Stepping out

Singapore is hot and humid. Not quite the wall of hell I expected, but unavoidable nonetheless. Our 10 minute walk to the Khatib subway (train) stop was surprisingly taxing. A nice local named Roger helped us understand and obtain our passes. He tried to dissuade us from our plans for Bali because of the tsunamis and earthquakes. He preferred Malaysia. The S’pore train system made a big impression on us. Very clean. Very functional. Very easily accessible and navigated. And we gleaned a lot about the S’pore culture and people via our subway system experiences. Very well-behaved and respectful. The escalators reflect the British road model: stand to the left; pass on the right. The public bathrooms were spotless. Markings on the ground in front of every car door stop allow those on board to exit first through the middle, before those waiting on either side begin to board. The seats that are designated for seniors, pregnant women, and the disabled are honored as such. Eye contact seemed especially discouraged among strangers. Zero graffiti. Zero persons misbehaving or showing attitude. But many seemingly happy and well adjusted people talking or looking at their now-universal social media / game gizmolators (noticed very few Apple products). By design, most people on board must stand, crowded closely together. But fortunately the air conditioning -like everything else- works very well.

Our subway experiences begged 2 questions that set the tone for much of our Singapore stay: why can’t America’s large transit systems work half as well. And more broadly,why don’t Americans act half as respectfully, responsibly, and cooperatively towards one another, as in Singapore?

– matt

053 typical compound


Dengue fever eradication program


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    May 04, 2013 @ 18:27:38

    Good questions. I was wondering the same thing…it can’t all be their authoritarian government. Beneath their well-behaved exterior, do they have poverty, crime, suicide, domestic violence, racism, etc., or have they found a way to optimize human nature?


  2. Laurelyn Borst
    May 08, 2013 @ 16:48:15

    I think it is obvious that we have broken systems and broken people and we are not a society of community. LB


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