The things that Singaporeans do…

by jloh

Hey y’all, am back in Singapore for 3 nights of back-to-back business events and actually have some time out this time to myself so I thought I’ll plug in this post, on a topic I’ve been meaning to share with you guys for awhile now.

When i get on the road, I’m the sort of traveler that drives most tour guides nuts, since I like to stop, stare, shoot (with a camera that is…), and generally just get a good feel of where ever I happen to be at that very moment. I much prefer to roam around alone when I travel because of this. Whizzing in & out of a city is not my preferred mode of traveling – I’m indulgent like that.

Anyway, due to this habit of mine, I have the tendency to notice things that sometimes strike me as absolutely strange & fascinating. Every time I hit a new city, I get into this child-like-observer mode and I see things from a completely different point of view cos it’s such a rush to be in constant awe of the world! This happens to me even when I return home to my city after a long bout on the road. I love it & highly advocate that everyone roams as much as they can to expand their minds and viewpoints.

So here’s what I wanted to share about Singapore. I know, i know…for most of us Malaysians & Indonesians, Singapore is just across the border and it’s not exactly the most exotic destination for us. But I challenge you the next time you come here to notice something different and unique about the place & its people. AND you can’t steal my observations cos I’m gonna share them here as proof. 😉

1) Queuing at ATM machines…
I mean, NOBODY does it like they do here in Singapore. Imagine, the machine, the person standing at it pressing away on the buttons and about 4-5 feet AWAY to the diagonal right, the line starts. It’s so far away, it looks like they are queuing for….i dunno what. Until you realize it only makes sense that it’s the ATM because there’s nothing else around to queue for, and of course, all the clues lie on the ground. Look for the neatly painted yellow lines. They are everywhere. PS: Understand that in Malaysia, queuing is a foreign concept, especially at the ATMs. The dude behind you is right behind you, if not next to you.

2) The national language…
…is Malay. Do you know anywhere else in the world where the national language is one that the majority of people don’t speak nor understand? Yup, only in Singapore. But they do memorize the national anthem in that language, although they don’t know what it means. It’s so adorable. LOL.

3) The speed limit…
Everyone drives BELOW it. Need I say more?

4) The irrational fear of Malaysian drivers…
More than once, Singaporeans in Singapore have declined my kind offers to send them home in my car (i drive here a lot). And those brave enough to take up my offer (so as not to offend me), kinda look like they desperately want another seat belt on top of the one they so hurriedly strap on the moment their bum lands on my car seats. Hey guys, I’m not offended, just thoroughly amused. And, my driving is awesome as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

5) Carded everything!
Everything is on a cash card of some sort here. I find that kinda cool. Malaysia is so haphazard in comparison – there we have a choice of 2-3 payment methods, here in Singapore, there’s no choice. Get. The. Card. >,<

6) The causeway immigration toilets…
They escort you. No kidding. Why? Same reason they don’t have dustbins there, so you don’t plant a bomb. I got that from one of the officers on duty when I asked so I solemnly swear, I didn’t make that up. Nice service though, cos the officers are usually pretty hot too. Men in uniform, what can I say? 😉

7) The way they cross the road…
Omaigawd. It’s always in an “L” shape. Malaysians like me have this uncontrollable urge to just go directly across (aka jaywalk) to exactly where i want to cross to without crossing first to the opposite, then to the opposite of that opposite, etc..but usually my associates will have me on a leash when they walk me in town….so.

8) The walking…
Everywhere is “nearby” to the Singaporeans. 4-inch heels not recommended, especially with luggage. Sigh.

9) The red light district hotels…
Ok, don’t ask me how I know. But they have a hotel chain here that gives you a membership if you’re a Singaporean/ a PR that saves you SG$10 per night. But if you’re not a Singaporean, you’ll have to pay extra SG$20 per night and you can’t get a membership. My question is if I stay in tiny Singapore, why would I want a membership to a local chain of hotels in the seediest part of town? Oh.

10) The airport…
I found out that the locals here actually take the MRT (monorail train) to Changi airport to just hang out, meet friends, study, and do grocery shopping. Cos it’s cheap to get there, there’s free aircon and wifi, plus they have everything you need. No, we don’t do this in Malaysia – do you guys do this anywhere else in the world?!

And lastly, the people. The people of Singapore is the saving grace of this toy town. They are sweet, sweet, SWEET!!! They are so courteous and hospitable, it’s very hard to tell whether you’re imposing on them or not. So here’s a clue – don’t let them overdo on the hospitality, they really live to please and I feel sometimes don’t know how to say no, so as the guest – say no for them sometimes ok. With a hug, so they know that it’s a sweet, “I-appreciate-you” kinda no.

I’ve left out the usual stuff that people already know like the fines (yes it’s true) and the anti-chewing gum rule (brilliant I think) and all the kiasu jokes. Old stuff. Wanted to check-in with something new for me.

So, here’s the challenge, go observe your town or where ever you are with new eyes and absorb the wonder of how interestingly eccentric and diverse humanity is, even in the hometown kampung you grew up in; I promise there’s stuff you never noticed before. Everyday, all the time, there’s always something fresh that you can capture if you would just slow it down, and look around in wonder. It’s fascinating.

If you do blog about it, post your blog link in the comment section below cos I would love to check it out too! 🙂

The world rocks & it will rock your every moment if you’d just let it!

Have a blessed day! MUAH! XOXO

PS: This post is dedicated to all my beloved Singaporean friends & associates. Feed me more & I’ll spread more propaganda for you a’ite? 🙂 Love you guys. xoxo