By Finder blogger: Andrea McKenna
I know there are more than a few quirks about Singapore, but the fact that many different types of people coexist here without violence and unrest is testament to the great community that Singapore has built.
I hope you can feel it within your community, whether you are an expat or not.
One way I personally try to extend peace and friendship to others here is simply by saying, “Hello, how are you today?” or “Thank you so much!” Seems simple but I feel it’s effective.
I’m American. And let’s face it, we’re not always that popular with other cultures. Which is why I try to make my actions and words speak to what kind of person I am and hope that I can represent my people in a positive way.
Here’s what you can do in Singapore to promote friendship and foster good relations with people of many backgrounds.
1. Volunteer in the community
I have a friend, Joe, who gives his time to the charity Willing Hearts, which is a secular, non-denominational and non-affiliated charity that provides meals to people of all backgrounds in Singapore.
Willing Hearts operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 daily meals to over 40 locations island wide, 365 days a year. Beneficiaries include the elderly, the disabled, low income families, children from single parent families or otherwise poverty stricken families, and migrant workers in Singapore.
Joe says he has done everything from chopping tomatoes for the meals to visiting clients and delivering meals. Inspired to get involved?
2. Be kind
I’ve already addressed this topic in a past blog.
The basic premise remains the same: Treat people with dignity and respect.
In this city with many diverse backgrounds we certainly have an opportunity to use kindness to make new friends.
3. Try a sports team like dragon boating
Last week, the Singapore Dragon Boat Association hosted a Dragon Boat festival, which featured teams American, British, Spanish, Canadian and Filipino teams, among others. And there are lots of other opportunities to compete with your club pals throughout the year.
I live on the Geylang River and see teams working out every morning of the week and even more often on weekends.
Local team, the Gaelic Dragons, who I always see around Boat Quay, say their team “consists of many nationalities brought together by friendship and sporting spirit,” and they encourage men and women of all ages and experience to join the fun.
If joining a sports club isn’t a great platform to make new friends then I don’t know what is! (Plus they wear cool uniforms.)
4. Join social groups
Developing new friendships with people from other cultures doesn’t mean you should ignore your own. Certainly, maintaining connections with like-minded social groups can keep people happy and spreading the love within the community.
Google expat groups for Americans, Indians, British, Dutch and others and you are likely to find your people!
So, take a chance and try a few new things to make new friends. If you are open to the possibilities then you just may be surprised at the results.
About Andrea McKenna
Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.
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