Impressions of Singapore

I’m going to be critical here. I don’t like Singaporean taste in clothing, appearance or art works. Somehow, they have contrived to make themselves plain bordering on ugly. It’s not a racia thing – just look at their neighbours across the border in Malaysia or what happens when they adopt a western style.

I might be a shorts and t-shirt kind of guy who pays very little attention to his outwards appearance, but even I could see that Singapore style was greatly lacking. This would not be an issue but for the fact that Singaporeans have a tendency to be insufferably smug and prone to delivering lectures on any topic. They may have a lot to be proud of, but they also have a lot to learn.

One area that the Singaporeans could teach Sydney a thing or two is in the use of smartcards for the transportation system. To use the MRT commuter rail and bus system you place your stored-value smartcard in the vicinity of the validator as you enter or leave to vehicle or station gate and the fare is calculated and deducted from your card. No messing about with inserting paper cards in a slot, so the system is much faster than the Sydney ticket readers. Cards can be topped up using the automatic ticket machines using cash or card. A variety of notes are accepted and the system actually seems to work. Furthermore, it’s cheap. Our trip from the airport to the hotel cost us less than $2 each. Just the gatepass alone in Sydney cost more than $7.

The only criticisms that I have of the MRT are that they are quite uncomfortable and crowded. The carriages are designed for standinng passengers with limited wall mounted hard plastic seats. I would not like to spend one and a half hours on the MRT such as I do in Sydney.

Walking around busy areas of Singapore proved to be quite a challenge. Singaporeans seem to have a very small personal space and are content to walk very close to you. When walking in opposing directions it appears that they expect you to get out of their way. As a consequence I bumped into many other pedestrians and stepped on quite few feet.

Workaholism appears to be a large problem in Singapore. While waiting at Changi airport at 4am for B’s Mum we observed a number of students sitting at the Delifrance tables, absolutely exhausted, studying. This was a Saturday morning! It’s just wrong and probably explains why Singaporeans are somewhat screwed up.

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