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Singapore surprises

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duckylucky
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Singapore surprises

Postby duckylucky » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 6:07 pm

Singapore surprises

I have been here for 6 months and will return home soon. I have been surprised by a lot of things here:

- I thought this would be a more open and innovative culture, but was dismayed to find the complete opposite. People love rules, polices and other forms of imaginary certainty. New ideas or differences are bad, which is the opposite of what is needed for innovation! I lived in Japan and sometimes think Singapore wants to emulate Japan's notorious resistance to change and decades of almost no growth!

- I thought the diversity here would be a strength and contribute to open-mindedness and creativity, but apparently not. Foreigners don't seem to be integrated into the culture and there seems to be hostility toward them. I see how poorly the maids are treated as just one example. I wrote a local article about this topic: http://sbr.com.sg/hr-education/commenta ... -singapore

- I imagined Singapore would be much more environmentally aware or green. This is the perfect place for electric cars given the short distances driven, but I have not any. This is a great place for solar power, but I rarely see any panels.

- I felt even safer than what I expected. In 6 months, I encountered no threatening assholes!

- There is really cheap food at the hawker centers, and then everywhere else, food is pretty expensive. I have not seen such a big and widespread difference before.

- A related point is food from the supermarkets. I was surprised to see so much stuff from the US and Europe. I imagined everything coming from closer sources. Because of this, I expected really good fruit, like in Thailand. Unfortunately, the poor fruit selection, quality and high prices all disappoint.

- The infrastructure is great and in many ways superior to what I have seen in most other countries. However, the bus drivers brake and accelerate in what seems to be an concerted effort to make the ride as jerky and uncomfortable as possible for passengers!

-Singapore is not as clean as I had imagined. It is pretty clean compared to the countries in the region, but it’s no cleaner than most developed cities. I see trash all over the streets, especially around the public housing areas. Maybe more trash cans would help; seems strange that there are so few.

-15% income tax rate... now that is nice!

Overall, I liked it here and would come back.

Eric

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zzm9980
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Re: Singapore surprises

Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 9:08 pm

duckylucky wrote:- I imagined Singapore would be much more environmentally aware or green. This is the perfect place for electric cars given the short distances driven, but I have not any. This is a great place for solar power, but I rarely see any panels.


My HDB block (and quite a few others nearby) have panels on the roof, and digital displays on the ground level showing the current power generation stats. I assumed lots of HDBs had this, but I could be very wrong.

duckylucky wrote:- A related point is food from the supermarkets. I was surprised to see so much stuff from the US and Europe. I imagined everything coming from closer sources. Because of this, I expected really good fruit, like in Thailand. Unfortunately, the poor fruit selection, quality and high prices all disappoint.

Shop in some of the wet markets. Much cheaper, but you may be turned off by the hygene. Of course, no worse than what the grocery stores just hide from you.

duckylucky wrote:- The infrastructure is great and in many ways superior to what I have seen in most other countries. However, the bus drivers brake and accelerate in what seems to be an concerted effort to make the ride as jerky and uncomfortable as possible for passengers!

Third-world driving skills. Most of the drivers are from PRC. It would be even worse if they were local!

duckylucky wrote:-15% income tax rate... now that is nice!

Way lower if you had stayed more than 180 days :) (Unless your taxable salary is somewhere north of ~$360,000)

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gonzales
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Re: Singapore surprises

Postby gonzales » Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:20 am

duckylucky wrote: However, the bus drivers brake and accelerate in what seems to be an concerted effort to make the ride as jerky and uncomfortable as possible for passengers!



I noted this also & gave it quite a bit of thought.

My 2 Cents: This is the behaviour borne of a sense of powerlessness & disenchantment - Their paymasters have their unwavering compliance (except for the strike) & Customers are distant at best.

Putting the equipment & passengers through the ringer by tearing the hole out of the Clutch & Brakes is their attempt to claw back some power, I think.

Just an opinion but I really think it's the case.

I'd say only .50% of the drivers drive over the top like this in my experience.

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Re: Singapore surprises

Postby bgd » Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:55 am

duckylucky wrote:Singapore surprises

-Singapore is not as clean as I had imagined. It is pretty clean compared to the countries in the region, but it’s no cleaner than most developed cities. I see trash all over the streets, especially around the public housing areas. Maybe more trash cans would help; seems strange that there are so few.


Singapore isn't clean, it just has an army of cleaners. Just imagine how it would look if they weren't here. And they may not be the way things are going.

Despite all your surprises you'd still come back. Me too. I still like it here.

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Brah
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Re: Singapore surprises

Postby Brah » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 12:21 am

gonzales wrote:
duckylucky wrote: However, the bus drivers brake and accelerate in what seems to be an concerted effort to make the ride as jerky and uncomfortable as possible for passengers!



I noted this also & gave it quite a bit of thought.

My 2 Cents: This is the behaviour borne of a sense of powerlessness & disenchantment - Their paymasters have their unwavering compliance (except for the strike) & Customers are distant at best.

Putting the equipment & passengers through the ringer by tearing the hole out of the Clutch & Brakes is their attempt to claw back some power, I think.

I'd say only .50% of the drivers drive over the top like this in my experience.


Agree on the 50%, not on the rationale - it's much simpler than that, and like a lot of things here, like waitstaff carrying plates, silverware or glasses with their fingers all over them - they just lack that common sense gene to know any better. It's not malicious, just ignorant.
Last edited by Brah on Sat, 13 Apr 2013 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 8:17 am

Did it change to worse only recently? I am asking because I remember people always complaining about this and the PRC drivers are a more recent addition.
On a different note, my wife told me that some of them can not communicate even in basic English (vocabulary within their job duties) so she ended up one day with a free ride as the driver was not able to tell her how much needed to be paid (and she had not the ezl card with her).

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 9:22 am

Actually, I ride buses daily and have been doing so for the last 20 years or so. The jerky rides experienced on some buses are usually via local drivers. This is common to two groups of drivers, the young and the elder drivers, but for different reasons. The elders, from a life long habit of thinking that speeding up, doesn't use any more petrol, but coasting saves gas (improbable you say? The elders also drive without headlights when in town because they think that it saves battery power, not realizing what an alternator/generator does. The younger drivers still have the stoplight grand prix tendencies. Jackrabbit starts and rapid braking.

To me the best drivers WERE the PRC drivers for the most part, and/or the Malaysian Chinese drivers.

Since the events of the past 6 months re: PRC drivers, there has been a lot of hiring of "locals" again and the ride quality has gone downhill exponentially. I am very friendly with bus drivers so get to know them somewhat, so I find out where they are from, etc. While the PRC know little English or get confused, if new, on routes occasionally. They are smoother drivers when compared to the locals (the exceptions being the local middle aged male and all of the female drivers that I've happened upon.

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Postby Brah » Sat, 13 Apr 2013 12:00 pm

The best bus driver I've had here, and rode on buses he drove a few times, was a local Indian guy who smiled and greeted everyone as they entered. And he was a good driver with none of that jerky driving nonsense. And there are others, there is a Chinese lady much the same as he.

Someone should teach the other bus and taxi drivers, they waste fuel driving that way.

I had to tell one taxi driver to cut it out because it was making me nauseous.

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Postby BedokAmerican » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 2:12 pm

One of the things that surprised me the most when I moved here a few months back was how clueless people are here. When going into a store and asking an employee a simple question about where an item is located or if they sell something particular and they look at you like you're a ghost. They'll often say they don't have something just because they don't want to deal with you or they'll try and bluff their way.

Now, SOMETIMES people can be helpful and know what they're talking about, but more often than not, they're totally clueless. They usually won't say something like, "I'm not sure, let me check."

Also, oftentimes security guards don't even know their way around the buildings where they work.

Now, please please please please forgive me for sounding racist, but most Asians living in America are very smart and articulate (although there are some exceptions). I know this isn't America, but I suppose I thought that would be the case worldwide and that Singapore would be filled with smart, articulate people. Like I said, SOME people here are bright and articulate but most aren't. This was one of the things that has surprised me about Singapore.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 4:56 pm

BedokAmerican wrote:
Now, please please please please forgive me for sounding racist, but most Asians living in America are very smart and articulate (although there are some exceptions). I know this isn't America, but I suppose I thought that would be the case worldwide and that Singapore would be filled with smart, articulate people. Like I said, SOME people here are bright and articulate but most aren't. This was one of the things that has surprised me about Singapore.


You may be on to something. Something here stifling thought? We've joked plenty about it before.

But more likely, it's just that dimwitted and not so intelligent people are less likely to move half way across the world to pursue an opportunity, like you, I, or the Asians you speak of in the US.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 5:01 pm

Which leads us back to the conundrum of the gahmen wanting a island full of citizens who are only PMETs. :lol: :roll:

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 6:29 pm

zzm9980 wrote:You may be on to something. Something here stifling thought? We've joked plenty about it before.

But more likely, it's just that dimwitted and not so intelligent people are less likely to move half way across the world to pursue an opportunity, like you, I, or the Asians you speak of in the US.


+^1
I was sitting here reading BA's post to my wife, and I concluded more or less precisely what you say above ZZM, and that was before scrolling down the topic further and seeing your post!

http://www.contactsingapore.sg/overseas_singaporeans/
Contact Singapore

Part of their task is luring back SGns who have departed for foreign shores, precisely because the ones with the initiative and talent to make it outside of Di$neypore, are precisely the kind of people they really want back.

It's serious business. They have mobile roadshows in major cities, and it's open invite to SGns + family.
- combine copious amounts of freebies (we got so many jars of chili sauce and curry gravy etc., that we literally could barely carry it all home, maybe 30-40kgs!).
- a good range of free hawker food (the cooks and their gear/stands is all flown in from SG!). You can imagine the queues! You'd get one meal, and then eat it whilst queueing at the next stall (in such company, if you snooze you lose :))
- Some mawkish heartstring-tweeking cultural performance.
- gahmen advisors for that question about how to re-apply for the citizenship that you now wonder if you rather hastily revoked.
- HDB and realtors, for advice on housing.
- An SQ stand dishing out $10 off flights 'home' vouchers.

... and that's how it goes...

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Postby iamsen » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 7:17 pm

The nice ex-Singaporeans on that website look distinctly non-Singaporean.

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Postby nakatago » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 7:30 pm

iamsen wrote:The nice ex-Singaporeans on that website look distinctly non-Singaporean.


It's not as bad as those panels in constructions sites with nothing but white people featured on the graphics--no Asians at all!

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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 14 Apr 2013 7:33 pm

iamsen wrote:The nice ex-Singaporeans on that website look distinctly non-Singaporean.


The Archer lady looks oriental.
Now I'm called PNGMK


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