50 reasons why Singapore is great

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What with all the hair dye and complaining about the lousy music the kids are always listening to, most of us cringe at the thought of turning 50.

Not Singapore.

The entire city-state went into high-octane party mode in 2015 to celebrate 50 years of independence, with a series of big events for the weekend of National Day.

As part of the Republic’s Jubilee celebrations, Singapore President Tony Tan declared a new public holiday in August, creating a long weekend for locals and visitors alike to celebrate.

For every one of those years, we’ve picked 50 reasons the city-state popularly known as the Little Red Dot (see reason no. 46 for an explanation) is the world’s greatest city.

1. A party like it’s 1965

Question: Which was the coolest debut of 1965?

A) The Beatles release “Rubber Soul”

B) Actress Gong Li is born

C) Singapore achieves independence

There’s a lot to love from ’65, but if you answered “C,” you’ll want to stand tall amid the red and white flags waving at center stage this weekend when Singapore unleashes its Golden Jubilee birthday bash.

Celebratory events last the best part of the year, highlighted by the August 9 National Day Parade, with aerial stunts from the Air Force and a fireworks display we’re told will make others look like cheap sparklers by comparison.

2. An airport people love

Singapore Changi AirportPhoto by Singapore Changi Airport

No joke. There’s a sunflower garden in an airport.

Singapore Changi Airport is consistently voted the world’s best airport in both industry and consumer polls.

Among unexpected highlights there’s an outdoor nature trail, swimming pool, movie theater, hawker-style food stalls, beauty and reflexology centers, children’s play areas, sleeping areas and massage chairs all over the place.

If only the flights were delayed more often.

3. Perfect place to workshop your veddy Bwiddish accent

Raffles Hotel sounds British and looks it.

But it was conceived by three Armenian brothers, who wanted to ape the Brit style and attract wealthy 19th-century travelers.

Raffles became a hub of Singapore society and bolthole to stars from all over the world.

Today it remains as posh as Victoria Beckham.

Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673

4. Best-ever crustacean dish

Chilli crab was created in 1950 by Singaporean chef Cher Yaw Tian and her husband Lim Choon Ngee.

It’s since become the unofficial national dish of a food-loving nation.

Restaurants and coffee shops serve it by the ton nightly.

The runner-up crustacean dish, Singapore’s signature black pepper crab, would take center stage anywhere else.

5. Fashion Week for the rest of us

Singapore Fashion WeekPhoto by Singapore Fashion Week ©

Unlike the official fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, London and New York, which are open only to media, buyers and celebs, Singapore Fashion Week sells tickets to the general public.

6. Cocktails beneath lantern-lit skies

Potato Head FolkPhoto by Potato Head Folk

Potato Head Folk is a newcomer to Singapore’s rooftop bar scene.

Intimate, lantern-strewn bars dot rooftops from the Central Business District (Southbridge overlooking the river, Lantern Bar overlooking the bay) to Chinatown (The Rooftop Garden).

With year-round balmy evenings, the city’s many rooftop bars are open most nights, unlike in other cities where they close down once summer is over.

7. No waiting around

When it comes to public services, visitors seldom have to wait.

Strict performance targets at the airport, for instance, mean travelers don’t have to loiter around the luggage carousel.

The first bag off a wide-body airplane has to be on the carousel in 12 minutes; the last has to arrive within 30 minutes.

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