So you’re about to move to Singapore? Here’s one perspective on being a teenager in Singapore by New Zealander Jake Riggir.
I lived in Singapore from the age of 0 to the age of 14, spending time at a local kindergarten, then onto Chatsworth International School and the Australian International School. I desperately wanted to leave Singapore to go to Christ’s College in Christchurch, a boarding school in New Zealand, where I spent my last four years of school. However, my experience of being a teenage in Singapore luckily didn’t end there, as throughout my last years of high school, I was lucky enough to come back here every school holiday. I was living the best of both worlds.
Okay, so you may think that because I didn’t technically live here for the majority of my teen years that I may not have the best judgement of this city. You’re wrong (I hope). I may not know about spending high-school here, or know anything about school programs such as the International Baccalaureate (yes I did have to Google how to spell it), or IGCSSCSCSSE (I think that’s the correct acronym?), but what knowledge I lack in schooling in Singapore, I make up for in the social side of the nation. And thats the most important part (sorry parents).
First of all, we’ll get the negatives about being a teenager in Singapore out of the way.
It has happened to me too many times to count: you make a good friend, then the next thing you know, their parents get another job back home or in another country. It sucks. However, it’s easy to keep in contact with friends these days, and no doubt they, or you, will be visiting each other in no time. Plus, there are always new people arriving in Singapore all the time, so there’s no shortage of potential besties to choose from.
Singapore is strict. This is also a good thing, because it keeps the crime rate low and everyone safe. The only thing is that if you mess up badly, or do something criminally stupid, you risk not only yourself getting kicked out of the country, but also your whole family, with your parent losing their Singapore job. So just keep your wits about you, and keep that in mind when making some decisions.
Just because low crime doesn’t mean there’s no crime. Thinking you own the place is not going to help you either, so keep level-headed and you’ll have a great time.
The weather can get quite intense. It’s either hot and humid, or raining cats and dogs. Then again, you do get some great days where you feel like you’re in Thailand, so don’t plan to do anything weather-related a week in advance. Your plans could be ruined in a matter of minutes.
And now to the good stuff about being a teenager in Singapore:
There are obviously perks of being 18 -on the verge of 19- in terms of nightlife and partying in Singapore. But you don’t have to be of age to enjoy Singapore necessarily.
It is safe to be out at night. According to the Straits Times, Singapore’s crime rate is at a 29-year low. Considering Singapore has an already low crime rate, you can be assured that you would be very unlucky something crime-worthy happening to you. This means you can safely get the bus or train home late at night (before 12:30, or whatever your curfew might be), without really worrying about anything. In most other countries, having your teenage son or daughter on a train past seven o’clock at night is unheard of, but it’s safe to say that Singapore is, well, safe. Also the MRT and buses get you basically anywhere, so they’re pretty convenient if you ask me (such a reliable source).
Another positive is the people you meet. Yes they come and go, but with Facebook and Skype, it’s pretty easy to keep in contact with people you meet. These people aren’t just any people; they’re friends who you connect with that share the bond of moving away from their home country. You’ll be very thankful of this later in life when you’re backpacking around Europe, America, Asia, NZ or Aus, and you need a place to crash. You’re bound to know someone from basically anywhere in the world living here.
There’s also a lot on in Singapore. Universal Studios is pretty awesome (as long as it’s not too busy), and there’s more to do at Sentosa too such as the Luge and Adventure Cove waterpark, but that gets rather expensive so you don’t really want to be doing that every single weekend. When you turn18 years old and can have your ‘first’ drink or two, there are many places where you can buy cheap beers and enjoy the company of other ’18’ year olds – Newton Circus and Holland Village are great for this. The Singapore nightlife and clubbing scene is up there with the world’s best, so you can expect famous DJ’s making regular appearances here.
Another great way to fill in the time is through sports. Yes, it may be hot here, but you get used to it pretty quickly (some of my very seasoned friends complain that it’s cold at times), and you can always find a pool to jump in after a tough training session. There are many sports clubs outside of schools for sports such as rugby, football, basketball, baseball, hockey; just about anything you can think of, there will be a club for it. It’s a great way to meet all sorts of different people. Personally, I played rugby for Centaurs Rugby Club, where I met people from different schools, and many different countries.
A huge positive to Singapore is the small size. You can get anywhere in the country in a relatively quick time (depending on traffic), and there is cheap public transport everywhere. It costs you a maximum $2.80 to get from one side of the country to the other. This means you don’t have an excuse to go meet up with your new mates; so get off the computer and socialise!
As you can see, the positives completely outweigh the negatives. Living in Singapore as a teenager is great. It may get frustrating at times, but I can guarantee that when you leave this place, you will miss it a whole lot. You’ll be back here on holiday in no time!
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