After growing up in Singapore, I packed my bags, hopes, and naivete to pursue my dreams of having a fashion career in New York City.
Now that I've lived half of my life in Singapore and the other half in Manhattan, I can say that I truly love both but my heart belongs to New York City.
NYC has nurtured me, expanded my horizons, and elevated my goals and dreams to a level that I think I never would've achieved if I had stayed at home in Singapore.
Here are reasons I think NYC is superior and the one area Singapore has the American city beat.
In NYC, a place with over 8 million residents, it's a gift to find your people and build a community.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend group take me in when I first arrived in the city. In the 18 years since then, I've built a beautiful network of friends.
I still regularly meet new people through friends and work. It's become such a rich part of my life, as we discuss our dreams and challenges against the stunning backdrop of the city.
If I had stayed in Singapore, I know I would've primarily spent time with old friends and family and wouldn't have ventured out to meet new people as much.
The community in NYC has also been great for helping me build my career. I had no family connections or leg-ups when I founded my activewear brand, Alala.
I've been able to meet titans of the fashion industry, work with the most creative minds, and partner with top businesses and entrepreneurs here.
I'm a person who is constantly inspired by her environment, and in my opinion, few places are more inspiring than New York City.
The energy of the city itself, access to museums like the Met and beautiful spaces like Central Park, and the wealth of fashion on the streets serve as constant idea generators for me.
I think Singapore has its beauty and charm, but, the culture of the city doesn't inspire me as much as NYC.
One thing I love about New York is that I can walk down the street and see all types of people in the span of a city block.
Coming from a fairly homogenous society like Singapore, where about 75% of the population is Chinese, like myself, there was an incredible sense of freedom as I started to discover who I was in New York.
By comparison, New York is much more diverse. White, Hispanic or Latino, and Black or African-American demographics each make up over 20% of New York City's population.
Far from family and friends, I felt free to express myself and believe that it would be celebrated instead of judged.
I must admit that Singapore has NYC beat when it comes to food.
When I'm in Singapore, I can go from getting a delicious lunch at an open-air hawker center (a food court with many different stalls) for $5 to a three-Michelin-starred dinner for $500.
I've learned that many top chefs have set up shop in Singapore, and many hawkers have spent as long as 40 years perfecting the two or three dishes they proudly serve at their stalls.
New York definitely has a variety of cuisine from around the world but in my opinion, the range of flavors and the hawker centers in Singapore are superior.2023-11-30T10:57:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd