Some First Impressions of Singapore

Warning: I enjoy reading travel essays where people share their travel experiences. The photos and the writing often make me feel like I am there. I just want to let you know up front, this post will fall far short of those wonderful travelogues.

My wife, son, and I are fortunate to be spending the next 10 weeks in Singapore where I will be teaching a Principles of Financial Accounting class to a group of Villanova students.

While I am guessing that there will be several blog posts about our experiences in Southeast Asia, I thought I would start off with a brief one that highlights some of the things I have noticed and thoughts that I have had since arriving a few days ago.

  • we are a long way from home. the flight from Philly to Doha, Qatar was 12 hours, and then the flight from Doha to Singapore was over seven hours long. The distance is more than 9,500 miles.
  • it’s warm here – and I’m loving it.
  • malls are everywhere. within a five-minute walk of where we are staying, there are five multi-level malls.
  • restaurants are everywhere. within each of the malls noted, there are dozens, and perhaps, hundreds of restaurants.
  • the food is different than what I am used to. first, it’s been challenging trying to find vegan food at the restaurants mentioned above. part of the problem is not knowing what ingredients are in some of the foods, even if there is no fish or meat included. the second thing I’ve noticed is that it seems as if most people eat the variety of their meals outside their home; part of the reason may be how cheap you can find some food at the various eating establishments. Two nights in a row we have had dinner for three for about 15 U.S. dollars. the third thing I’ve noticed is how much of the food is served fried.
  • the subway system is phenomenal. it’s clean, easy to use, and on-time. what else do you need?
  • there’s an amazing blend of the old and the new. Singapore is known for its economic success, and it can be seen in the stunning architecture of many of the modern buildings. But there is still a significant number of older buildings, neighborhoods, and ways of doing things throughout the city-state (like hawker centers). The two seem to live in harmony with each other.
  • friendly people. everyone we have met and interacted with has been quite friendly and helpful.

We are looking forward to learning more about this wonderful city-state, and the Southeast Asia region in general over the next few weeks.

And stay tuned to see if we eat at least one meal in our apartment…

*image from Forbes

25 thoughts on “Some First Impressions of Singapore

  1. So excited for all of you to be enjoying Southeast Asia together! What a great opportunity. Lucky for you, the Malay word for ‘vegetarian’ is “vegetarian”. I hope you will also find time to visit some of the ancient Taoist and Buddhist temples that dot the landscape. Looking forward to hearing about all of your experiences. And may you all be safe throughout your journey!


    1. we’ve been here four days so far and have loved every minute of it. went on a great guided tour today with the students; it was wonderful watching them begin to bond.


  2. What an amazing opportunity! It’s fantastic that you can share this experience with your family. Looking forward to all of the blogs from the other side of the world.


  3. I enjoyed your description, Jim. I have briefly passed through Singapore and found it clean and efficient. I didn’t realise you were in finance. I am a chartered accountant and work in corporate finance.


    1. clean and efficient are two perfect words to describe Singapore. And yes, I’ve been an accounting teacher for over 30 years. I knew about your background in Finance – that is why I am so impressed with all of the writing you are able to do on top of all of that!


  4. Warm weather? I’m definitely jealous. Haha. Singapore sounds like a cool place-pretty modern and economically successful. I bet you’re going to have a great time over there for the next several weeks. Great post!


    1. a lot of the places that people eat at are small establishments, and many of the people working at them do not speak English too well. My guess is that at bigger restaurants it would not be as much of a problem.


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