Nothing’s perfect. Crimes get foiled. Storms subside. And that Jaw-dropping Jessica you met at beer o’clock in the morning often appears more Tandy than Simpson once the house lights rise. Yes, many a time I’ve eagerly vaulted the proverbial fence only to discover my neighbor’s been barbequing on Astroturf. These days I take longer to leap, often opting for a balanced perspective in all things… including my time in Sing-land.
On the positive side, you’ll never starve in here. The sheer availability and variety of culinary creations got this burger boy thinking beyond the bun. Also, Singapore’s transit system bitch slaps our antiquated “L”. And nifty websites like www.sbstransit.com.sg (Next bus) and www.gothere.sg enable newbies to transverse the Island with local-like efficiency. Finally, its geographic good fortune makes Singapore the ideal jump off point for regional sightseeing. Several countries are weekend doable and regardless of how rustically you wander, there’s always the comfort of returning to the nation’s neurotic cleanliness.
Of course it’s not all sunshine and roses. Sure the food’s phenomenal, but you often have to gaze into ghost eyes while enjoying the meal. Ever envision a king prawn doing a De Niro impersonation? It’s enough to make Hannibal Lecter a vegetarian.
And speaking of taxi drivers, what language do they speak? I’m thinking shorthand. Last week when I asked to go to “the Orchard Park apartments behind the Takashima shopping center” I was met with a confused grunt. However, when I barked, “Uncle, go orchard behind Taka,” I was whisked away with formula one speed. Of course, the whisking was intermittent at best seeing as how they all drive with two feet, often applying the break and gas simultaneously. But hey, on the up side you get that nifty Chinese top 40 music to take your mind off your impending doom.
But the bus drivers are worse. I’m sure lapping a manicured island fifteen times an hour gets old, but guys (and gals) you are driving a 10 ton rectangle, not a Maserati. Ease up on the hair pin turns, would you? Actually, you know what – strike that. Maybe you can jolt the grotesque toenail clipper to my left into a coma. Sure…. I can’t cautiously consume a covered coffee without fear of fines, but old-man Ling Wa can pedi-out his Wolverine talons on the #14 without issue.
And what’s with all the cueing, kung fu-ing your way into elevators, and sniffing incessantly like an 80s coke whore? Cultural differences aside, the tissue was invented for a reason folks –blow your nose already! But I digress.
On balance, I feel Singapore is filled with minor annoyances and majestic moments. Some of the latter is country sponsored, while others are due to the interesting individuals who call this place home. Last Saturday I saw a beautiful four year old Indian girl let go of her mom’s hand at the edge of an escalator. As the woman traveled nervously downward, the little girl calmly looked up at me and shook her head.
“What’s the matter, honey?” I asked.
“Stairs don’t move,” she stated emphatically, as her mother came rushing to collect the pertinacious pre-schooler.
Some do of course, but in fairness, it takes a while to wrap your mind around the concept. I guess that’s the same with a lot of things.