A Lebanese in Singapore

December 28, 2016

I traveled to Singapore last month with my EMBA class for a one week seminar. This was my second time to the country and a serious eye opener. Imagine 40 Lebanese landing in Singapore. I don’t know who experienced more of a culture shock – our group of students, or the Singaporeans that had to deal with us.

Please don’t hate me my Singaporean readers. I do sincerely believe that we can learn so much from your wonderful country, seriously. But there’s just some stuff I can’t wrap my mind around. Although our group was far from angelic, we do have a way of making things simply more, well, fun.

What I love about Singapore and what we (and many other countries!) can learn from them:

  • They absolutely love their country. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve been brainwashed. But truth of the matter is, they genuinely love their country. It provides them with security, wonderful infrastructure, good healthcare, and affordable housing. Who wouldn’t love a country that takes care of you like that?
  • They respect their environment. Unlike many of us, they take care of their surroundings and wouldn’t be caught dead throwing a cigarette butt on the ground. They treat public places like their own home.
  • They live together peacefully. Chinese, Malay, Indians, expats, all cohabit in a pretty calm setting. I wish such peace existed everywhere. We’d have a lot less children suffering in the world.


What Singaporeans can learn from us:

  • Our food is hands down delicious. And varied. So many people rave about the food in Singapore. I don’t happen to be one of those people. Neither was my group of classmates. Maybe we’re biased because we’re used to Lebanese food but honestly speaking, our food isn’t as fried and carbohydrates rich as Singaporean food. Mediterranean cuisine is known to be healthy, as it includes lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, and healthy fats like olive oil.
  • We know how to have a good time. Beirut is known for its nightlife, and rightly so, thank you very much. There was maybe one rooftop in Singapore worth going to, Ce La Vi. But besides that, most places were shut down by 11PM on weekdays.
  • Chaos can be fun. It’s okay if things are perfectly aligned and orderly at all times. A little disorder adds charm to a place. Come to Lebanon for a few days and you’ll understand what I mean.

Thanks for a good time, Singapore. Thanks for closing your bars so early that we spent most evenings in the hotel lobby gabbing and rolling pita bread sandwiches. Thanks for having such clean air that I felt my lungs get replenished for a whole week. Thanks for showing us that peace is a beautiful thing.

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