Singapore Curiosities  

Yes, we found some. Had to be the case! The city was just too perfect. However the curiosities we found are actually supporting this perfect picture of Singapore. 

What's up with the emergency vehicles?

We heard the sirens of the fire trucks on the streets and had a look. Traffic was flowing with the fire trucks neatly following the traffic until they came...to a RED light! This is when the traffic stopped and nobody made way for the fire trucks. They continued to sound their horn for a while but then switched it off until....the light changed to GREEN. Traffic started moving again and with it the fire trucks with lights and sirens. I guess drivers will get a ticket if they run a red light, even if it is an emergency. 

So, after going back a second and a third time to Singapore we think this phenomenon (for us Europeans) is the norm for Singapore. I actually witnessed a police car and an ambulance in the same situation. I filmed the ambulance for over 4 minutes when it was trying to merge into the oncoming traffic and nobody would stop despite the horn and the lights on. I actually don't want to be in urgent medical need in this case!

A fine city!

I didn't even understand the T-Shirts which sell everywhere, saying "Singapore is a Fine City". Yes, to me it was a fine city. Until I got the word play here. Remember, English is not my first language. So the fine refers to "THE FINE" you have to pay when you break the law. Got it! And you can break the law a lot! Signs are everywhere. But they are also everywhere in Germany and people tend to not see them. Like smoking in the subway. Even with a sign and the law on your side, you risk being beaten to death if you ask someone to extinguish his cigarette. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or in a pedestrian-only tunnel? Forbidden in Germany, yet people still do it. There is signs in Thailand too, but nobody seems to care. Even if you ask people what the sign means, they answer "I don't know". In Singapore motorcycle drivers wear helmets. I guess that's the law. In Thailand it is the law too but a lot of people seem to not care and then complain if they have to pay a fine to the police...sorry, a bribe to the police! 

What can I pack?

Last minute before I left home, I read that there is actually a list of drugs you can bring into Singapore. I mean drugs as in medication!  I am a hypochondriac, so I usually pack for everything. I might get a cough on the plane. Or I might get a sore throat and need antibiotics. So, I usually bring these things with me. This way I don't have to find a drugstore and go through foreign language labels in a drug store.  So I ended up comparing every medication I had in my luggage with the online list of ingredients which is forbidden to bring into Singapore. And I actually found one. My cough medicine had codeine in it.  So I left it at home. And luckily I didn't get a cough on the 12 hour flight!

I found it also curious to read while on the plane that chewing gum is not allowed in Singapore. My neighbor actually left his package in the seat pocket. 

Fakes

Annoyingly Singapore has a lot of fake monks along the main tourist routes. I have seen them in Bangkok before, but very few only. They run around, dressed as Chinese monks, handing out little gadgets or pictures. They target mostly tourists, specially those which are not from Asia, since those easily fall prey to them. Of course they want money. I played a little game with one of them, when he saw me wandering around the Civic District. When I attempted to walk down the stairs to the river, he came towards me. When I turned around to walk down on the lawn, he changed his way too. I then changed my way again back to the stairs and he walked back too. We finally met and I told him that I don't give donations to fake monks. 

Square Dance

Having lived in the West of the U.S., I had a fair amount of exposure to cowboys, country western music and naturally square dance. But walking down an empty street in the Central Business District one evening I thought I hear familiar tunes. Familiar as in my culture, not as in Asian or even Chinese culture. And when I peeked around the corner I surely found a large group of Singaporeans doing their square dance moves on a public "square" (maybe that is why). I found it highly peculiar and never expected to see and hear those tunes in South-East Asia. 

Turn off that phone

Singaporeans seem to be on the mobile phone all the time. Far more than Europeans or even people in Bangkok (though I know people there who drive me absolutely insane). While people in Bangkok seem to stop and talk or sit and talk, I found Singaporeans to walk and talk. Now, we all know that our level of attention suffers when we drive and talk, hence it is forbidden in most countries. But I seemed to be invisible to those masses of walk-and-talkers on the streets. Most notably on Orchard Street. And to a large percentage females. While most man sat and talked, most females walked straight up to me and would have collided with me, had I not moved out of their way. This is only understandable when you consider that most of them were texting and walking. I guess that could be called "twalking" . Awkward!

 

 

 

 

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