My biggest whinges about Singapore - are they justified?

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My biggest whinges about Singapore - are they justified?

Post by ADH » Tue, 28 Mar 2006 8:43 pm

I've been in Singapore 18 months now and I will be leaving in a few months' time to move back to Sydney. Initially, I really enjoyed being here; it's clean, efficient with hot weather and a great selection of international food and a perfect hub for travelling around SE Asia. However, I now have a list of gripes and wondered if anyone has any logical explanations for them which may encourage me to accept them so I can enjoy my remaining months here. In no particular order, they are:

1. Hacking and sniffing - I have had to sit on flights and endure sniffing every 10 seconds from Singaporeans around me. Why don't they just blow their noses? I know it's considered rude in Japan so why not just go to the toilet? Your body is telling you it does not want something to remain in your body hence it produces snot which you should remove. It drives me mad. Hacking as well cannot be healthy for the body and cause damage to your windpipe and is very rude, especially when done directly in front of you when you are eating...

2. MRT & Plane Pushing - why rush to get to your seat when it's allocated? I can almost understand it when it is free seating (even if I was once on a flight when only 30 seats were taken on a plane that held 120 - people still ran on as if they will evaporate if they did not board within 10 seconds of the first boarding call). I have had stand up rows with people on the MRT when they attempt to push me onto the MRT and I resist them and then they accuse me of pushing them! (the woman in question was behind me so how can I push someone from behind?). She started hurling abuse at me in Chinese - I told her not to be so immature and to stop glaring like a naughty school child.

3. Why don't Singaporeans keep doors open for people and exercise what I consider general manners? (I guess 'I consider' is the operative phrase here)

4. Why do Singaporeans stand 1mm away from lift doors and refuse to move when you are trying to get out of the life and therefore have right of way? All that pressing of the open and close buttons really is not necessary...(just like at pedestrian crossings, it doesn't matter if the button is pressed once or 100 times, it has been activated, end of story)

5. Why can they not drive correctly? Everyone speeds in every country I know but not like here. Driving less than 1 metre from the car in front is just dangerous. Kiasuism at its most dangerous. Why do bus drivers/taxi drivers insist on using the brake/accelerator alternately every split second? Why do Singaporeans not understand the indicator is not an optional extra and trying to turn left while in the right hand lane on a roundabout is just stupid?

6. Why do people in my condo throw cigarettes onto my balcony? (they may not be Singaporeans here of course)

7. Why are there taxi drivers out there that cannot understand the word Newton when said 20 times by two different people with two very different accents? A taxi driver should be able to speak enough English to understand major landmarks in English. However, I think most taxi drivers are excellent so that's only a small gripe.

8. Lastly, why do people always sit on the seat closer to the bus aisle so people have to step over them?

I know this will provoke some interesting reactions....(go on, take the bait)

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 12:25 am

My biggest whinges about Singapore - are they justified?

Yes and no.

Read the archives. It's been done to death at least once every two months. We can't change it so may as well accept it or leave. If you wanted Sydney then you should have stayed in Sydney. Here you have the results of selective inbreeding (or social engineering to give it a better name). You just have to live with it.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Wham » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 7:10 am

ADH - you list is amusing - but it does get covered once every two months on these pages because you are right.
SMS - Harsh! Yes - these things exist but i hate the "take it or leave it" answer as i prefer a more real answer - Singaporeans are an odd lot of extreme capitalists that have somehow been educated in all that matters for making money - but very little when it comes to what i just can't avoid calling "common courtesy." This is furthermore complicated by the fact that it has become an extremely status symbol seeking country that values signs of wealth (say LV bags) more than good manners and other things that count as simply pure good virtues. It saddens me to say it - but if Singapore were a person i think we would say she is pretty, but sometimes shallow and spoiled.

Example 1 - Now here is one example for all those who think the pushing and shoving done on the subway is an asian thing - i was up in Bangkok last week - a prime example of a VERY crowded and potentially pushy city - but on the subway - everybody queues up and stands aside for the doors. I was shocked as i expected the normal singapore behavior.

Example 2 - a few days ago i took a visitor to show him an outdoor food court and the first thing that we see is some guy sneeze and then wipe a huge wad of snot off of his face with his hand and then fling it 4 feet to the ground. Made me sick to my stomach.

SMS - i write this because as long as people take the "accept it or leave" approach - nothing will change.
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." Samuel Johnson

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Post by ADH » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 7:31 am

Trust me, I am out of here as soon as my company allows me. Unfortunately, I cannot just leave as I cannot simply quit my job and then pay $1000s to have stuff shipped back and then be jobless in Sydney. However, I take your point. The reason I raised the points was that I had heard some interesting justifications as to why a certain chunk of Singaporean society act that way, such as blowing your nose being deemed to be far more offensive than actually blowing your nose, and wondered if there were more justifications out there.

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Post by tiki » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 8:03 am

My ultimate pet peeve would be them who treat their domestic help ( or 'maids', as they have been categorised ) as nothing more than just servants.....

Just the other weekend at the Maxwell Foodcourt, as a family of 10 excluding 4 kids,sat down, their lone domestic helper was instructed to take the food orders. if that wasn't enough, she was told to hurry back as the kids were left by themselves at another table.

As they tucked in heartily, the helper was busy trying to feed the children, inbetween breaking up a few 'wrestling matches'... and she did not have any food to herself.

As she yet again made way to order another round of food, I bumped into her and in my halting or rather, arresting Bahasa Indonesia asked her why she didn't order any food for herself. She said that it's always been like that. She eats what the children eat because they never finish their food and according to 'Mom', it would be a waste.

The best bit....

..there was another helper, who wasn't with with them.

She was put on 'lookout duty' as the family had parked their cars in a no parking zone.

I wanted to get them their own food but I fear of the backlash they'd get.

With a heavy heart, I chose to be a ghost instead of a saviour.
'If you feel alive
in a darkened room
Do you know the name
of your solitude..'

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 9:30 am

Wham wrote:ADH - you list is amusing - but it does get covered once every two months on these pages because you are right.
SMS - Harsh! Yes - these things exist but i hate the "take it or leave it" answer as i prefer a more real answer - ...........................SMS - i write this because as long as people take the "accept it or leave" approach - nothing will change.
That's the problem with the written word and being a farmboy. I can't get across what I mean occasionally. I wasn't exhorting the OP to leave as is most of the cases when it is written. That's why it wasn't couched in more demonstrative english. "We may as well accept it"

After trying for over two decades to change it, aside from my immediate family, everything remains the same except for 30 days a year during the time the courtesy campaign runs - as soon as the banners come done it back to the status quo unless another fine has been enacted. (Capitalism, I believe you mentioned?) Hit them in the pocketbook and they change - not out of social mores.

sms
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Global Citizen » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 10:17 am

I'm so ticked off because I had posted a reply to ADH and all of it gone as I was logged out (WTF) and it was long and tedious and arrrgh, I don't have the energy to do it again!!! :x
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 11:12 am

GC,

You mean your indignation has spent itself and we are saved from the next two months of repeated accusations :quarrel: and sparring :boxing: from all the good members of this forum? :mrgreen: :oops!:

Okay, Okay, I know........my bad! :wink:

NB: check out your own signature

.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Global Citizen » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 11:26 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:GC,

You mean your indignation has spent itself and we are saved from the next two months of repeated accusations :quarrel: and sparring :boxing: from all the good members of this forum? :mrgreen: :oops!:

Okay, Okay, I know........my bad! :wink:

NB: check out your own signature

.
My signature (in case you're in fact referring to it ) is something that I thought really appropriate following the trend of the whingers, whiners, groaners, moaners and grumps (now I hope there are enough adjectives to cover them all) that are so prevalent on some of the expat forums and honestly a code that I try to live by. A little wisdom that I hope to share and hopefully rub off on to the malcontents.

I'm so glad it didn't escape your notice.

SMS, you know we can agree to disagree but you do also know deep down that I'm always right don't you? :mrgreen:
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 12:48 pm

Global Citizen wrote:SMS, you know we can agree to disagree but you do also know deep down that I'm always right don't you? :mrgreen:
My wife might beg to differ. She thinks that honour is hers! Looks like I can't win anywhere. :mrgreen:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by dot dot dot » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 1:24 pm

I can subscribe to a certain extent to most written bu ADH. On the other hand, I could make a list of every country I have lived in with nice and not so nice characteristics, and I am sure ADH can make a long list of not so nice behaviour in his beloved Sydney / Australia.

Would you walk the streets late at night in bad neighbourhoods in Sydney?

Would you confront or intervene with scumbags in Sydney when they again beat up another person?

Are all people in Sydney so corteous that they will hold open doors for you, will they all smile at you and say thank you when you interact with them etc etc.

At the end of the day you have to balance what is most important to you and make the choice where you wanna live and with whom you interact.

I find living in Singapore far far far more attractive then living in my homecountry. Still I also hate the hacking and kiasuism, but I cope with it by either ignoring it when not so bad or confronting and asking for better behaviour in case it is too bad for me to handle. And in Singapore one can talk to people without being beaten up or stabbed in the back. Not so in many western countries including Australia I am afraid.

Eric

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Post by rike » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 1:40 pm

Sometimes it seems that courtesy and politeness is perceived as a sign of weakness. However talking directly to people you ususally see the nice side of Singapor.
Friend told me that 10 years ago Sing. were much more well mannered. Ever since they seem have to taken Hong Kong people as their role model in terms of their general attitude towards money and their often rude manners.??
Cant comment on that as I just came here not long ago.

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Post by rike » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 1:46 pm

ADH, if you got the time and patience browse through the Singap and Caucas. thread. There are numerous postings supporting some of your points. Thats not really strong enough a point to leave the country, isnt it?

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Post by ADH » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 2:04 pm

Eric: very wise points. To answer your questions. No, I would not walk about in dodgy suburbs anywhere in the world (I grew up in one) and therefore would probably not encounter people that beat up other people (not happened to me so far in the US, NZ, UK, Sweden, France or Australia where I have lived). Yes, on the whole, people will interact and hold the doors open etc. in Australia (far more than the UK in fact) otherwise I would not notice the fact that this is not the norm in Singapore.

I fully realise it was my choice to move here (had I known the 8 points I made, I am not sure I would - I hope greater financial rewards does not drive me totally) and I am doing everything I can to move back as soon as possible.

Of course there is behaviour in Sydney that I don't like and yes, it's a balance and it suits me to be there and not here. I also accept that I maybe put Sydney on a pedestal and ignore its faults when criticising Singapore. That said, there are many positive things about being in Singapore as I stated at the beginning of my first post. I was asking why people act that way and not saying, Sydney is better than Singapore and everyone else must agree otherwise you are a (bloody) idiot. (That's a joke about the current marketing campaign where the UK complained about using the word bloody).

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Post by dot dot dot » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 2:09 pm

I think we can agree to agree ADH.... :wink:

Hope you have a good time ahead in your homecountry!

Eric

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