I’m ashamed to admit that I arrived in Singapore armed with my camera, my computer, a map, my Lonely Planet guide book, and two handy publications for expats–The Complete Residents’ Guide to Singapore and Living in Singapore. Those three books served their purpose in our early days on the Little Red Dot. However, nearly two years on, I rarely refer to them for anything anymore.
The English-language Singapore blogosphere is broad and deep. It is here, in cyberspace and not in those books, that I’ve come to learn so much about my adopted home. So, today, inspired by A Bloggers’ Guide to Paris by my friend Anne Ditmeyer, I introduce you to some real people and great resources in this amazing city.
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The Lion City is decidedly not an Asian megalopolis full of soulless capitalists short on cultural capital. You will never be at a loss for things to do in Singapore. For unbiased restaurant and bar reviews and carefully curated culture, style and nightlife listings, I turn to City Nomads. For fun, free event listings, with a focus on start ups, entrepreneurs, networking, and technology, I keep my tabs on The List. The Muse, helmed by “hipsters, bespectacled oddballs, scarf-wearing art-lovers, monocled connoisseurs, closet geeks, avid readers, and camera-totting wanderers” covers all things art, design, fashion, film, and music in Singapore. Hit Monday Flying for things to do in Singapore and the region (Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai. and Bangkok). And stop by Changmoh for takes on local style and food from a “Chinese Ang Moh.”
Every neighborhood in Singapore has its own sense of place. My Queenstown offers updates and insights on civic life in Queenstown, one of the early housing estates in Singapore. Tiong Bahru Estate collects news about “refreshingly quirky” Tiong Bahru.
FOOD AND DRINK
Yes, eating is the national pastime and food is the national obsession. For frank reviews of Singapore’s famed hawker stalls, bookmark i eat i shoot i post. For a vegetarian’s take on street cuisine, Hungry Ang Mo. For restaurant reviews and recipes, Only Slightly Pretentious Food. For home cooking, The Little Teochew, Noob Cook, Foodie-ah, @Køkken, and maameemoomoo.
ART, CRAFT, AND DESIGN
Much of my knowledge of Singapore contemporary art comes from The Longue Durée …, a insightful and critical blog. For updates on art, auctions, and luxury goods, I read LuxArtAsia. Emily Loke, Founder and Creative Director of Paper Tiger Press, Singapore’s first letterpress studio showcases her design inspirations and charts her journey “towards reviving a centuries-old craft in a thoroughly modern metropolis.” THEARTISTANDHISMODEL celebrates the best in design in Singapore and highlights artists I rarely read about elsewhere. Culturepush “tracks cool stuff in art, culture, and design in Singapore,” focuses on young and up-and-coming talents, and regularly features artists who are either still in university or polytechnic or have just graduated.
Fellow American Crystal charts the good, the bad, and the ugly while raising two daughters in Singapore at Expat Bostonians. Read Daphne Ling’s “irreverent” take on parenting three at Mother, Inc. (Elsewhere, Rosie Jansen, founder of Tribe, the Ultimate Breed of Baby Bag™, wrote a wonderful post on Paul & Paula, “Top Things to do with Toddlers in Singapore.”)
Bonjour Singapore! highlights shoes, bags, boutiques, dresses, and labels by emerging designers from Singapore and across the region. SHETONISTA “chronicles people, faces, and style around and about Shenton Way in Singapore.” lilreddotfolks features an ordinary person “rocking [his or her] very own personal style” and short interviews.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Singapore sits just one degree north of the equator and, despite its reputation as a concrete jungle, is home to an incredible variety of exotic, tropical plants and animals. The city’s neighboring islands, St. John being my particular favorite, are wildlife hot spots. Visit sgbeachbum, Wild Shores of Singapore, the tide chaser, and Singapore Nature for detailed information and stunning photographs.
Jaclynn, The Occasional Traveller, offers readers notes from her recent jaunts. Her online shop carries a selection of travel-related and travel-inspired goods. Terroir is a stunning, self-published magazine with a very unique point of view: that of Singaporeans’ perspectives on travel. (Not exactly a blog, I know. But it’s notable, nonetheless.)
It’s the people who help make up any place. Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, co-author of Singapore: A Biography (2009) among other things, reflects on modernity and urbanism in Singapore at Too Many Thoughts. Entrepreneur, traveller, and community organizer, Adrianna Tan, writes about love, life, India, technology, and travel at Popagandhi. Yannisms is home to Yann, writer, teacher, and new mother. Kirsten Han, of #spuddings, is a blogger/journalist/filmmaker/social media junkie and “addicted to telling stories by any means necessary.” Michelle of syntaxfree muses on music, photography, pop culture, and food among other topics.
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I make no claims that this is a comprehensive list. These are my daily reads. Please do share your favorite finds in the comments.