You have to look hard and desperately to find a problem in living in Singapore..not convinced ?
Singapore to outsiders may sound like an utopia, in reality it is very close. It is the only country in which school students love going to school as well as getting high grades. If you do not believe me look at the diagram below.
Singapore only has what people call “First World Problems”. It is sometimes reliably efficient (except the MRT failing like once a month) and cushy to live in. At the end of the day it spoils you so much that you cannot live anywhere else. Let me elaborate this by going through most aspects of live in Singapore.
Singapore is synonymous with food especially wickedly tasty stuffs like the Chilli Crab or Prata. Most of them are not weird delicacies like Lutefish (aged Norwegian fish) which needs a derived taste, although Singapore has the infamous Durian which can rack up a $500 dollar fine if taken in a public transport.
Now for a slothish glutton like me, this is very bad news. Outing has become the same as eating and seemingly the only pictures on Instagram and Facebook are of food. While people in Sweden are going mushroom hunting in the forest (I don’t know why I am fixating on Scandinavia) which sounds incredibly boring and interesting at the same time, here I am going out guided by efficient and aptly named apps called Hungrygowhere to find the next eating place. Thanks to the kebabs of Arab street, Biryani from Little India and Pork Knuckles and Wheat Beer from Brotzeit I have been gaining steadily 1 kg per year and that’s a bad bad thing.
I already established that I am a slothish human being with marginal ambitions in life (including meeting Kat Dennings). Singapore Taxis are there to seduce you with their sweet green light waiting to embrace you in the cushony (is that a real word) air con happiness. When you are standing at the bus stop trying to conjure the last ounces of will power to take a bus back home, the taxis start teasing you with the green light and slowing down near you.
If there was a law banning soliciting in Singapore, it should be against taxis tempting people like me with their non existent willpower.
Once you are in the cab, it is like visiting the house of your relatives. The over-friendly driver will ask you about your life and career ambitions as well as contribute to it actively drawing from their experience behind the wheel. When you can’t convince him anymore why your career choice really suited your personality and you can be successful later in life, the only choice you have is to pretend to sleep until you reach home.
This gets a bit awkward when you are in the cab during early morning and when pretending to sleep only leads to a new conversation about stress at work.
Although Taxis are tempting, public transport in Singapore spoils you the most. Except two hours in the morning and a few more in the evening where commuters mistake real life for the Hunger Games, buses and the metro are a delight to travel in. But then there are those over cautious drivers who have the sixth sense to detect traffic light changing red from kilometers away and slow down in anticipation or would slow down near a zebra crossing and force a pedestrian to cross it out of guilt.
Not helping with my marginal ambitions in life is the fact that Singapore has over 12 hours of sunlight everyday for the entire year. Just when back in India I could blame increasing night time for my lowered productivity during November and December, such an excuse won’t hold water. On top of that the country is on permanent daylight saving to squeeze productivity out of you and this throws my body clock into a permanent limbo. If I ever have to wake up before the sun (which incidentally rises later than most Singaporeans at 7), people are greeted with grumblings from me and unusual requests are met with stabbing with plastic utensils till its midday.
Singapore encourages healthy lifestyle and everyone around you will be following it some way or the other. Apart from the really annoying ones who will point out that eggs have cholesterol just as a bite of Egg Prata is teasing your taste buds, people all around me are participating in different runs.
You have the crazy ones getting up at 5 am in the morning to run 42 km only to end up where they started from, to 5 km runs where deshaped people run for no reason except the brunt of social acceptance and peer pressure. While peer pressure and assurance from Facebook postings do not excite me one bit, this had led to lot of people excommunicating me from society.
Let me update my profile, I am slothish gluttonish cinophile/cinephile (sophisticated way to say I like watching movies but also makes it sound like pedophile). I like the cool damp movie theater with my hand inside a tub of extremely over processed harmful popcorn. Singapore has a movie theater almost every 3 metro stations and this is where all my money goes and has gone.
While the ban of chewing gum in Singapore forces me to actually talk in social situations, I would always like to hide away in the darkness of the movie theater and say stuff like we came alone in this world and shall leave it alone too.
The 5 Cents Coin
I wanted to conclude with what bothers me more than anything else in Singapore: the useless 5 cent coin. You cannot buy anything with it , but you can buy with lots and lots of it.
I do not know why it exists.
Taxi drivers give back the change in 5 cent coins when they do not like you and you pay people with it when you do not like the service. Worst case, my piggy bank after filled with the 5 cent coin looked like it had been on a diet and developed visible abs.
Last but not the least.
With views like this everywhere else will look really bad.
Written by Arpan Roy, this article originally appeared on Quora and is republished with permission.