Thank for your sharing.
From Singapore! Lots of things in common. Wow, that's a lot of languages there. It's amazing how people are able to cope with them.I think growing kids are faster learners.
I have the opinion that Indian languages are harder to learn.
Since you've been to places like Hong Kong, the States, and U.K., did you felt easier to get around people generally speaking one common language, that you were less misunderstood, that you had more confident because people widely understood the colloquials, those "flowery idioms"?
I used to have issues when people started to use cultural idioms/phrases and I stared them blank, pretended to know because I'm suppose to be 'the people'. When you asked for explanation they would go "[in mixed languages] you know lah...get it..." and you were doubly confused.
Sometimes blundered on using words that didn't meant to be offensive but misunderstood as such by people who are 'more native'. Granted, we don't speak that language at home, and only exposed occasionally to entertainment in that language. It's weird when one speaks one language, e.g. Cantonese, Tamil, etc. and responses comes in another language, e.g. English. And you had people telling you "I can understand but I can't speak"? Makes me wonder sometimes how this phenomenon happens.