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Five years in Singapore - reflections

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby IronMac » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 4:23 am

BedokAmerican wrote:
For example, go to a big grocery store to do shopping and it'll take half the day. Forget frozen/perishables because they'll melt by the time you make it home. The shopping ordeal often involves going through a large shopping mall, parking several floors up in a garage, waiting for a lift that'll accommodate a shopping cart, etc. if you take a bus or train, you can only buy what you can carry or wheel along so you can't buy too much. A cab involves waiting (and more waiting) for a ride home because it rains so often. To top it off, many employees aren't familiar with the merchandise at the stores they work. Efficient is finding a parking place on a surface lot, getting in, stock people who can point you to what you're looking for, getting out, and getting home in about an hour or so.



You have been away from North America wayyyy too long.

First off, get a cooler bag for your frozen goodies.

Second, I'm sure that there are a lot of Westerners back home who have to drive a distance to get to their supermarket or having to take transit. And I know for a fact that it's impossible at times to even find someone in the supermarket let alone someone who does not just wave a hand and say, "maybe aisle 6".

Right now, I am lucky that I live a five mins' walk from an NTUC and wet market. The closest Cold Storage is a 15 min walk away.

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 6:53 am

IronMac wrote:
singapore eagle wrote:Come on guys, I hope you're pulling my leg. Singapore is very civilised for a big city. When did you last see any yobbery?


There is a police board downstairs right now that say "Snatch Theft".


:lol: Sombody thinks it's a spelling mistake. :P

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 8:38 am

singapore eagle wrote:Ah, but watching the football/rugby/cricket on the TV and being there in person are two completely different things. Think of the millions of people in Britain, Europe, Australia, the US, etc. that were out watching games this weekend. In Singapore there just isn't that option.

This is definitely the thing I miss most about home.


I was at White Hart Lane weekend before last. We lost but it was so nice to be back in the stadium watching a game :-)

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby noskich » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 8:53 am

singapore eagle wrote:The bad

Singapore is fundamentally a dull place. Options for new things to do dry up very quickly.


I would love to know which place is not like that. After a while all places become dull. It`s just a matter of the time it takes to reach that point.
If you as you say `fundamentally` are not capable of creating fun for yourself any place won`t do.

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Postby Dert42 » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:03 am

I've only been here 5 months, but I find most people courteous and polite. Especially food workers. Being a white guy with no other langage skills, and not knowing what 3/4 the stuff is in hawker centers is equal parts fun and scary. And the food workers are always very polite and kind to my young kids.

Every one is nice until it comes to transportation. People jump line in the taxi queue, or walk right in front of you at the MRT gate. My favorite is people who walk up to the MRT, which is at 110% capacity, turn around and walk backwards. WTF! Just because you're not looking at me doesn't mean I've become an unfeeling wall that you can squish! Someone tried this recently and stepped on my toes. I shoved him back off the train. He turned around pissed, I just shoke my head at him and he ran off to try and get in another packed car.

In the US, all that stuff gets done under one roof in one day in most cases.

No. This is... no this is not at all correct. Any interaction with the DMV is horrible. Vehicle registration is an absolute nightmare, at least in my old state. It involved no less then 4 stops, all of them inefficient.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:04 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:When I was here 5 years I pretty much felt the same way. When I was here 10 years I pretty much felt the same way, but now that I've been here 30+ years, I see the truth for what it is, and the people I now see in the harsh glare of daylight and it shows up their 3rd world mentality and manners in direct contrast to the 1st world infrastructure.

Don't worry, the new will wear off your chandelier eventually as well ...


Hehehe.... ain't that the truth.
There definitely are circumstances in which one finds all rosy. And there definitely is a tipping point at which that changes*. There is also a state of jaundiced acceptance.

I've not been here as long as SMS (who has, one might ask ;;)). But for my sins I'm on my third stint/posting here over the past 20 years.

I've also lived long-term in four other major 'world cities'. None are anything like here. This is like an attempt at making 'Perfect World [tm]', or Disneypore, but having to populate it with peasants. It would be a fine country but for 50% of it's population.



* I'd be interested in exploring this concept more. Does this point only come when one knows one IS leaving ... ?

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Postby singapore eagle » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:20 am

I can't believe you guys are turning me into a defender of all things Singapore.

First, efficiency of services. The driving licence thing is actually a great example. You book a slot online. You turn up at the appointed time for your test. You pass test and hand a completed form over the counter. Job done. Couldn't be easier. Ditto applying for my girls' red passports. Ditto filling in my tax return and so on and so forth.

Yobbery/safety. Low crime doesnt mean no crime. No one can seriously argue that this isn't a big point in Singapore's favour.

Now the contentious one - courtesy. Maybe it's becaue I work from home and don't suffer the ordeal of public transport at peak times, but I'm not backing down on this. Singaporeans may not be all warm and fuzzy to strangers, but nor do they extend their arms to whack me on the nose. I genuinely find that people are polite - reserved, yes, but fundamentally very decent.

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby singapore eagle » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:33 am

noskich wrote:
singapore eagle wrote:The bad

Singapore is fundamentally a dull place. Options for new things to do dry up very quickly.


I would love to know which place is not like that. After a while all places become dull. It`s just a matter of the time it takes to reach that point.
If you as you say `fundamentally` are not capable of creating fun for yourself any place won`t do.


To prove I'm not just trolling, I'm not going to back down on this one either.

Singapore's main problem is its size. After a while, you literally have to leave the country to find something new. Not impossible, of course (although I strongly suspect the Singapore government deliberately make travel to Malaysia about as a difficult as it could possibly be), but my point is that in other major cities you have a whole range of places to go just a short distance away.

For further proof of Singapore's dullness, you just have to look at what I am convinced is the most popular leisure activity in Singapore: wandering aimlessly round a shopping mall.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:46 am

He STILL thinks it's a spelling error or he's got a speech impediment. singapore eagle, you do know what yobbery IS don't you? It isn't a spelling error.

As I said, it will take time. You are still a newbie. As far as efficiency is concerned, yeah, they are efficient, but if you drive, you will not efficiency does not extend to keeping the idiots off the road. Filing for US passports is just as easy. Especially if you are in the US. In fact, you can get one in one week if you want to pay for it, but it is there. Drivers licenses in the US I don't know as I've not had one there for 28 years.

Ah, there's the rub. You work from home so you really don't get enough consistency to see the raw side of a huge percentage of them. I agree, a large portion of the population are as you see them, but sadly, the percentage of bad ones is higher here than in most places. You should just tune into Stomp for a while to get a better picture of locals shown being their normal, inconsiderate selves (of course they like to shoot down FT as well, but there are plenty of local examples as well.

I wish I still had your positivity. :(

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:48 am

singapore eagle wrote:
noskich wrote:
singapore eagle wrote:The bad

Singapore is fundamentally a dull place. Options for new things to do dry up very quickly.


I would love to know which place is not like that. After a while all places become dull. It`s just a matter of the time it takes to reach that point.
If you as you say `fundamentally` are not capable of creating fun for yourself any place won`t do.


To prove I'm not just trolling, I'm not going to back down on this one either.

Singapore's main problem is its size. After a while, you literally have to leave the country to find something new. Not impossible, of course (although I strongly suspect the Singapore government deliberately make travel to Malaysia about as a difficult as it could possibly be), but my point is that in other major cities you have a whole range of places to go just a short distance away.

For further proof of Singapore's dullness, you just have to look at what I am convinced is the most popular leisure activity in Singapore: wandering aimlessly round a shopping mall.


I don't think you have to convince anyone here (Except noskitch) that Singapore is dull. The only groups of people I've ever found that disagree are the 'true blues' who have only lived in Singapore, and think the only everything wrong with Singapore is caused by the foreigners, and silly 20something (mostly) expats who just go drinking every weekend. They would do the same thing anywhere they lived.

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:50 am

BedokAmerican wrote:Another example of inefficiency: driver licenses and vehicle registration. This involves a trip to the LTA, going to a private business to get a plate made, showing up in person to register for the driver license test, taking the test another time, getting a photo taken at a separate place, going to a police station to get the license made. Optional study guides for the test must be purchased at a bookstore or downloaded off the internet, etc. This whole process involves about 7 trips that I can think of. Not very efficient. In the US, all that stuff gets done under one roof in one day in most cases.


I had the exact opposite case as an American. For converting my license I just went online and scheduled a test. I showed up, took the test, and had my license mailed to me a few weeks later.

When I bought my car I walked in, signed some stuff. Waited about a week for the bank and loan paperwork to go through, came back and picked up the car. Already had a license plate. I will say the 'instant' financing you get in the US is better from a convenience standpoint, but maybe not from an impulse-shopping and living in debt standpoint.

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Postby singapore eagle » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 9:55 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:He STILL thinks it's a spelling error or he's got a speech impediment. singapore eagle, you do know what yobbery IS don't you? It isn't a spelling error.


Me? I think I was the one to use the word (if it's a real word!) first in this thread. Yobbery = acting like a yob.


sundaymorningstaple wrote:Ah, there's the rub. You work from home so you really don't get enough consistency to see the raw side of a huge percentage of them. I agree, a large portion of the population are as you see them, but sadly, the percentage of bad ones is higher here than in most places. You should just tune into Stomp for a while to get a better picture of locals shown being their normal, inconsiderate selves (of course they like to shoot down FT as well, but there are plenty of local examples as well.

I wish I still had your positivity. :(


I'm happy to agree to disagree. Even though I work from home, I don't live a hermit-like existence. And nearly all my friends are locals, so it's not like I don't interact with the local population. My experience is that people are nice here.

I mean this in the kindest possible way, but I wonder if you would feel differently about Singapore if you had the counterfactual of living and working for 30 years in NY or London or some other big city?

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Re: Five years in Singapore - reflections

Postby Wd40 » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 10:03 am

zzm9980 wrote:
singapore eagle wrote:
noskich wrote:
singapore eagle wrote:The bad

Singapore is fundamentally a dull place. Options for new things to do dry up very quickly.


I would love to know which place is not like that. After a while all places become dull. It`s just a matter of the time it takes to reach that point.
If you as you say `fundamentally` are not capable of creating fun for yourself any place won`t do.


To prove I'm not just trolling, I'm not going to back down on this one either.

Singapore's main problem is its size. After a while, you literally have to leave the country to find something new. Not impossible, of course (although I strongly suspect the Singapore government deliberately make travel to Malaysia about as a difficult as it could possibly be), but my point is that in other major cities you have a whole range of places to go just a short distance away.

For further proof of Singapore's dullness, you just have to look at what I am convinced is the most popular leisure activity in Singapore: wandering aimlessly round a shopping mall.


I don't think you have to convince anyone here (Except noskitch) that Singapore is dull. The only groups of people I've ever found that disagree are the 'true blues' who have only lived in Singapore, and think the only everything wrong with Singapore is caused by the foreigners, and silly 20something (mostly) expats who just go drinking every weekend. They would do the same thing anywhere they lived.


I thought all expats drink every weekend and some drink every afternoon :o . The Harrys in Signature building is full of expat bankers, everyday and not just weekends!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 10:12 am

I worked in downtown Washington DC for probably 10 years before Singapore. So I have had experience in large cities as well. Note: That city DID have crime. I worked there when they tried to burn it down back in the 70's. Yobbery is not a crime, by the way. that's why I don't understand why you are using it in the same sentence with "Low Crime doesn't mean No Crime" (which by the way, was coined by our very own Addadude, years ago for the SPF campaign)

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Postby PrimroseHill » Tue, 26 Nov 2013 10:14 am

I did live in London for nearly 30years.
To me the courtesy and mannerism feels to me to be a bi-polar existence. I feel even worse as I am chinese Msian, talk about confusion here.
There are times, when I am convinced that it is a cultural thing, men holds the door for the ladies, a door is held for the elderly or infirmed. Everyone rushes into the lift as soon as the door opens - let the people out first. Same concept as MRT.
Went to Guardian to buy an over the counter (otc as opposed to over the counter swap/derivativies) medicine, asked the pharmist if he has that medicine. Answer was an abrupt no. No as you don't stock it or no as you ran out. No as in ran out. Ok, then can I please order it? No was the answer. Excuse me!

On the other hand you bus drivers that will pull right near into the bus stop when it is raining. Or sometimes, just sometimes, someone holds the door for me. Someone offered to help me carry some air bed a few months ago.

I don't get being followed around in the shop when I am browsing but on the other hand I don't get in UK, when I am trying to find a sales assistant I can't find one or he/she doesn't know anything.


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