From food to family, these overseas Singaporeans open up about their fond memories of our homeland.
There’s light at the end of the Covid tunnel after all. Border restrictions are slowly easing up with the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane. But as we plan our next vacay to Germany, we’re reminded of fellow Singaporeans who are away from home. While we might feel a little ‘trapped’ during the pandemic, familiarity is something we shouldn’t take for granted. Here, we have five overseas Singaporeans share with us what they miss about our garden city. Alexa, play ‘Home’ by Kit Chan.
What overseas Singaporeans miss about Singapore
Natalie Wee: Living in Melbourne, away for 2 years
I miss being close to my family and friends. I miss being able to enjoy cheap hawker food at any time of the day — feeling peckish late at night and walking to Jalan Kayu to eat tau huay and roti prata. I miss being able to spend time with my family, especially my young nieces, and being part of their formative years.
I didn’t think I’d miss eating ban mian this much until I realised I’ve not had a proper one in two years (until a friend cooked it for me). This has been the longest since I’ve been away from home and these are the unexpected things I’ve taken for granted while living in Singapore.
As cliche as it may sound, you tend to only appreciate things when they’re not as accessible. It’s come to a point where I start reminiscing or tearing up even while watching advertisements and videos about National Day. Singapore will forever be my true home and I absolutely cannot wait to fly home the first chance I get!
Nisha Murali: Living in Paris, away for 1.5 years
I’m constantly dreaming of my chicken rice and Cheng Teng fix in Bedok Corner. France is really beautiful in a lot of ways and I love the natural landscapes and adventures. But sometimes I do miss the sheer greenery and vibrance (even the flowers that line ECP!) that drape the landscapes of our little island at every corner all year round – this isn’t always available in temperate climates in Europe.
Priyanka Bala: Living in Melbourne, away for 2.5 years
I know everyone will say family and food – which Singaporean wouldn’t? I definitely do miss my family and the food (chicken rice is *actually* the love of my life), but I definitely miss the efficiency of Singapore.
From being able to run errands after work to only having to wait six minutes for the next train, the speed at which Singapore runs is something I really miss. I know sometimes being in a tiny city can feel quite stifling, but I definitely miss having everything in such close proximity – and being able to cross the island in an hour? An absolute dream.
Merissa Ng: Living in London, away for 1.5 years
The food, of course! I miss having chicken rice for just $5. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss the humidity and the all-year summer weather! There was one comforting thought whenever I felt homesick: I’m only a plane ride away from seeing my family and friends. But that’s not the current reality and when that was taken away, it started to take a toll on me. It’s tough navigating a new city alone. And I don’t know when I’ll get to see my family; it can be really daunting.
I’m very fortunate to have a close-knit family, so we always make it a point to video call once a week. Just the other day, we cooked together virtually. Little things like this really make a difference. The first thing I’m going to do when I am back is hug my grandma really tight!
Simran Kaur: Living in Melbourne, away for 2 years
It’s so hard to pick what I miss most about Singapore because there’s so much to miss! I miss the food (Chomp Chomp!), how easy it is to travel around without a car, how reliable and clean public transport is, and how safe Singapore is.
It’s weird, but I even miss calling hawkers, taxi drivers and shopkeepers ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’. What I miss most are my family and friends. It’s been very difficult going through the pandemic without seeing them or even knowing when I can see them next.
I’m grateful for apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, which have made communication easier, but it’s tough being away for births, weddings, birthdays and, unfortunately, even funerals. The pandemic has illustrated the fragility of life, so I can’t wait till I land at Changi Airport and embrace my loved ones.
Are you a Singaporean living overseas? DM us @Honeycombers and tell us your story, we’d love to hear from you!