I <3 Singapore – ish.

Posted in about to be kicked out of Singapore, foreign workers, Singapore by expatatlarge on March 12, 2012

This post is not *just* a shameless piece of self-aggrandizement (see prevous post) but after nearly 8 years here, E@L is forced to admit that he agrees with the opinions expressed in the following article.

Ten Reasons Why I Love Singapore.


Six or seven years ago E@L would have ripped this article to shreds or at least rewritten it, emphasizing the negative aspects of the Singapore attributes that have been given a jocularly positive spin in this article.

Something like:

1. Efficiency
Yes, slave labour, stimulated by the threat of being burned with a hot iron or thrown out a 19th floor window, or merely by the promise from a snakehead people-trafficker of a salary marginally above the starvation levels of poverty you have left your family to wallow in at home (c.f. Slumdog Milionaire), will give you that.

2. Late-night Singapore
Late? LATE? You’ve never been to Hong Kong then. E@L once heard the expression: “If New York is the city that never sleeps, Hong Kong is the city that doesn’t even blink.” Singapore, even at its liveliest – when kids in pyjamas are playing in the Clarke Quay fountain at 11pm – can’t match it.

3. Anytime, anywhere
Nothing that you want. Everything that you already have. Such as “Singapore is a Fine City” fridge magnets. Grant you the omnipresent hookers though.

4. The small details matter
Like the 20c charge for the wet napkin, whether you use it or not.

5. Cheap parking
OK, parking is cheaper than Sydney, but that’s not saying much. The COE ensures that rational people avoid private transport. Only the poor are gullible enough to go into massive debt to buy a status symbol at twice its actual price, whereas the comfortably well off (i.e. E@L) call a taxi.

6. Reliable service
Reliably rude, off-hand and dismissive.

7. Changi Airport
Terminal 3. WTF. Built on a scale that anticipates the days when humans will be 30ft tall and can walk 2km in 7.8secs from a standing start. Ever lost luggage coming into Singapore? The people in the miniscule Lost Luggage Cupboard are usually asleep or absent or both. Never encountered such an inefficient bunch, and E@L has had lost luggage all over the place.

8. Predictable weather
God is laughing. Ha.

10. A multi-cultural city
Bloody whingeing Australians everywhere you look.


What I Have Learned About Singapore Taxis (The Six Years Of Living Taxieriously)

Posted in foreign workers, going insane, Singapore, taxis by expatatlarge on May 31, 2010

1: Taxis evaporate when it rains (they are afraid of accidents because the drivers must pay a $3,000 excess on any damage to the car)

2: Taxi drivers don’t know the street where I live

3: Taxi drivers ignore my instructions (“turn left” means go straight ahead, “go straight ahead” means turn right, “go to the back” means stop at the front)

4: Change of shift is highly correlated with when I need a taxi, and I don’t live in Jurong or Bishan (see 2)

5: Taxi drivers have tics – body spasms and obsessive-compulsive mannerisms (this has been independently confirmed)

6: On Friday evening 75% of all Singapore taxis are at the airport, unless your flight arrives Friday evening

7: Taxis will park 100yds away from a crowded taxi-stand and wait for a booking call from that very stand

8: Taxi drivers just started on this job last week. Previously they were in the building trade (now all construction work is taken by quasi-slave labourers from India and Sri Lanka who are CCTV-ed while they have showers – to make sure they don’t “waste” water in their efforts to get clean*) [Oops, distracted again]

9: In the early morning when clubs close and bars shut down taxis are probably at the airport because it is the only place where they can have a nap and not get fined

10: Taxis will have a green light on until they see me waving by the side of the road, then it will flip to ‘busy’ red and driver will wave with their right hand across to the left side of his face as this indicates, “no, cannot”

11: Taxi drivers won’t come into Orchard Rd if they don’t have a passenger because they will have to pay ERP (road tax) *plus* they can’t sit at empty taxi-stands for more than 5 minutes without copping a fine for waiting around (because CCTV cameras monitor the taxi-stands) (see 6 and 9)

12: Taxis lining up at a crowded tax-stand queue will still accept bookings even though they are in the next in line (see 7)

13: When I have no cash, the taxi will not have credit card facilities and I didn’t check when I got in because I was drunk (and broke)

14: Taxi drivers in cars with manual transmission ride the clutch 100% of the time

15: Between five minutes to and 9pm, empty taxis will pull over and wait for the ERP to shut-down

16: Seven taxis with green light will drive along the main road as I walk up from my side road, then there will be none for 25 minutes (see 10) Then it will start to rain (see 1)

17: Taxi phone bookings are unavailable when it is raining as all the lines are busy (see 1). Therefore when it is raining there is no way I can get a taxi, even though because this is the time when people really *need* a taxi. I will have to walk to the MRT in storm, with an umbrella if I didn’t leave it at work the last time it rained, and with all my bags and take a train crowded with damp smelling passengers to the airport, with three changes of line (or I call a friend with a car)

18: Taxi drivers think they know how to get my office better than I do, even though I have been going there through various routes for the last 5 years

19: Being a taxi driver drives you crazy

20: Being a taxi passenger drives me crazy (go to my previous blog and do a search for “taxi”)



Seen and hurt
FOR the past few months, a group of foreign workers at a Jurong dormitory have had to shower with twin electronic eyes peering down at them from the ceiling. The reason, says the dormitory…
[must pay to read the rest : http://www.straitstimes.com/PrimeNews/Story/STIStory_533293.html%5D

Other than that, all the usual services are available.