficult languages there is in the whole world so do not feel bummed if you cannot speak in Mandarin Chinese fluently!
Leave the local dialect aside; you can do almost everything that the local people of Singapore do.
First and foremost, you need to find a local Singaporean who can show you around the day-to-day lives of the people of Singapore. If you cannot find a local “friend” in Singapore, try to crash at a local’s house by opting from the options at Craigslist and similar couch hopping websites. What’s best than to actually live with a Singaporean family and getting to know their lifestyle and culture as a first-hand experience! And coming back to the topic of the local dialect of Singapore, this family can be your key towards learning a whole new language! Well, at least you can give it a fair shot!
Also, stop dressing up like you are from a foreign land. You must not look like a tourist if you want to live like a local Singaporean! Put away those shiny shoes and jazzy pants, dress like a local person if you want to actually feel like you are doing this the right way. Dress up in a manner that you seep into the city like a chameleon!
Now that you have a place to live, find a place to eat! Eat like a local Singaporean at the local eateries and gorge on some amazing food. You will get to eat some of the most authentic and delicious Singaporean dishes at these places. Try and increase your observation power at these places and learn how the local Singaporeans order their food; their dialect and mannerism and try to copy that, to get the feels! This is also applicable while shopping at the local markets. We all know that Singapore is a mecca for all street-shopping lovers and if you manage to shop like a local Singaporean, you will be very happy and content with your purchases by the end of your day. Observe the local people shopping and pick their way of bargaining with the shopkeeper and do that yourself too. You will be surprised at yourself for being so good at behaving like a local person of a strange city!
Let us come back to the language thing once again! Another way in which you can master the fluency in Mandarin Chinese is by offering the local people of Singapore with a “language exchange”. You can ask them to teach you their language while you can teach them your language! It will be super fun and also, you will make a lot of good friends by the end of the day and all in all have a great time joking around the city, interacting with the local Singaporeans and learning their local language, their idioms and sayings, and even some cool verbal slang if they are willing to teach you!
One thing that you must refrain on a day like this is keeping yourself from hitting a place or a club or a restaurant of your nationality. It will create utter clashing in your life at that moment and you do not want that at any cost. Do not go to Little India or that corner American beer pub. You will not be able to live up to you “local Singaporean” day, if you try to mix up cultures.
Singapore is known as Asia’s favorite playground; take advantage of this and go on a beach or a popular hangout zone and interact with the families there. Fish spas and underwater world are other options that you can try. You can turn your hobby into a great adventure by doing it along with a local Singaporean and having a lot of fun too.
Another thing that Singapore is famous for is the walking tours and the biking tours. Dedicated groups allow you to travel with them all around Singapore on foot or on a bike and take in the beauty of this beautiful city in slow motion. You can register for one such group with the destination of your choice and have a great chance at hanging out with some cool Singaporeans and interacting with them on the way. They will be able to guide you better than your tour guide and tell you about the places on your bike/walk tour, which no book can ever tell you. Also, throw away that Singapore Guide that you bought before going to Singapore. It will only confuse you and not let you enjoy the freedom of the city.
Oh, we forgot to mention about your traveling! While trying to live like a local Singaporean, you should always try to take the local bus that is surprisingly comfortable and very cheap to get from one place to another. You can easily strike up a conversation with local people on board and ask them for suggestions about which place you should go to eat or where you should spend the next day. Local Singaporeans are happy and hospitable people and they will happy to help you with your “local” experience in their lovely city.
The most important thing that you must follow on a day like this is not to step over the line when it comes to following the cultural ethics of Singapore. The city might be very modern and advanced, but it has certain ethics and you will not be liked if you do not adhere to them. For example, do not eat or drink while on a local transport. Singapore is one the safest places in the world, for both men and women; so do not worry about getting lost or getting hurt while you are on your own in this city. Nothing except for happiness will happen to you!
Spend your “I am a local Singaporean” day in such a manner that the tourists ask you for directions and advice! You will be surprised at how deeply satisfying and exuberayting experience it will be for you to spend a day in the dazzling city of Singapore as one of its own.