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The result: gems like , which is a local version of ‘oh no!

’, derived from the Hokkien phrase “to sap energy”.

A wave of new, upmarket cocktail bars have opened in Singapore, but visitors often make a beeline for the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel to sip a signature Singapore Sling—it’s where the drink was allegedly invented by a Hainanese barkeep early last century. Singapore continues to retain Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes sex between men, even if its consensual, effectively criminalizing male homosexuality.

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It’s common practice in Singapore–especially among older men–to drink beer with ice in it so that it stays cold longer in the tropical heat.

And with prices the way they are, it probably doesn’t hurt that the ice makes your drink last longer too. If you’re feeling posh, head to the birthplace of the Singapore Sling.

It houses a ton of hawker stalls offering everything from Singaporean to Costa Rican cuisine. Just tell them your order and let them get on with it. The People’s Action Party (PAP) swept into power in 1959 and has stayed there.

Come evening, a small street adjacent to the structure is closed off and dozens of satay vendors emerge for a night of smoky, delicious indulgence. Hawker centers and food courts are largely self-service places, so unless you’re told that they’ll bring the food to your table, you’re expected to collect your food yourself. There have been three prime ministers, beginning with Lee Kuan Yew, who governed for over three decades. The government limits political opposition and citizen’s rights.

But Singapore has also achieved great success under Lee and his party.

He was tough on corruption, establishing a government that is relatively corruption-free until today.

But if you try to organize a protest, a public forum, or work in the arts, then the impact of censorship and control is more direct. Singapore’s first prime minister and the “founding father” of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew’s face is everywhere.

And the leadership insists that draconian punishments for drug offenses and an almost-mandatory death penalty are the trade-off for Singapore’s peaceful, prosperous, and safe society. For better or worse, his politics and personality have shaped many aspects of Singaporean life, and the Singaporean psyche.

His concepts of Confucianism and control have strongly influenced local politics; his belief in tough love and “hard truths” underpin the government’s generally anti-welfare perspective and commitment to retributive justice like corporal and capital punishment.

His eugenicist beliefs have also affected the lives of Singaporeans, particularly low-income families who are sometimes offered financial assistance in return having fewer children.

But the fact is that Chinese Singaporeans enjoy a vast amount of privilege, from the special assistance some schools get to ensure students remain connected to Chinese culture, to the fact that “bilingual” in a job ad almost always means that the applicant should speak English and Mandarin. Sometimes you can’t avoid passing through a mall: some mini-malls were incorporated into train stations or underpasses, such as City Link, which connects one train station to another. The same dish can also be interpreted and prepared a little differently: for example, Indian, Chinese and Baba-Nyonya (Straits Chinese: a mix of Malay and Chinese) food stalls all have their own versions of Singapore’s celebrity dishes: fish head curry, Singapore crab. Hawker centers are food markets with a range of stalls serving local—and increasingly international—fare.