cutting in line/ queue jumping in Singapore

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.
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baba_ali
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Post by baba_ali » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 2:40 pm

My apology for butting in to this conversation. I am a foreigner who had been here since I was a kid so I can see , well I think I can , both side of the argument.

I shall start by looking from Singapore's point of view. Singapore , very small island , never was intended to be a country. It was meant to be a trading port and thats it. It has absolutely nothing.

How can it survive if it is no better than surrounding neighbour countries? Would you rather stay/work in Malaysia/Indonesia/Thailand or here if everything is about the same standard , say salary-wise. If all thing the same , the rest will be much better choice simply because they are bigger. Singapore can either Sink or Swim. There is no compromise.

Ask yourself , why are people raving so much about Singapore from far? Here is one example ,

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
For years Singapore's "brand" has more or less been Southeast Asia's "place that works." Its legendary operational efficiency in all it does has attracted businesses of all sorts to set up shop there. But as "the rest" in the geographic neighborhood closed the efficiency gap, and China continued to rise-race-soar, Singapore decided a couple of years ago to "rebrand" itself as not only a place that works but also as an exciting, "with it" city. (I was a participant in an early rebranding conference that also featured the likes of the late Anita Roddick, Deepak Chopra, and Infosys founder and superman N. R. Narayana Murthy.)

Singapore's fabled operating efficiency starts, as indeed it should, at ports of entry—the airport being a prime example. From immigration to baggage claim to transportation downtown, the services are unmatched anywhere in the world for speed and efficiency.

Saga . . .

Immigration services in Thailand, three days before a trip to Singapore, were a pain. ("Memorable.") And entering Russia some months ago was hardly a walk in the park, either. To be sure, and especially after 9/11, entry to the United States has not been a process you'd mistake for arriving at Disneyland, nor marked by an attitude that shouted "Welcome, honored guest."

Singapore immigration services, on the other hand:

The entry form was a marvel of simplicity.

The lines were short, very short, with more than adequate staffing.

The process was simple and unobtrusive.

And:

The immigration officer could have easily gotten work at Starbucks; she was all smiles and courtesy.

And:

Yes!

Yes!

And . . . yes!

There was a little candy jar at each Immigration portal!

The "candy jar message" in a dozen ways:

"Welcome to Singapore, Tom!! We are absolutely beside ourselves with delight that you have decided to come here!"

Wow!

Wow!

Wow!

Ask yourself . . . now:

What is my (personal, department, project, restaurant, law firm) "Two-Cent Candy"?

Does every part of the process of working with us/me include two-cent candies?


------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And why are people in Singapore complaining about Singapore?

Because it is the same thing! People in the west such as Tom Peters, want products that are timely , productive , efficient , CHEAP and Singapore provide them. The question is where are you? In front of the counter or behind the counter?

Lets look at them.

Do you know you can order pizza 24/7? I know alot of foreigners are surprised by it. I am told in some countries , such as Australia , shops close after 5/6 pm and no public buses after some time too? But think about those delivery people working over night. Would you want to be one of them?

From far , Singapore is the best country to live in. When you are in the system you realised that it SUX to be behind the counter. Be it the best country or best restaurant or the best student.

You cannot be playing WoW day and night and same time go to Harvard.

You also cannot have perfect industrial harmony , meaning no strikes , and also have perfect democracy.

If you all don't like it , why not go around the town with banner saying how Singapore courtesy campaign is not doing anything? You will be instantly arrested. Thats why Singapore is well-loved by many MNC companies , for contrast look at France and their truck drivers.

Singapore MRT/Buses have no chewing gums or litters because you can literally be fined/canned/jained for littering. Isn't it? Americans should know it very well.

Bring your relatives over to Singapore for a week or so visit. Then ask them. They will tell you exactly what Tom Peter said above. Singapore is absolutely perfect. Perfectly safe , efficient , everything is available 24/7 , everything is working as they should be.

Singapore cannot survive without people believing it is perfect. Thailand is not perfect but it can survive if no tourists there because it has huge rice fields and rivers and forests and mountains. What does Singapore have?

Think about it. Singapore is like a model who is pretty on pictures but dying of anorexia. You cannot have skeleton-like body and be healthy. Singapore have absolutely no choice but to suffer.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 3:07 pm

Yep, clean & efficient and Johnny on the spot when it comes to infrastructure and getting the people here. After they are here for a while, it's when they realize the dirty, gritty underside of this little red dot. So I guess it's good that the average visit to Singapore is only 3.5 days because after that they might start looking beyond the floss/gloss. Fortunately, though, the gahmen has set up lots of "eye-candy" to keep the visitors out of the heartlands where in the early hours of the morning (and even on Orchard Road) the Foreign Workers are hard at it trying to keep it looking bright & shiny in spite of the locals who litter incessantly whenever they think no one is looking. (See who are most often in the corrective vests).

Leeky was able to build the infrastructure by destroying what was there and build fresh. Unfortunately, try as he might, he couldn't do that with the population. Although he did try his hand a genetic engineering a number of years ago with the O'Level parents scheme and the Graduate Mother's Scheme before that. The less said there, the better, but if you are curious:

http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=1991

http://www.un.org/Depts/escap/pop/journal/v10n4a3.htm

I remember both. :?
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 baba_ali » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 5:08 pm

I think you missed my point. I am not saying Singapore is bad. I am saying Singapore is bad because thats the only way it can be.

For example , suppose someone said "All Harvard graduates are smart" But its not that all of them are smart the key. The key is Harvard only accept outstanding students.

Or says farmers have strong hands. But farmers without strong hands would have died long time ago.

Or Charles Darwin would have said - Evolution , only the strongest and smartest will survive because they will dominate the rest when fighting for food or mate.

Same here. There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.

Would you like it if Singaporeans relax and all offices and shops close after 5? What about Singapore govt allows chewing gums and you happen to sit down on one of them on train? What about a group of people blocking roads to lobby for a bill , they seem to do that alot in France. What about airport totally closed down due to strike by pilots?

You want rights for yourself then you must also accept the rights of the others to do the same. You want Singaporeans to be polite , kind , more easy-going and fun-loving , meaning civilised people then you must relax your expectations of Singapore.

But Singapore is magnet for MNCs because the standards are ridiculously high by most western countries' standards. Why don't HP and IBM follow one global office hours, Say 9-5 and after that mandatory that office rooms be closed? Then nobody will be able to stay overnight even if he wishes.

Clearly , you want to blame Singaporeans for being rude , Singapore govt for being undemocratic ( whatever that might means to you ) , then you take action.

Singapore is all about sales. It is selling the image that people here can work 24/7 like egypt slaves building pyramids and same for salary-wise so your western MNCs can pay their CEO multi-million dollar salaries. If you are in US/UK you be glad someone in Singapore is treated as slaves so you can get the stuff cheap. The only problem is you are in Singapore , behind the counter.

Finally , shut up people such as Tom Peters who probably get paid millions to advertise Singapore. Ask him to come and work here if he thinks its so good.

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Post by JayCee » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 5:43 pm

baba_ali wrote:Same here. There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.
I see what you're saying and I would say the same is also true of HK (small country with no natural resources, although in that case it changed in 1997 but the people's attitude is still the same). To play a little Devil's advocate though - the Japanese seem to manage being polite and efficient at the same time

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Post by baba_ali » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 5:49 pm

JayCee wrote:
baba_ali wrote:Same here. There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.
I see what you're saying and I would say the same is also true of HK (small country with no natural resources, although in that case it changed in 1997 but the people's attitude is still the same). To play a little Devil's advocate though - the Japanese seem to manage being polite and efficient at the same time
Agreed totally. And I have answer to that too.... imagine that!

Jap has about 90-95% of population being its own nationals , Japaneses.

Singapore? Well , there is not much to say , we are in expat forum after all.

See , when you are surrounded by people and 1 out of 2 ( 50% if you never pay attention in math class ) people you see are foreigners , you don't give a sh*t. Because they can't complain. Its either your way or the highway.

Isn't this the mentality in US too? Don't be shy.

Its not true for Jap , as I have pointed above. 9/10 or 90-95% or even may be 100% of your neighbors are born and bred in Japan , same for people you meet on the street. They share the same pain and joy as you. In fact , you are part of a big family of Japanese who came from China long time ago.

Would Singaporeans give up seats to their OWN grandmothers and relatives? Oh yes. We all would.

See it?

FYI : Hong Kongers (or Honkies as they are affectionately called) , can run away to China anytime. Singapore Chinese go where? :P Hong Kong was never a country by itself. Singapore is.
Last edited by baba_ali on Tue, 04 Jan 2011 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Addadude » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 5:50 pm

baba_ali wrote:There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.
baba_ali wrote:You want Singaporeans to be polite , kind , more easy-going and fun-loving , meaning civilised people then you must relax your expectations of Singapore.
I've been trying to follow your train of thought - and ended up completely lost.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Are you saying that politeness, kindness and civilised behaviour = inefficiency?
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Post by poodlek » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 5:56 pm

baba_ali wrote: Same here. There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.

Would you like it if Singaporeans relax and all offices and shops close after 5? What about Singapore govt allows chewing gums and you happen to sit down on one of them on train? What about a group of people blocking roads to lobby for a bill , they seem to do that alot in France. What about airport totally closed down due to strike by pilots?
Comparing Singapore to the only other place I've lived for a significant amount of time, Toronto seems to have the best of both which you seem to suggest is impossible. Perhaps we're not *quite* as laid back as Australians, but our shops and offices are open as late as they are here, and I can order a pizza at 4am and have it delivered hot (and within 30 minutes--something that's never happened here, oh, and it's tasty and 1/3 the price but I digress...)

For some reason, although chewing gum and food and drink are allowed on the subway, it doesn't ever get to be as dirty or disordered as people suggest it would here if the same were allowed. The Toronto Transit Commission certainly has its issues, and it's not fair to say it's better than SMRT but it does run 24 hours.

As for service interruptions for strikes and demonstrations Toronto certainly has its share of those, but they're not nearly as bad as you'd think. I personally am happy to be a citizen of a country where I have the right to affect change in that way. I wouldn't say it takes much away from the productivity of the average businessman's day, but maybe I'm being naive. I think if Singaporeans were faced with having to find an alternate way to get to work because the MRT drivers were on strike, they'd still manage to get there and get their 14 hours of work in. Ditto for a sanitation strike. After the first couple days of living in filth they'd adapt. Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit, but if something needs to get done, it gets done, whether there's a strike or not. I don't think that the key to weathering a strike or political demonstration is in the amount of natural resources or manufacturing that a country's economy can fall back on. Yes, strikes and demonstrations are a pain in the ass, but living in a country where they cannot happen is merely a convenience. I don't see it as a real benefit to the economy.

Also, you seem to suggest that the attitude problem in Singapore is a trade off for high efficiency and superior service. That might be true if everything actually were run efficiently and with common sense here. But it just ain't. Common sense and efficiency (in my experience) have been terribly hard to find outside of Changi airport, the MRT and the MoM.

So where does that leave Singaporeans? To me it looks like they mostly ride on the success and knowledge of expats in the upper echelons of business (sorry if that's harsh, just my observation from my experience here) and rely on the expats in the lower echelons (or to put it as a characteristic euphemism "foreign workers") to do the real gritty hard work of keeping the place clean and driving infrastructure forward.
In the middle they tend to be ignorant, foolish and in many cases rude. They may work 16 hours a day, but it seems that for the amount of work they get done, a North American could have done it in 10 hours. So what's the point?

But it's their country and they undoubtedly prefer it that way. I can't fault them for enjoying the status quo.

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Post by x9200 » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:04 pm

I think it is much more simple. The wealth development can be rapid. This is never the case for social development, especially if many behaviors are not native to a particular culture. What you described is probably the effect not the underlying reason.

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Post by baba_ali » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:05 pm

Addadude wrote:
baba_ali wrote:There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.
baba_ali wrote:You want Singaporeans to be polite , kind , more easy-going and fun-loving , meaning civilised people then you must relax your expectations of Singapore.
I've been trying to follow your train of thought - and ended up completely lost.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Are you saying that politeness, kindness and civilised behaviour = inefficiency?
Not all the time. Let me give you an example.

Say you have a shop opened in Orchard , selling ice-cream. One day , one of your staff came late and affected the lunch hour and customer orders during office lunch break. You ask him why , and he says he was helping an old lady crossing the street. You let him go.

The next day , another of your staff came late and said the reason is because he was helping his younger sis with schoolwork.

Are both reasons acceptable to you?

Now , here is the real question. Are both reasons acceptable to your customers???

Meaning , if you go orchard during lunch break , usual 1 hour break , and you ordered ice-cream and it came late. I am pretty sure you be bad-mouthing the shop here all day long. Isn't it?

How can customers know why there has been such delays? I am in IT and there is always delay and problems for customers , no end to it. Some are my fault and most are their faults or previous administrator fault or even Microsoft's faults. Can you as my customer would be willing to come back to me even if I had made mistakes? Would you?

Yes you would , if your boss allows you to.

See it all goes one big round. Your ice-cream came late so you came back to office from lunch late. So your project is late and hence you met your manager and explain why-oh-why your project is not on time. Then you came home and your grandma told you about a boy who helped her to cross the street while nobody would.

See the loop? Your boss pressure you and you pressure the ice-cream shop owner who in turn pressure his staff who is told never to help anyone when he is running late for work or else he be fired.

It doesn't need to happen if your manager don't go around promising unrealistic targets to his customers. If Singapore govt tomorrow says , there might be litters on street and some MRT might have chewing gums then there be no pressure on cleaners. Then there be no perfectly cleaned place in Singapore.

Its all about how we pressure each other. So yes the guy who helped your grandma should be fired because if you allow him , everyone else who came late also be allowed then your customers might not come back at all. Why? cause they must be on time for returning to office. Because their manager needs the project to be finished on time. Because his CEO promised them.

Simple.

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Post by JR8 » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:14 pm

The Swiss manage to be meticulously efficient whilst being scrupulously polite.

They also have a higher nominal per capita GDP than Singapore, and a better quality of life, plus a free press.

The suggestion that to be 'efficient' requires that Singaporeans are rude is utterly bizaare. When Singapore can do without the smile-because-you're-told-to and two cent sweets, it will be making progress.

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Post by baba_ali » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:15 pm

poodlek wrote:
baba_ali wrote: Same here. There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.

Would you like it if Singaporeans relax and all offices and shops close after 5? What about Singapore govt allows chewing gums and you happen to sit down on one of them on train? What about a group of people blocking roads to lobby for a bill , they seem to do that alot in France. What about airport totally closed down due to strike by pilots?
Comparing Singapore to the only other place I've lived for a significant amount of time, Toronto seems to have the best of both which you seem to suggest is impossible. Perhaps we're not *quite* as laid back as Australians, but our shops and offices are open as late as they are here, and I can order a pizza at 4am and have it delivered hot (and within 30 minutes--something that's never happened here, oh, and it's tasty and 1/3 the price but I digress...)

For some reason, although chewing gum and food and drink are allowed on the subway, it doesn't ever get to be as dirty or disordered as people suggest it would here if the same were allowed. The Toronto Transit Commission certainly has its issues, and it's not fair to say it's better than SMRT but it does run 24 hours.

As for service interruptions for strikes and demonstrations Toronto certainly has its share of those, but they're not nearly as bad as you'd think. I personally am happy to be a citizen of a country where I have the right to affect change in that way. I wouldn't say it takes much away from the productivity of the average businessman's day, but maybe I'm being naive. I think if Singaporeans were faced with having to find an alternate way to get to work because the MRT drivers were on strike, they'd still manage to get there and get their 14 hours of work in. Ditto for a sanitation strike. After the first couple days of living in filth they'd adapt. Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit, but if something needs to get done, it gets done, whether there's a strike or not. I don't think that the key to weathering a strike or political demonstration is in the amount of natural resources or manufacturing that a country's economy can fall back on. Yes, strikes and demonstrations are a pain in the ass, but living in a country where they cannot happen is merely a convenience. I don't see it as a real benefit to the economy.

Also, you seem to suggest that the attitude problem in Singapore is a trade off for high efficiency and superior service. That might be true if everything actually were run efficiently and with common sense here. But it just ain't. Common sense and efficiency (in my experience) have been terribly hard to find outside of Changi airport, the MRT and the MoM.

So where does that leave Singaporeans? To me it looks like they mostly ride on the success and knowledge of expats in the upper echelons of business (sorry if that's harsh, just my observation from my experience here) and rely on the expats in the lower echelons (or to put it as a characteristic euphemism "foreign workers") to do the real gritty hard work of keeping the place clean and driving infrastructure forward.
In the middle they tend to be ignorant, foolish and in many cases rude. They may work 16 hours a day, but it seems that for the amount of work they get done, a North American could have done it in 10 hours. So what's the point?

But it's their country and they undoubtedly prefer it that way. I can't fault them for enjoying the status quo.
You do realised the difference between doing something for survival and love right? If all Canadians do what they love , would things have changed? Probably not. If Singaporeans do what they love , who is going to fill in the blanks? Such as cleaning toilets and so on. In Singapore , you fit the system , elsewhere the system fits you.

Can you guarantee that North American will do the project within 10 hours? If not we kill him? If this sounds extreme , then think about Singapore. If Singapore roads aren't spotless clean and everything else is same as Malaysia , all the companies would move there. Then you won't be in Singapore at all.

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Post by poodlek » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:15 pm

Addadude wrote:
baba_ali wrote:There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.
baba_ali wrote:You want Singaporeans to be polite , kind , more easy-going and fun-loving , meaning civilised people then you must relax your expectations of Singapore.
I've been trying to follow your train of thought - and ended up completely lost.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Are you saying that politeness, kindness and civilised behaviour = inefficiency?
I think that's exactly what he's saying. Except as a customer here in Singapore I expect my ice cream to come late because that's just the way customer service works here :-P
And it's not because the ice cream server was helping an old lady, it's because his boss didn't teach him how to serve the ice cream quickly. Like SMS said in another thread, why bother, they're never coming back anyway!

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Post by nakatago » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:18 pm

This will quickly degenerate into something ugly...

I just know it will.
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:25 pm

nakatago wrote:This will quickly degenerate into something ugly...

I just know it will.
And so early in the New Year as well! :cool:
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 baba_ali » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 6:26 pm

poodlek wrote:
Addadude wrote:
baba_ali wrote:There may have been polite , easy-going , fun-loving Singaporeans. But if Singapore is full of them would you be in Singapore? Then nothing will get done on time. Pizza will never be delivered hot.
baba_ali wrote:You want Singaporeans to be polite , kind , more easy-going and fun-loving , meaning civilised people then you must relax your expectations of Singapore.
I've been trying to follow your train of thought - and ended up completely lost.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Are you saying that politeness, kindness and civilised behaviour = inefficiency?
I think that's exactly what he's saying. Except as a customer here in Singapore I expect my ice cream to come late because that's just the way customer service works here :-P
And it's not because the ice cream server was helping an old lady, it's because his boss didn't teach him how to serve the ice cream quickly. Like SMS said in another thread, why bother, they're never coming back anyway!
See if the shop got customer service problem , it should not be existing at all. I don't get it. You sounds like every ice-cream shop got problem. Then go another shop! vote with your dollar and sooner or later only the best will survive.

And if the service is bad , tell your friends and post on facebook and write to newspaper! Whats stopping you?

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