Posts Tagged Singapore

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La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalunia, Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalunia, Spain. © Jon Huang, 2008

Sri Mariamman Hindu temple, Singapore

Sri Mariamman Hindu temple, Singapore. © Jon Huang, 2008

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MRT Hooligans

Since coming back to Singapore four weeks ago, I have been increasingly aware of the bad behaviour prevalent in Singaporean MRT trains. This could either mean that I’m losing the uniquely Singaporean ability to tolerate bullshit, or Singapore has become a more rude place to be.

It is so rare to see someone give up an MRT seat to another who needs it more, people rush into the trains as if their life depends on it, cutting the queue to top up your fare card. All of this I have noticed in the trains and stations.

Yesterday, Gong, GK and I were in the train heading for Bugis, the train wasn’t full, and we were the only ones standing. At City Hall station, a ‘lady’ in her early thirties rushed in looking like a mad dog and headed for the lone empty seat behind us. To reach this seat which she has a divine right to put her ass on, she chose the shortest path, which was obstructed by gong. So easily, she pushed aside gong, who nearly lost his balance. Plainly speaking, I was pissed.

I see this as a problem in Singapore society. This is not a problem that can be solved quickly, but it may take a generation or two before Singaporeans become more aware of their social behaviour. The best way to do this is by teaching the next generation when they are young. Many may argue that such behaviour is inevitable in a pressure cooker environment such as Singapore, and kiasu behaviour is a survival response.

I think not, as I’m sure people are capable of being gracious as well as competitive. Filtering out situations when selfish behaviour is not necessary to survive, such as a MRT train commute.

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Jamaican chess player busker guy

Hanging out with Tham at orchard road, I came across one of the more interesting buskers, a Jamaican chess player guy who’s playing to go home to visit his sick father. He needs 2 grand before the 23rd December.

I smell a fish… considering the circumstances (sick father, no money, no return ticket), why would he have in the first place come to Singapore? If I were him, I would rather go to Miami or somewhere nearer to Jamaica than Singapore halfway round the world to busk. And why the 23rd of Dec? Does his dad get better after that, or are there no more flights home for him, or maybe his visitor pass ends on that day.

Whatever his intentions, his act really draws a crowd. I didn’t really see how good he is, but being the Jamaica No.1 should at least mean something.

This is what’s on his poster:

Father dying of prostate cancer. Fund-raising to purchase flight ticket back to Jamaica to visit sick father in hospital. $2000 required before 23rd of December. Coins, notes, handshake greatly appreciated!

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