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6 Traditions You Need to Know About Singapore

Singapore is known to be a fine city, so when I knew I would be moving to there, I made sure that I learn all its laws and traditions. 

I have already shared the laws but today, I wanted to go into a little more detail and share a few more traditions and cultures I learnt when living in Singapore. I have already shared similar cultures and traditions over at ElleMacUK’s website. Be sure to check it out – Customs And Traditions I Learnt In – Singapore

6 Traditions You Need to Know About Singapore

1. It’s Tradition in Singapore to leave your shoes at the DOOR! 

While staying in my halls, I learnt that keeping my shoes on when entering someone home was a big NO-NO! I recall being screamed at when I walked into my friend’s dorm with my flip flops on! I assure you that I never made such a mistake to wear shoes in someone’s room again!  

They don’t wear shoes in their rooms or houses. So please take off your footwear before going into anyone’s place, it’s an absolute MUST!

Also, take off your shoes before entering any temple or mosque too! 

ME AT NUS IN SINGAPORE

2. Give your elders respect  

It was interesting to see how my customs and traditions of living in a Nigerian household would apply so well when I was living in Singapore. You don’t have to be related to everyone, but you can show some politeness. Calling an older “aunty” and “uncle” is a sign of respect for Singaporeans.  

This took me a long way when living in Singapore calling the staff aunty got me lots of goodies like free food etc. 

3. Keep to the left of the escalator  

I’m sure standing on the left is not unusually expected for everyone. Well, except for those that live in the UK like me – yes this is a thing!

When you’re on the escalator, follow this rule religiously.

Rule: The right side of an escalator is for people walking up the steps. The left is for people content with standing and waiting.

If you’re slow, keep to the left. Singaporeans are notoriously known for walking at the speed of lightning. Trust me on this one! 

4. Make sure you Q (wait inline) 

Singaporean queue for everything! Literally everything!! It can be for any of the following:

  • Trains
  • Bus
  • McDonald’s 
  • Hello Kitty toys, 
  • iPhone 11s, 
  • Favourite hawker food
QUEUES IN SINAGPORE

The queue is done in a very orderly fashion simply because they can get quite long. Soo there’s one thing you shouldn’t ever do – and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you?

Don’t

Cut any queues!!!

I mean I think that is pretty standard, but trust me when I say some people don’t get the memo!

If you see a really long queue and you’re not sure why people are queuing. Just join the line. Chances are, there’s something worth queuing for. 

5. Give up your seat 

Anyone sitting in reserved seats should be aware of elderly, disabled, pregnant women or young children who may need the seat. Failure to give up your place to those who need it more than you is another big NO-NO. 

GIVE UP YOUR SEAT IN SINGAPORE

6. Beware of Acronyms  

Sir, go by BKE or PIE?… Got ERP along CTE now, can ah?” – Every taxi driver. 

It’s undeniable that Singapore is a land of acronyms and abbreviations. 

From 4D to URA, these acronyms are incomprehensible to most foreigners. But with time and practice, you’ll be using acronyms and abbreviations like a local. Honestly, I was surprised by how much I picked up living there. If you don’t know what something means, it’s always a good idea to ask. 

6 Traditions You Need to Know About Singapore

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Friends You Need Patience For When Travelling Abroad

The friends you go travelling with can literally make or break a trip! Here are a few examples of friends you need to have the patience for when travelling with them. 

– The friends that can’t take a good picture  

I mean girl come on, we need a friend that can break her back go on top of a mountain like because yeah, we require that excellent picture! Allow them friends that take a picture with their thumb in the right-hand corner or where you are bare blurry the person is just not needed! 

bad pictures taken by friend
Bad Picture

– The friends that don’t embrace a culture.  

Them ones that travel, but don’t know how to experience and live in the culture surrounding them. They complain about everything! It can be the weather, the fact that people are speaking another language around them or worse that they can’t stand the food!. FYI traveller – you are in another country – embrace what is around you or STAY AT HOME!

-The friends that need you to hold something for them – like every two seconds!

Oh my gosh! I can’t. I recently went away with someone, and they always needed me to put something in their bag. If it wasn’t that, then they wanted me to hold something. Now I think I wear my emotions on my face so this person could see this was getting on my nerves. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with holding something for someone here and there; every second can be extremely annoying!

friends that need you to hold something

– The friends that don’t do anything!

Lucky for me I haven’t yet been on holiday with anyone like that – tell a lie I have been with someone like this, and it can really ruin a holiday! I have a friend who went on holiday with someone that was basically terrified of going anywhere and basically ruined the holiday and can you believe we both had that experience when we went to Barcelona – I need to go back! 

friends that do nothing

-The friends that rush you to get ready 

Hunnie I am a black girl, and when I am on holiday I like to slay! I have a massive obsession with doing my face up – adding my eyelashes and just trying on a few outfits and planning how I am going to look! If you are rushing me, this gets me angry. Just don’t rush me but please don’t be the person that is always the very last to get ready that will get annoying when everyone’s still sitting around waiting for you.  

rushing to get ready

– The friends that rely on you for everything  

We can agree that if you are travelling with someone who plans or decides to do nothing that can be a hell of annoying! I have been on a few trips with people who rely on you for everything, and it can be incredibly frustrating. However, what I will say is at least you get to do everything you enjoy. 

-The friends who always need the toilet 

Look, I get it. I am someone who should always go to the toilet when I leave a location. But some people don’t have self-control! This person will slow you or the group down, and you don’t need this.  

toilet friend

– The friends that are always on social media  

I am very guilty of this so I can’t really talk – *wait yes, I can it’s my blog*  

Let’s face it when you are Instagramming, Facebooking, snap chatting, and whatever there is nowadays it can get very annoying! As I am very guilty of doing this, I think I have learnt that it is ok to take videos and pictures and whatever, but spend some time trying to enjoy the moment and then do all of that stuff letter.  

friends always on social media
social media

– The friends that are CHEAP

Now I know this isn’t me, so LISTEN and listen well!  

Please don’t go on holiday with stingy people and I mean people that are happy with you to pay for everything and they give you an I.O.U tab on your head. I’ve been on holiday with some CHEAP people and trust me it can hurt one’s soul! Let’s be real when you are on holiday you want to participate in activities and if you have a friend that doesn’t want to pay up you are going to be a little irritated trust me! 

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7 Laws You Should Know About Singapore

Happy New Year everyone! I would like to welcome you all to my first Singapore special. This month will be seven years since I moved to Singapore for my study abroad, so to mark this special moment we are going to be looking at seven Singaporean laws you should know before visiting.

We will be learning the difference between travelling to Singapore as a tourist and living there as a student, where to go and much more. You don’t want to miss out so be sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to the blog!

Singapore, to some degree, is seen as a city-state with culture, local and international cuisine and real iconic attractions. It is one of the cleanest countries I have ever lived and visited. But there’s more, the country is also famous for its strictness with laws and considering I was able to live there for over 6 months and not once get arrested, I think I did pretty well ( hey just saying).  

When I moved to Singapore in 2013, I knew I was going to need to learn about the laws of the country. Some of their laws include the ban of chewing gum, not being allowed to walk in your house naked, not flushing the toilet and more. If you will be heading to Singapore soon then here are a few laws that you need to be aware of.

7 Strict Laws you should be mindful of before travelling to Singapore  

Exchange Rate: 1 SGD (Singaporean Dollar) = £0.56 GBP (Pound Sterling) AND 1 SGD = $0.74 (American Dollar)- You may need to to convert the punishments. 

For other conversation rates I use XE:Covert.

1. Yes chewing gum is illegal in Singapore  

chewing gum is banned in singapore

I said it. Yes, I was more shocked than you when I read about this in 2013! Chewing gum is wholly forbidden, which explains how clean the streets are in Singapore.  

I wouldn’t want to be caught bringing chewing gum into the country so don’t even think about selling it and certainly don’t import it. 

Punishment: Selling chewing gum can result in fines of S$100,000 (Singapore dollars) and up to 2 years in prison.  

2. Feeding Pigeons in Singapore can get you into trouble 

I’m not a big fan of pigeons myself, so this law is music to my ears, but bird lovers, please take note. You could face a fine if you are caught sharing your food with a local pigeon.  

Punishment: S$500 fine 

3. Begging in the streets is illegal in Singapore  

singapore streets

I remember living in Singapore and not ever once seeing a beggar. You may on occasion find a beggar selling packets of tissues outside a food centre, but if I was you, I wouldn’t even entertain it. Begging is illegal and can lead to a hefty fine.  

Punishment: S$3,000 fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years in prison. 

4. Not flushing the toilet is illegal in Singapore  

This would seem a pretty obvious thing to do, but some people don’t have house training! Singapore has quite rightly made this illegal. Officials are known to conduct random checks in public toilets to make sure people flush after they go. So please flush after yourself. I would say to avoid a fine I would suggest flushing after you go.  

Punishment: S$150 – S$500 fine 

5. Walking naked in your house is illegal 

Walking around your house naked is considered a form of pornography. And while you’re here, you should also know that pornography is also prohibited in Singapore. Don’t walk around naked in your home.  

Why? Well because it may cause a disturbance to your neighbours and you might receive an unexpected fine.  

Punishment: S$2,000 fine or up to 3 months in prison 

6. Don’t do drugs especially in Singapore  

Many countries ban drugs, but Singapore has much stricter sentencing for those that are caught trafficking or in possession of drugs could receive a hefty fine and or death penalty.  

You may think you can’t get caught but think again. Singapore officials can conduct anonymous and random drug tests to anyone without a warrant, and if you’re caught with drugs in your system, then you could be looking at a penalty. These included drugs taking before you enter Singapore so be mindful when travelling other parts of Asia.

Punishment: S$20,000 fines, up to 10 years in prison or the death penalty 

7.No Eating and drinking on public transport  

Durian
Durian

And the final law that I have to offer you today. Please do not eat or drink on any form of public transport this includes the MRT the bus anything! I remember when my friend told me about being fined when she was caught eating ice cream on the MRT! There are lots of food centres eat there or within closed doors. Oh and Durian a special fruit is also banned on public transport – don’t do it!

Punishment: S$5,000 fine  

Despite all the laws that exist in Singapore, it is actually one of my favourite Asian countries to visit and live. I think if I can live in Singapore for 7 months and not face a fine then you will also be fine.

What about you do you know any of any fines that exist in Singapore or around the world? Share in the comments below!  

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10 Places to Visit For the First Time Solo As A Black Female

I am always asked what countries are safe to travel as a black solo female. If we are real with each other, being a black female in this world can be extremely hard sometimes. So, it always makes sense when I’m asked what countries are safe to travel solo for the first time! I recently spoke on Travelling Perceptions & Safety: Why I don’t Allow the Experiences Stop me From Seeing The World?

As I said in that post and will say again … the media often likes to label black females, particularly in certain countries, that I won’t point out. We are often labelled as prostitutes, or even worst ghettoized for the colour of our skin. The melanin can be hard for them to handle sometimes.

When I travel by myself I never feel like I’m on my own. I have never really understood why, but I believe it’s because I always end up meeting someone on my solo travels. That’s not to say that I don’t emphasise with people that travel solo for the first time. I can imagine if you haven’t travelled solo before, it can be quite daunting. There are several countries or even places you can visit solo as a black female.

My cousin suggested that I write a post on places black females feel safe to travel too. So as I do. I have tapped into 10 black female travel bloggers, who share places they themselves felt safe travelling too! If you are a black female seeking to travel solo for the first time, I’m sure this post is for you. 

The melanin can be hard for them to handle sometimes.

10 Places You Should Travel Solo For the First Time As a Black Female Traveller

1. Char of Memoirs and Musings says – Dubai

Dubai is safe because the crime rate is low. You won’t find much petty crime here because it’s not a walkable city. Unwanted attention does exist but it’s more common in Deira and Bur Dubai. I’ve been to Dubai twice solo and not had any issues! ???

2. Aitza of Petitely Packaged says – Porto

As the second-largest city in Portugal, Porto offers a friendly and vibrant atmosphere. From wine tours in the Douro Valley, hiking at a nearby national park, hopping on a boat, or simply eating one’s way through the city their countless activities to meet people or get lost on your own in Porto. The public transportation is easy to navigate and English widely is spoken, so even if you find yourself unintentionally lost you likely won’t need Google to translate.

3. L of Franglais27 Tales says – Paris

Central Paris is rather compact and so it is easy to navigate by foot which makes it relatively safe for a solo woman traveller. Plus, there are lots of museums, galleries and other sights that are easy to visit or cinemas as well. There are also neighbouring cafés and restaurants in most locations meaning that it would not involve a long journey if venturing out in the evenings. You would just have to be as vigilant as you would be in London when travelling alone.

4. Elisha of Elisha Jade says – Shanghai and Bejing

I felt super safe in Shanghai and Beijing. Whether I was riding in the back of a tuk-tuk at 4 am or jumping on the metro, the Chinese metropolises were very secure. It is a surveillance state so you do trade off privacy for that sense of security.

5. Chi of Thoughts Of Chi says – Prague

I believe that Prague is safe due to it being a popular destination for tourists so it’s rare for you to feel secluded during a solo trip. Also from my trip, the attraction staff are very accommodating for solo travellers in terms of taking pictures of you and giving you in-depth talks about the city in general.

Also, the fact that there are a ton of attractions to go throughout the city and the transport links are reliable and easy to use.

6. Tay of TaytheTravelista says – Cartagena

I recently took my very first solo trip and as nervous as I was I couldn’t have made a better choice of destination – Cartagena. The people are extremely warm and welcoming and although they don’t speak much English, the love is felt! The streets are ALWAYS full of people, so you never really feel “alone”; and Uber/taxi makes it very easy to get around the city.

Cartagena is also very budget-friendly, so paying full price for things you’d normally split with a friend isn’t a big deal. Not to mention, Cartagena is pretty popular among solo travellers so the likelihood of you connecting with other solo travellers is extremely high. Just an FYI – you will fall head over heels in love with the place!!!

7. Joyce of Diy With Joy says – Phucket

I travelled to Phuket, Thailand for the ultimate solo birthday trip and purposely chose to stay in Patong for the first half of my trip as this beach resort town is famously known for its bustling nightlife, variety of activities, markets and plenty of restaurants. Although I was by myself, I never really felt alone because I met a lot of friendly faces from around the world and the Thai locals made me feel welcomed into their country. I felt really safe venturing out at night, often strolling through the night markets and had my first solo nightlife experience in Phuket which was surprisingly amazing!

8. Ri of Ri The Blog says – Colombia

I thought Colombia was safe because there was constantly police around everywhere (granted its Colombia they could be corrupt cops). The people seemed so relaxed about their belongings and that that to me was a sign that the city didn’t have problems with petty crime.

9. Tateendah of Footprints and Poetry says Tanzania

I found Tanzanians really friendly, no one catcalled me either in Dar Es Salaam or Zanzibar which is very rare. I didn’t book any tours and the resort I stayed in the capital helped me to arrange them, in Zanzibar they even walked me to the beach for my prison island tour.

Someone even offered to go with me to the South Island (as they were also going there) so I can get on the right public transport but I couldn’t stay that long. People were open to conversation if they spoke English, from the restaurants to the taxi drivers. The only issues I had was trying to convince people I don’t speak Swahili.

10. Victoria of The Stylish Trotter says Japan

I went to Japan solo but meeting people was a breeze with Couchsurfing & I felt so safe. This country is one of the most safest countries in the world because it is indeed safe. Transportation is accessible & easy. People are very cordial in Japan and you don’t feel people staring at you because you are a foreigner and black. It’s a win-win all around in my book.

Oh and one more! It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t suggest one of my own countries right?

Adebola of MyBreakingViews says Singapore

I think ya’ll get tired of me speaking about Singapore. It was the first country I travelled too as a student and to some degree as a solo traveller. As a student, I ended up living there with no trouble for 7 months! Honestly, Singapore has been the most welcoming country for me as a black female! I went back again this year after six years and couldn’t believe how welcoming it was. I wasn’t bothered when I walked around the city by myself.

P.S Get yourself some durian and tell me what you think? hahaha

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Guest Post: Experienced Discrimination in Colombia

  1. First story

In my first year of living in Colombia, a group of girlfriends and I travelled to Cartagena. On one of the first nights, we went to a club called Bubaloos or something like that. We went in two separate groups, me being in the first. When we got there they told us the club was closed to a private event. Being our first time, we took it to be true and told our friends to meet us elsewhere. The next day we learned that other mutual friends had been there the night before and it began to sink in; they had turned us away because we weren’t the clientele they were seeking.

2. Second story

This is not quite travelling discrimination, but related to the stereotypes attached to black people in countries in which they are not the majority. While I was living in Santiago, Chile I had to experience being solicited as a sex worker at 4:30 in the afternoon as I walked to my apartment with grocery bags in tow.

After the shock and confusion wore off I asked Chilean friends why this had been assumed. The explanation was simple, if not completely limiting and infuriating: I was a black woman which meant I must have been Colombian and the only thing they “knew” about black Colombian women was they were prostitutes, particularly up in the mining towns in the north of the country. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last time.

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Guest Post: Experienced Discrimination in Sydney

Welcome to the first shared story of discrimination while travelling. When I read Rakiya story I totally emphasised because I myself went through a similar account when I travelled to Australia. I will have to save that story for another day, for now, please take the time to read: Have you ever experienced Discrimination While Travelling: Sydney

Arrival

After a 14-hour flight, I knew this was going to be the start to a great vacation. I always say, “long flights lead to beautiful destinations.” However, this time I was greatly mistaken. I had the worst experience with Sydney customs.

Airport

I felt they were racially profiling my boyfriend and I because we were the only people of colour. They pulled us away as soon as we grabbed our luggage took us to a private search looking through all our bags piece by piece. I wasn’t offended with the search of the luggage more so of the questions they asked my boyfriend and me. They asked questions like much money do you make a year, have you done any drugs recently such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, can you afford your stay here? After asking those questions of course I had an attitude with them. I felt those questions were inappropriate, and not what I am typically used to going through customs.

Conclusion

I do believe Sydney customs are racists. As they checked our bags they noticed there was nothing illegal or questionable. This was the worst customs experience ever! So, please be aware of the customs in Sydney.

If you would like to read more of Rakiya story then please have a look at her website – The Sights of Sydney.

You may already know that I have now opened my blog to share other stories of discrimination while travelling. If you would like your account to be shared, please follow the link – Have you ever experienced discrimination?

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