FBC Board member Juha Hautala blogging about Singapore

5 things I will miss the most about Singapore


In September 2014 I jumped on a plane from Helsinki to Singapore and joined KONE’s regional Asia Pacific team. All good things come to an end and after almost four years in Lion city, it has come time for me to move on. This October I will be moving to Dubai and joining KONE Middle-East and Africa. As this chapter in Southeast Asia is coming to an end, many friends have asked me what I will miss about Singapore. Therefore, I put together a list of some of my favourite things about Singapore.

1. The food

Whether it’s char kway teow at a hawker centre or fine dining, I have never had bad food in Singapore. In fact, the best part about Singapore is that no matter what time of day or what budget, you can always find good food. My absolute favourite restaurant is Burnt Ends which just got a Michelin star this year. A few blocks away is Maxwell Food Centre where you can find for example Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice that is nowadays also included in the Michelin guide. However, many of the best restaurants and hawkers in Singapore are not mentioned in any international guides – they are usually the ones with the longest queues.

2. The people and the different cultures

Singapore is a real melting pot of different cultures, religions and languages. Singaporeans are used to living and working with people from different backgrounds. There are four official languages. Almost all Singaporeans are bilingual and many speak more than two languages. Especially today when globalization is facing strong headwinds around the world, I find Singapore inspiring. Singaporeans are every day showing the world that it is possible to live and work together regardless of who you are and where you come from.

 3. The weather

I know many people complain about how it’s always too hot and humid here. However, having spent many years in the cold Finnish winter and the grey Brussels fall, I love the fact that we are one degree north of the equator and never have to think about the weather. Even if it is raining, it does not usually last long and it’s never cold. This means you have one less problem to worry about and makes life very easy.

4. Botanic Gardens & the greenery around the island

Botanic Gardens is hands down my favourite place in Singapore. I go there for a run or walk many times a week and I never get bored of this amazing tropical oasis that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The greenery is not, of course, limited to the gardens. Especially comparing to other big cities in the region, it shows that Singapore is really putting a lot of effort into keeping the island as green as possible despite the never-ending development. For example, all buildings within the Marina Bay district have received a platinum rating under the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Scheme – a voluntary benchmarking scheme launched by BCA in 2005 to evaluate buildings on their environmental design and performance.

5. Changi Airport

Changi is efficient, clean, easy to navigate and full of good food. My personal record from touchdown to sitting on my couch watching Netflix is 44 minutes – where else is that possible?  This is also why I’m sure I will be coming back to Singapore many times, even if it just during a layover on a long-distance trip from Europe.


Juha Hautala

Legal Counsel, Asia Pacific

KONE Corporation