#2132| 2018 travel plans to pen

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Hey guys!

New year, new travels. I ran an informal q&a on Instagram Stories sometime in January, and a lot of the questions that came in gave me ideas on useful things I might possibly look into moving forward in 2018. So after some brainstorming and evaluating of realistic ability (space and time constraints, etcetera), here’s my slightly idealistic plans to pen – jotting it down here both as a reminder to self and as a kind of checking mechanism, so if too much time goes by and I havent done a single thing, I guess y’all can call me out on it!
L O L.

Okay so:


Broke Student Guides

The BSG series is my baby, and what really got me started on my love for travelling. However, as of November 2017, I am no longer a student – I successfully completed my Masters in English, Creative Writing, kindly sponsored by the Singapore Government ( tax-free, thank you very much!). And lets face it, I’m 25, and no longer broke. So the term, while no longer a definitive truth of my existence, is more a guiding principle than anything else. I thought about whether I should change the name of the series from here on, but I think my super mega asian middle class upbringing does mean that I will always be cost-consicous, even if one day I’m a gazillionaire or something. And besides, there’s a good chance that I’ll go on to do my PhD/MFA after a much needed break, which means that I’ll be right smack back into being totally broke again, anyway. So the title stays, and so do the guides. Hurray! Expect more of these, moving forward.

#JemmaFlies

I do fly a lot, and I’m quite game to try everything. But I’m both extremely paranoid and mega cost-conscious, which means that I totally obsess and blow situations up in my head before even stepping foot on the plane, but this wont stop me from trying to take the most cost efficient option even if the airline has a dodgy ass rep. This has resulted in pretty funny situations over the past year, and it’s a waste if I dont blog about it, which I havent.

And on the other hand, now that I travel so much for work as well, I have gotten the chance to try some pretty awesome airlines in luxe classes that have totally blown my mind! And I realised that before I get on any flight, I do obsessively google reviews and forums and seatguru that shit and all that stuff. So why not write about my own experiences while flying?

I dont know why I haven’t done this before, but yeah. Think of it as a flying diary – I’m going to start penning stories from the airlines I’ve flown, documenting my experience. Some of this will be from memory because I might not have taken photos of the plane and all if it happened in 2017 before I’d decided to start doing this, but moving forward, this is something I’m gonna try to do. Coming up: this Asian girl flies United solo. And, China Airlines for the first time!

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Packing Guides

I am working on weather specific packing guides for places, so I’ll try to come up with a checklist that you guys can refer back to when planning for your own trips. This is something a lot of you requested for, so thanks for that! I am also working on weather-specific skincare packing guides. As for in-flight skincare, please read my GUIDE TO INFLIGHT SKINCARE which I wrote in 2017 because I dont wanna have to repeat everything hahahahha thanks!

Destination dining

I wouldn’t really consider myself a foodie because I don’t know enough about the fine culinary arts to really tell you about how if the marbling of beef faces a fourty five degree angle against the rising sun in the east that means it’s ace, or whatever. But I do know that when I love a meal, I love a meal. My October trip to Melbourne just confirmed that for me I think, because I kept getting mind blown left and right. And I think I’d never churned out as many dining specific blogposts till then! So this is probably something that you’ll see more of when I travel. I do have an extensive travel sidebar linking all my travel posts, so if youre looking for suggestions for a specific destination, just scroll through the Broke Student’s Guide to Travel posts on the right hand side of this page.

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Singapore Specific Recommendations

I think this was definitely triggered by my recent trip to Los Angeles. People kept trying to tell me all about these amazing dining places and half the time they turned out, well, mindblowingly mediocre. I’m not trying to be annoying, but I genuinely, in my heart of hearts, think that Asian food is the absolute best. This is my personal conclusion after years of globetrotting, and while I love Spanish and Mexican cuisine, I think it’s really, really difficult to fight with Asia when it comes to food. How can you dispute the emotional journey that is a good bowl of piping hot pho on a wintry day? Haven’t you seen the way people’s faces change when biting into a toasty hot slice of kaya toast, double dipped into half boiled eggs? Don’t you think that life would be boring and depressing without God’s gift to man – the entirety of thai cuisine? And whoever thinks that Singapore’s national jewel is not chicken rice can come and FIGHT ME!!!!

So yes. I think that in all my outbound travel, I have pitifully neglected the wonders of Singapore’s gastronomical landscape. As a multicultural society, we have access to top notch dishes from many cultures, and it’s a damn waste that we dont talk about this more! So talk about it I shall. Damn it, am I turning into a food blogger? I’m not trying to, but yeah, if its good, I’m going to talk about it, so help me.

Okay, I think that’s about it for now. I think there were some other questions, but I hadn’t had the chance to look through and synthesise all of them, and this is what I had so far. So yes! Excited for the new year of adventures to come 🙂

See you on the other side, y’all! X

X
Jem

#2131 | Best breakfast in Taipei, ever

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Taipei, Taiwan. Taken on the Samsung note8

Hey guys,

Just here to show some love for the best breakfast I’ve had in Taipei over the past three trips. This is my second time at Fu Hang Dou Jiang and I cant get over how much I love it. It’s on the second floor of this nondescript building right outside the Shandao Temple Station in Taipei City, and you identify it by the long queue winding around the building, like a lazy cat’s tail, bodies part hungry and part communal. The queue can get pretty crazy, I think it was about 45 minutes both times I was there. I have a love hate relationship with queues that I blame on my Singaporean heritage – hate the actual idea of wasting away time in a queue, but the time wasted somehow also validates my choice of eatery/attraction, raising the stakes for either euphoria or disappointment? Anyhoo, the point is that there is a mighty queue, and being Singaporean, I joined it.

The queue winds all the way around the building, up the stairs, and into the eatery, which is structured like a food court with one shining star of a stall, the rest sulking and ignored by the wayside. Common eating tables dominated by customers of this one breakfast store. As your position in the queue approaches the inside of the eatery you can watch the staff make the dough fritters in the clear glass of the store window and salivate accordingly. You can smell it, and it’s a smell that will haunt you in your dreams when you are back home and craving fresh dough fritters. You can’t circumvent this, you cant even carry the products home. I tried, having this takeout style, but it’s not the same. It has to be eaten fresh. Anything else is a disservice to it. So it goes.

When you finally get to the front of the queue the time you have to order is short and hurried because everyone there is in a flurry. I suggest erring on the side of excess when it comes to the dough fritters (aka you tiaos) because your first bite into them is heaven, and then your second, and third, a continual state of delight. The second time I was there, my mother ordered one stick for our family of five to share, which goes to show that even the most intelligent people make the silliest mistakes.

It should be noted that I’m a big fan of soya bean milk. None of that Soy Milk nonsense that’s so popular in america, have you tried soya bean? A jewel of asian culture to be sure. I dip my dough fritters in it, it makes for such an incredible meal. Writing this now, I feel myself craving soy milk – which is thankfully pretty readily available in Singapore, though not as fresh as the ones you get in Taipei. Fu Hang does a salty variant served in a bowl, which is worth trying. I like it, but not everyone does. They also do egg crepe wraps, freshly made buns, roasted pancakes, all of which are oily and sinful and also wonderful. But the star of the show is the most simple thing – fried dough fritters with cold soya milk. What a wonder. The stuff of dreams.

This place is not a hidden gem – it’s rated on foursquare as the top breakfast spot in Taipei. It’s not undiscovered by the food blogging scene either – a quick google search will find it all over the web and instagram, with praises heaped upon praises for it. I’m not sure what my post adds, besides documenting my personal love for this place in a slightly indulgent manner. Just adding to the ever growing repository of internet love for the place, I suppose.

Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿
Hua Shan Market Level 2, No. 108, Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 1 (Shandao Temple Station)
華山市場 2F忠孝東路一段108號紹興南街 (善导寺)
Tel: +886 2 2392 2175
Opening Hours: 5.30am – 12.30pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon

x
jem

#2130 The Year of All our Resolutions

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Here we are again at the end of another year, and here I am pattering away on the blog as per tradition. What a year.

At the end of each year brings debate and kerfluffle on the poignancy (and pointlessness?) of new year resolutions, but for what its worth, I’ve always been pretty good at sticking to my resolutions. 2015 was my year of leaving and 2016, my year of learning, , and in both years the fulfilment of resolution taught me lessons so different from what I had originally set out to surmount. That is, at the end of each year, I realised that I knew less than i thought i did – and humbled by the year’s passing, I strove each year to try and remedy my life in some tangible sense. For all my experience in writing I find this feeling hard to put in words, I think the closest i can come is by saying that as someone who’s a bit of a control freak, I do wish i had more control over my own life. Objectively, I am proud of myself for what I have achieved, but i am also perpetually burdened by shame because of the things that I have not. Ah, well. It is what it is.

Approaching December this year, I started thinking about my annual year end post and what I should say to wrap up the year/ herald the next. I didn’t really want to write about my own year, I felt I had reached a point where it seemed a bit narcissistic to write about oneself, and who really cares anyway? 2017 was challenging, it was also rewarding, blah blah, etcetera. I did things and for those things sacrificed the opportunity to do other things. Everyone’s story is more or less the same when you distill it down to its essence. So it goes.

The year that is now past felt weird and strange to me for much of 2017, people as a whole seemed tense, and all over (at least to my perception) there seemed to be a mild and violent shaking up of what it meant to be a person in a hateful time. We are not at war with anything physically, but we are at war with anything less than absolutely perfect, and it seems that 2017 signified a rise in this thinking internationally: let our role models be a certain way, let them be politically astute and woke and empathetic and kind and fun and interesting and attractive and hold the same views as we do, let them be blemish free and never fuck up, because if they do, damn. And given that this mentality inevitably trickles down to our everyday life, what does it mean for us as normal people trying to find our place in this world if we hold others to such impossible standards?

By role models I refer to the celebrities of my childhood, the Natalie Portmans (Harvard graduate, award winning actress, published academic, and lets face it, gorgeous ), the Selena Gomezs (UNICEF ambassador, disney actress, grown up actress, television producer, has her own clothing line), the Emma Watsons (Reads a lot, played a movie character who reads a lot). But I grew up in the age of the social media boom, and so the platforms for which we can seek out people to aspire to and identify with has widened, and my role models expanded accordingly: I found Roxane Gay on tumblr (before she was so prolific, and I must say I carry a secret little cheap thrill at having been an early adopter of the Gay fandom), and then converted to her literature, I found Dear Coquette on Tumblr, I found Margaret Zhang (photographer, law student, model) on instagram, I found Shini Park (editor, graphic designer, staunch christian, writer, photographer, blogger) on bloglovin. I have real-life role models too – my producer Gillian Tan, my old writing professor and poet Divya Victor. My role models have always been women because I am one, but in today’s day and age there seems to be an increasing cynicism towards statements like these so let me say it first: This is not because I hate men, I have had very healthy relationships and friendships with them, my best friend of 11 years is a guy, and I am pretty close to my dad, so no issues there. My role models are women because I am a woman and relate to other women more intensely than I do to men, although I do admire and respect many men who I have seen online and in real life. Obviously. It’s stupid that we have to state such obvious things like this, but such are the times we live in, so.

I have come under a lot of attack for my choice of role models over the years from friends and acquaintences, mostly jokingly, but sometimes, a tad personally. Things that people have told me whenever I list role models: Selena Gomez can’t sing and makes bad relationship choices, Emma Watson is a loner and has no friends, Roxane Gay is too sensitive, Dear Coquette is a user, and it is famously rumoured that Margaret Zhang is a bitch. This all belies a certain anxiety that we hold today towards our role models, and I have to admit that I’m guilty of much of it – I fell out of love with Selena for a long time because of her relationship with the Biebz, who I mildly detest, and even for women I’ve respected in the media but not felt strongly enough about to label them role models, I’ve disavowed them for certain public statements they’d made that don’t agree with me. In other words, I have always wanted perfection – I have pedestal-complex, I want to know that there is someone out there who can do everything and never fuck up, so that I can always admire them and aspire towards being like them, because if they can do it, then maybe someday, so can I.

What I wanted, of course, was a fictional character to model myself against. I know this now. I wish I did earlier.

Roxane Gay says in the opening to her 2014 essay collection, Bad Feminist, People who are placed on pedastals are expected to pose, perfectly. Then they get knocked off when they fuck it up. I regularly fuck it up. Consider me already knocked off. When I first read Bad Feminist, I was going through a period where I was very unsure of where I stood in today’s world. I was not well-versed enough in the academia of things I believed in, and so felt like a hack, and on the other hand, felt an intense pressure to live up to the expectations of people around me. I cannot tell you how freeing it was to read those words from Roxane for the first time. Now, I am not one of those people who will tell you to ignore the expectations of other people and label all Expectations Evil, with double capitalized Es. I think people around you have expectations for you because they love you, although this love is often portrayed in miguided ways. I am less forgiving of society’s expectations, although that debate is an old cliche by now, but I do recognize that the cultural times we live in dictate certain consequences that correlate to the breaking of expectations, and I’d like to think that I’m relatively realistic about it, or at least, I try to be.

And I am no stranger to Big Expectations. I’m firstborn in my family, and for all the stereotypes of firstborns I can tell you that the weight of expectations bit is true, though I have never been angry about the responsibilities of being firstborn. I’m a pastor’s daughter and today identify as a christian, as I have since my baptism in 2014, and that brings with it a ton of expectations from within and outside the church as to how I should behave, what I should do, what I should wear, etcetera. That was a bit harder to grapple with, growing up. And finally, I am realistic about the fact that I live a large part of my life in the public eye today because of the nature of my work as a host, and that this is something I am personally responsible for because I signed up for it (quite literally, I have a contract with Clicknetwork TV), and also because I perpetually upload content onto my (very public) instagram as well as continue to accept commercial jobs for that platform. So I have a hand, I think, in allowing these public expectations to be placed on me. That is fine. I rarely feel too bothered about public expectations, I have always been more concerned with my own expectations, and trust me when I say no voice of the masses can be more exacting or punishing on myself than my own.

So reading Roxane was great for me, personally. I felt like I had finally taken a breath, after living in a stuffy room for too long. Consider me already knocked off, she says, and I ran a thumb over the line on the page, mouthing it with her.

What that meant for me in my real life, pragmatically, was learning to accept. Like I said earlier, I have a very exacting personality, which is something I overcompensate for by trying to pretend that everything is chill. I know that. But a result of this is that in addition to myself, I hold people around me to a ridiculously high standard. As a general rule, if I admire you, I expect a lot. My love is not unconditional, I dont have that kind of generosity of spirit. I think if a younger me had seen Roxane Gay send out a tweet spelling you’re as your, I would have been devastated. And I have high standards for the people around me: I am stern with my younger sisters, I expect a lot from my mother (who, to her credit, has done a wonderful job of being not just mother, but Adult Woman), and from my friends I also look for certain qualities which I value, and if I dont find them, I try to convert my friends to them, ha-ha. I also take it very personally if people I admire fail me in some sense, if I see them being unkind, especially, or making jokes that I think perpetuate a certain problematic stance, then I find that I become ridiculously upset and cannot look them in the eye for awhile. But I am also aware that I frequently fail my own expectations of what I should be like, and so I think in 2018, I do hope that I learn to be more forgiving and accepting of others and myself, and learn to allow myself to accept the complexities of being a flawed individual without disavowing the whole. This is something I’ve been trying to do in the past year, but I still have a ways to go.

The reason why this post is titled the Year of All our Resolutions and not just the Year of My Personal Resolution is because I think given the current cultural climate, acceptance is an important thing to learn, and has effects that reach much further than our immediate radius. Becca Inglis talks about the flipside of the witch hunt culture in her essay Love in the Time of Melancholia, about how we are quick to condemn the imperfect. But, she argues, sometimes the role model you need is not an example to aspire to, but someone who reflects back the part of yourself that society deems unfit. We all regularly mess up and have parts of ourselves that we dislike, but I have come to realise that when you only accept perfection in your role models, you end up utterly condemning yourself for your own flaws. Accepting people (whether role models, celebrities, or personal friends) in their entirety, flaws and admirable qualities all in, allows you to navigate the way you develop through your own troubled patches. It gives you the room to make mistakes, and not stay down. To climb back up, accept your failings, and try again.

This is not permission to be unmotivated and lazy, nor am I trying to tell you to just accept people the way they are even if they are totally awful and hold damaging views. Call yourself out and call your friends out if they say stupid, bigoted things. This is especially important in today’s political context, where halfway across the world it is considered increasingly okay to hurl racist slurs at people or abuse people who are perceived as less important, less human. But accept that people, yourself included, are multifaceted. Have high standards, but not damning ones, is what I am saying.

I am not so naive as to believe that this will make the world a nicer or better place as a whole. We are never going to live in a utopia, the world and its people will constantly disappoint us, and the sooner we make peace with that, the sooner we can move on and work on the things that we actually can impact. But I do think that it will make the world a more tolerable place to live in, especially since learning acceptance is something you do for yourself, and not expect others to do. And when we learn to live in between the extremes, we learn to accept ourselves as well: as works-in-progress, as people on our way to becoming more and more like what we aspire to be. It’s a cliche, yes, but sometimes, it really is about the journey. So let’s resolve to make the journey count.

2018: Here we go.

X
Jem

#2129 | Random things I have picked up from Travelling

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1. A place is mainly about its people.

2. You can melt the butter that comes with your airplane meal by putting it on top of your main course’s aluminium packaging while it’s still hot, so that you can butter your bread more easily.

3. A travel adaptor is not the same as a voltage converter.

4. Singapore and the Commonwealth has the best power outlets, the stupid two pin one that the US/Taiwan/Japan uses means that your adaptor might fall out of the socket if it’s too heavy, making charging your devices a bitch.

5. It’s always the white men who assume that you want them photobombing your travel photos. A lot of time is wasted waiting for them to go away before you can take a proper one again.

6. Same with bar conversations, no matter how deeply you are engrossed in conversation with a friend, they always feel like any conversation that doesnt include them is an invitation to enter.

7. Skincare while travelling is important and not a one-product-fits-all, you have to pack according to your skin type in relation to the climate of the place you are travelling to.

8. After awhile most mountains look the same.

9. You can identify another Singaporean by his/ her voice from miles and miles away.

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10. Asian airlines serve the best food, followed by Middle Eastern airlines. The rest are pretty depressing.

11. If you’re a budget traveller and they complain that your luggage is too heavy at check in and want you to pay extra, open your luggage and start wearing all your clothes, because weight/size restrictions largely only apply to baggage and not human beings. 9/10 times they will sigh with frustration and wave you through check in.

12. You truly become aware of how amazing epilasik is when you travel.

13. Not all comments made about your race is racist, some are made out of genuine curiousity, and as a visitor to another country it is good to learn to discern which is which.

14. Travel is a luxury, not a necessity, despite what all these new age mantras tell you. You can become a fully formed, aware, and mature person without ever leaving your country.

15. That said, it does widen perspectives. Travel is awesome, but dont bankrupt yourself trying to do it, is what im saying.

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16. One of the first questions you should ask about a new country is whether the water is potable or not.

17. Location based apps like Foursquare and Yelp will greatly enhance your travel.

18. You get more of your travel if you are willing to go out of your comfort zone and talk to new people, and staying in a hostel or Airbnb is a great way to do this.

19. That said, dont hate on people who travel luxuriously and not in the ‘local’ way you think people should. People can mainly do whatever they want with their money. Mind your own business.

20. When in doubt, identify a Japanese or Korean tourist and ask them to help you take your photos, because they know where its at.

21. Wifi eggs: makes sense economically if you have more than two people in your travel party, no need to swap out your own sim card and risk losing it, ability to still receive One Time Pins to your own mobile number while overseas without having to change your sim card back. Cons: an additional thing to charge at night, and if you lose it, it can be ridiculously expensive.

22. Hotels are not always the more expensive option: see – Amsterdam.

23. Always carry identification with you, but best if this identification is replacable, like a drivers license. For me, I carry my German ID from when I was a student there, cos it has my full name and age. If you carry your passport and lose it, getting home can be a real bitch.

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24. Google Trips is one of the best inventions known to man (and the frequent traveller).

25. When in America, always check for Groupon deals.

26. Always pay in the local currency when using your credit card.

27. It’s just easier, when you have a pouch for all your electronic wires and chargers.

28. If you’re going on a long trip, factor in a laundry day. You can do laundry in a sink anywhere, so bring detergent powder in a little ziplock bag cos it’s easy to pack and less likely to leak/spill.

29. Things are likely to screw up somehow, accept that and dont let it ruin your trip.

30. Do your research on your destinations and dont assume that you can card everything – in general, Asian countries dont accept credit cards as much, as my American friends coming to Hong Kong with NO hong kong dollars were horrified to find.

31. Ditto the above, for money changers. Places like Taipei only let you change money if you have a passport on hand, and Seoul’s money changers close early.

32. All the progressive arguments in the world will not halt danger if danger wants to happen, so have common sense, dont walk in dark alleys alone or drink excessively in foreign bars, especially if youre female, and you can always go home later on and continue to make arguments about why a low cut top doesnt mean consent when you are already in a safe place.

33. Aisle seats are really more convenient, all window seats have going for them is the romanticism of the tumblr/instagram aesthetic.

34. Sunscreen should be applied liberally when flying.

35. Not all free wifi points are safe, so never book anything or make credit card transactions over free wifi.

36. A fear of flying can only diminish, it will never truly go away.

37. Always have travel insurance.

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x
Jem

#2128 | practical reasons to love Singapore’s Changi Airport!!!

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All photos in this post taken and edited with the Samsung Note8

Hey guys,

I travel quite frequently and as a result I’ve seen a good number of airports, but I’ve always been a religious championer of how Singapore’s Changi Airport is the best airport in the world. This is something I often think of: damn, I love the airport, and as I was at the airport earlier today waiting to catch my flight back to Taipei I looked around and thought, again: Damn, I love the airport!! I was momentarily so overwhelmed with pride for the airport that I began listing all the reasons I loved it to my boyfriend, who had come to send me off, and he gently indicated that he was more interested in discussing what we should have for lunch instead. So here I am writing a blogpost about it, where no one can tell me to be quiet. Woohoo!

I do a lot of travel guides for the outbound singaporean, but this one is more like an ode to the inbound tourist, I guess. Many people have already written articles about why the Singapore airport is so awesome (HUGE DOUBLE STOREY LOUIS VUITTON STORE! BUTTERFLY GARDEN! FREE MOVIE THEATER!), but while those things are awesome, they’re not the main reason why I love the airport. I love the airport because it makes the travelling experience so damned wondrous. For all of you coming to Singapore, we have a deadass awesome airport!!!!1!!1!1!1 And here’s why!!!!

1. THE AIRPORT DOESNT MAKE YOU PANIC

Seoul’s Incheon Airport frequently competes with us for the title of best airport, and it does have gorgeous architecture. It’s a beauty to look at, and super clean and shiny. But I freaking hate travelling through Incheon, because it makes me panic. It’s always crowded, and the crowd is amplified through the insanely noisy echos of the clickityclack of people rushing to and fro with their luggages, which not only triggers my claustrophobia, it also makes me panic like hell because everyone sounds like theyre rushing everywhere and am I going to miss my flight?!

Singapore’s Changi Airport will not make you panic because it does not sound like all hell broke loose and is bustling around your panicky travelling self. This is down to smart design – the airport is partially carpeted, and also built to absorb sound. No matter how many people are running around trying to get pre-flight stuff, the airport is always audibly chill. So yes the airport will not make you panic. DONT UNDERRATE THIS! Because it is awesome.

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CARPETS! Even the non carpeted areas have structures that absorb sound so the airport isnt ever too noisy.

2. YOU DONT HAVE TO BUFFER LIKE MAD WHEN TRAVELLING OUT OF SG

Many of the major travel hubs I travel to require like, an unreasonable amount of time you need to factor in as a buffer for things like a security check and what not. And when you’re stuck in a mad long line, you’re always thinking, am I gonna miss my flight?! See above, re: Panic. Ugh.

It’s gotten kind of mad. I’ve been stuck in Seoul (again!)’s immigration queue for an hour, same for London and Japan, and my American friend told me to always be at the airport for international departures 4 hours before your flight because that’s how long it can take to get past security. I’ve actually been stuck in a security line in LAX for close to an hour and a half before, and that was the business class line (Press trip to Los Angeles last year end). People were going nuts, I tell you. I cant imagine how long it must have taken if I’d been in the economy line.

But for Singapore, this is never the case. You pass a boarding pass check from public to transit areas, and then youre free to roam about the super awesome transit section before your flight. The security check comes right before you board – there’s two or three security points to a boarding gate, and the only people fighting with you in line are the people getting on the same flight as you, vs the entire damned airport’s worth of people going to 287201 different countires.

This means that if youre a traveller in Singapore, you can spend more time in the city itself before heading to the airport for your flight on your last day, or still be at the airport early enough to check in and explore!

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No long lines in front of the departure gate woohoo! Also, there’s a sanrio installation there because there’s always some kind of themed thing going on at the airport. Earlier this year it was Pokemon

3. FREE CARTS

You’d think this is basic, I mean, cmon, it’s 2017. But I’m looking at you, America!!! The first time I landed in New York’s JFK and realised that you have to pay FIVE AMERICAN BUCKS to use a cart, I was like, what the heck?! Get out. I flat out refused to pay for it, and being a solo traveller, that meant an 18 year old me balancing two big bags and one hand carry and trying not to fall over. Having no free airport cart can also be especially painful if your hand carry is like, a duffel bag, and you’ve stuffed it to it’s 7kg handcarry max.

Most countries do have the carts for free, but I’ve learnt not to take that for granted. The KLIA2 airport, for example, has free carts, but they’re located so far away that you have to carry your bags from the aircraft out for a really long distance before you locate a cart nearer to immigration, at which point you have to give it up anyway. Lol.

Singapore’s airport has two types of carts – the big luggage one you get at arrival, and the cute little ones you get at departure. I LOVE THE DEPARTURE CARTS because theyre so small and run so smoothly that you can wheel them around with one hand!! This might be a weird thing to obsess over but yeah, I love the hand carry cart. They’re also located right where you need them – the minute you pass the boarding pass check, and you drop them off right at your boarding gate. EFFICIENCY!

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i LOVE THESE CARTS

4. LOTS OF PLACES TO SIT AND STUFF FOR FREE

The airport has lots of great places to sit down and use your laptop or just chill before your flight, and most of these seats come with a charging port of sorts for your laptop or phone. Most airports require you to find a cafe or something if you want somewhere decent to sit, but not Singapore! Singapore is basically the equivalent of your over acheiving multi tasking all rounded cousin. WHATEVER YOU WANT IT WILL DELIVER! If you want something to drink, there are A ZILLION options – sports bars, swanky bars, cafes, coffee shops, fast food joints – but if you just wanna sit for free without buying a drink, that’s totally possible too.

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Comfy places to sit. And yes that’s a free massage machine! Though I’ve never used it, cos I dont wanna put my foot where someone else has put theirs haha

There’s also really great sleeping benches around the airport so if you have an overnight flight you can lie flat and snooze! But Changi Airport is so well connected to the city that if your flight departs at 4am or something you can still be partying in the city center then cab over to the airport for your flight and it wont cost you a bomb. Which brings me to the next point..

5. SINGAPORE IS SMALL!!!

Ha ha ha. Singapore’s small size means that the airport is MEGA well connected to the rest of the city, there are public trains servicing the city, and despite how complainy Singaporeans get, our public transport system is pretty legit. I mean, if youre coming from London or America, prepare to be mindblown is what I’m saying!

The practical application of our small size is that the airport is very accessible to the rest of Singapore. I hate the fact that for many places, your last day of your trip is basically a discounted half day because of all the time and hassle it takes to get to the airport. It’s also very costly – a city cab to the airport in New York is a flat 59USD before tip, the train to Heathrow in London costs about 25pounds. But for Singapore, a grab or uber will set you back about twenty plus SGD, and theyre always running discounts because it’s a competitive world! And if you rather take the train? FIFTY CENTS! No la, two dollars forty. But that’s still mad cheap, right?

6. FREE WIFI

Yes there’s free wifi everywhere. It’s solid wifi too, not the dodgy sort you get at some airports where you’re not sure if it’s official free wifi or like, a hacker’s server. Haha. You just gotta have a phone number to receive a verification code, or approach a service desk to get a temporary login code. So when you land you can message your parents to be like, yo im in singapore safe!

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7. THERES ALWAYS FOOD

You dont think this is a big deal until it’s a big deal. I dont normally eat at airports when I travel, I much prefer eating my last meal in the city center because it’s normally cheaper and better. But there’s always food in Changi, no matter what time you land/depart, and this means that if youre stuck in the airport at like 4am, you wont go hungry. There’s always a starbucks open, or a Ya Kun/Killiney (traditional singaporean food) still buzzing. I was once stuck in Seoul’s Incheon at 1130pm and EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED. I had been in Seoul for shoot, and hadnt had the chance to eat since lunch, and I was starving! But i thought, nevermind, I’ll just grab a bite at the airport. nOPE.

Seriously, that’s the third time I’ve brought Incheon up. Why are they competing with us for best airport again? I mean they’re great and all but still!!!!

8. SUPER CLEAN TOILETS

Having clean toilets is the best thing ever, period. Singapore’s Changi toilets are always clean and smell nice, and there’s a little electronic signboard where you can rate your satisfaction level with the cleanliness of the toilet after. How great was your pee? Very good thank you! Ha-ha, Singapore is really an alien city.

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Okay I could go on, but everything else is more along the lines of the SUPER WEIRD BUTTERFLY GARDEN or AMAZING SUNFLOWER GARDEN ON THE ROOF. This post is more about how the airport takes the processes we all need to go through as travellers, and makes it so much more pleasant and efficient. And I really have strong feelings about our airport because I live in the East of Singapore, so I basically grew up in the airport! See point 5: Singapore Is Small. That means that if you grew up in the East, you’re always hanging out at the airport to either have meals or overnight study sessions. I have my own office now, as of last year, but up till then I was perpetually doing work out of the cafes in the airport then heading home.

I dont really see this in any other airport, where as a traveller you see the locals hanging out in the airport and kids playing in the indoor playground (yes, it’s a thing) while the adults go look at the tax-absorbed cotton wipes in Watsons (yes, it’s a thing). It really does contribute to the unique vibe of the airport – Changi feels less cold and transitory, and more like youre gently phasing from your holiday in Singapore to your flight out. The bottom line is, Changi is awesome. I love it! This is not a paid post! Yeah, I just thought I’d better clarify that cos nowadays whenever I rave about something people want to know if I’ve been given money to do so or not -.- Lame. Anyway. CHANGI IS AWESOME COME TO SINGAPORE. The end!

*This post was not written in collaboration with anything except my own feelings thank you*

X
Jem