Europeans — the British, in particular— were instrumental in developing Singapore as early as the 19th century. In addition to English being the primary language spoken today and Eurasian being the fourth-most prolific ethnic group in the country, soccer — or football, as it’s more commonly known in Singapore — is one of the most notable (and divisable) European influences on the culture.
Whether a die-hard Liverpool or Man City fan, Singaporeans share a common crazed appreciation for the sport. The country has its own football association with the Singapore Lions XII as the representative team for international contests. The nation’s most prestigious upcoming football event is the 16th annual RHB Singapore Cup Final on November 8, which will be a clash between Home United and Tanjong Pagar United. These two Singaporean teams — who defeated other tournament clubs hailing from nearby countries the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia — will compete at the 8,000-seat Jalan Besar Stadium.
For those yearning for more international flair (or simply looking to bond with fellow English Premier fans), there are a few bars where you can voice your loyalty over a pint. Boat Quay is a popular post-work, happy hour area that football fans gravitate toward, especially at Sahara Bar & Lounge, a laid-back establishment owned by ex-pro footballer Esad Sedjic that specializes in Persian cuisine (think fish kebabs and chicken stew) and an abundance of TVs broadcasting sporting events such as the eagerly awaited tilt between Arsenal and Southampton on November 23.
Robertson Quay is located farther down the river from Boat Quay and features a multitude of indoor and outdoor places broadcasting football matches from morning to evening. We’re guessing the December 1 affair between Premier League powers Tottenham and Man U is going to draw quite the crowd to Boomerang Bistro & Bar, a standout eatery in the quay with several TVs and a menu full of Aussie bites such as prawn cutlets and spiced lamb pizza.
While football clearly leads the pack in terms of popularity, this month will showcase a highly anticipated event in another area, too. Manny Pacquiao, “The Fighting Pride of the Philippines,” will battle Brandon Rios at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Venetian Macao Resort Hotel’s Cotai Arena on November 24. It’s one of the first international pay-per-view events of its kind in China and a testament to the growing boxing fan base in Asia. For those ring afficionados who cannot make it to Macau, you can still watch a live exclusive broadcast in Singapore at The Sands Expo and Convention Center starting at 9 a.m. With the Filipino population nearly 180,000 strong in Singapore, the event should be a lively and well-attended one.
Photo Courtesy of iStock-Nikada