Friday, September 28, 2007

Singaporean drivers

Our first night in Singapore and we were invited out for dinner. Having been in the UK for the last 4 months I have almost forgotten the Singaporean drivers’ manners when they get behind the wheel. It was a rainy night and the roads were all wet and slippery. From home to destination was no more than 10 kilometers. It took us about 40 minutes and I was bullied no less than 5 times along the way. I must say I do not enjoying driving in Singapore. Singaporean drivers have manners from the gutter.

Singapore is trying very hard to becoming a first world country. I have no doubt that they will achieve that with the way the Singapore government is going about it. However, when Singapore finally attain first world status, the mentality of Singaporean drivers must also be upgraded.

First world status with a population of third world mentality is futile.

When driving in Singapore I have to constantly remind myself that I am in Singapore and I have to expect the unexpected.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Singapore again

We are now back in Singapore again. It has been 4 months since we left. Nothing has changed while we were away. The drive back home on the west coast from Changi Airport was as normal except for that there was a little more traffic on the road.

Four months away and the house was covered with dust. The floor was dirty and covered with a thin layer of black dust/soot from vehicle exhausts. Walking with bare feet resulted is black soles on the feet. The first job on the priority list was mopping of the floor. We then went to the local supermarket for our essentials and a little dinner at the foodcourt.

This morning I went out for my morning paper and my coffee at the local market. Sitting down at a table for my coffee and read my papers an old man in his 70s struck up a conversation by pointing to the headline on the paper and saying that there will be more trouble in Myanmar. To my great surprise he continued by saying that the same thing should happen in Singapore. From him I found out what COE and ERP stand for. They should stand for Certificate of Entitlement for car ownership and Electronic Road Pricing. He said they should stand for Certificate of Extortion and Everyday Rob People. He was a very unhappy man. I made a hurried departure from him as I was not prepared to be marked by any government agent who might be lurking nearby. I cannot afford to be marked as one who asks too many questions or who is too outspoken. I need my visa to stay in Singapore.

My next stop was to my vegetable seller friend. I greeted him by asking how he is and about his business. He too indicated a great downturn in his business since our last encounter 4 months ago. Things are getting harder by the day for ordinary people in the street he said.

Singapore is an economical miracle. The stock market is at a high peak and as a country it is doing extremely well. However, from the marketplace, people are whinging and grumbling at high costs, price hikes on daily essentials and transport. One comment often heard is that the great Singapore miracle is only good for a small percentage of the population. For the majority of Singaporeans things are getting tougher.

It is going to be an interesting 3 month stay here in Singapore. Who knows, things might change for the poor Singaporeans. It is changing elsewhere, why not in Singapore?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Returning to Singapore/Malaysia

Another three weeks or so and we will be returning to Singapore and Malaysia. Just as well, summer is almost over and weather hasn't been too warm lately. Life has been pretty quiet over the last 4 months we have been here. Apart from the occasional visit to see Alexa our grand daughter we hardly have any contact with anyone else. Our 3 UK boys are all independent and hardly have time for us these days. Guess that is to be expected. They are all busy with their own lives and us old folks should not expect too much. I guess parents are not too high on children's priority lists in this modern time.

Back in Singapore and Malaysia we are closer to family and relatives. Looking forward to our regular visits to JB and the occasional trips to Segamat. Singapore isn't too bad, if one accepts the Singaporean way of life - impersonal and unfriendly.

I am really looking forward to visiting Segamat and KL in October. It would be good to return to Segamat to see Wee Ching and hopefully to KL to see Peng Yan again. Segamat has always been the place I call home. That is where my roots are.