After a hectic week at home, it was time for a flying visit to Singapore.
I’d had a stop over at the island years and years ago, so I didn’t have too many ideas about the place. All I knew was that it was a smallish island very close to Malaysia and Indonesia. And some pictures I’ve seen in magazines and television.
Firstly, I must say, what particularly surprised (and distressed me at the same time) is that the women in Singapore are extremelyâ€¦ thin!
And I must say that I did notice that several of these thin young women tucking in many delicacies. And yet, they were as thin as a needle. How do you do this, I asked a nice Singaporean girl, who surprised me by admitting that she had had 3 kids already and still looked like she was still in her twenties. Of course she wouldn’t divulge the real reason – she was hardly about to make it easy for me!
Anyway, apart from this alarming trend, what really surprised me about Singapore are the following points (comments are exaggerated, so please take them with a pinch of salt. They are by no means the last word on the state of things but just first impressions!).
On the roads, people signal and maintain lanes. I’d completely forgotten that this is actually how people are supposed to drive. After living in Bangalore, you can imagine my shock at this kind of driving decorum.
People queue and wait for you. Is that even possible any more? But even a small boy politely made way for me in a narrow shopping aisle, indicating that I could go first. I was stunned for a moment and stood speechless as I grappled with remembering the last time it happened. And then I remembered: never!
There’s no plastic. Anywhere. I actually minutely inspected building corners, drains, alleyways, sidewalks to catch sight of just one garbage bag strewn around when someone wasn’t looking. Zilch.
Can these people get any perfect? Then I caught it.
I was passing by a residence complex when I suddenly looked up and saw a strange thing. All the drapes were of beige and pastel pattern and all the flats seemed to have identical patterns. I wasâ€¦ surprised. In India, on the other hand, every window will have a different drape : to the loud and the colourful to the sombre and the pastel.
And I knew immediately then what Singaporeans are missing. Fab India! Yes. Finally I found a flaw in Singapore’s unbelievably perfect life.
Apart from that, I must admit that I tried hard but came back empty handed. People queue, they don’t spit, pee on the roads, don’t rush into the local trains, don’t litter, the cabs folks don’t overcharge, there are no touts, they have a low crime rate and there are hardly any cops (because you’re caught on camera everywhere) : this is almost like paradise : it’s too good to be true actually. (All this of course does not apply in Chinatown and Little India pointed out my host where true to our nature we regress to our very reputable habits that we have proudly upheld for donkey’s years.)
And then in the local newspaper I noticed a small article that Singaporeans still complain a lot. Within themselves most of the time. Not to the government or anything. They might get fined for that. Apparently, Singapore is jokingly called a very â€˜fine’ city. They are fined for everything.
But jokes apart, I have a perfect solution for this. Transport all of these whiners to Bangalore for a week. We can easily accommodate them somewhere as we already have so many housing complexes coming up.
I doubt they will ever complain ever again.