When you move around from one city to another, what was “normal” there is not normal here or there. You need to recalibrate what normal means, but not without tearing out your hair first…! And Singapore is no different, this city has a lot of quirks attached to it. Just when I think I’m used to living here, something catches me off guard. So, a list of quirks I’ve noticed here!!
- I went to the ER on Sunday and you have to register on a machine and then wait for a nurse to call you. But the machine doesn’t ask you why you’re there in the first place. So I could be seriously dying and I’d have to wait till a nurse called me. Umm, ok. I was gushing blood, but I guess that didn’t matter.
- The ER doesn’t take your health insurance. You have to pay out-of-pocket and get reimbursed. WTH???!!! What happens if its thousands of dollars that I can’t pay at that moment?
- Every time you go to the doctor, you come out with a pharmacy. The doctors love to load you up on antibiotics for simple ailments that don’t require antibiotics. But, oh, don’t forget your MC (Medical Certificate exempting you from work). How many days off am I looking for you say? HA I was given a MC for slicing my finger open.
- And oh! So going back to my most recent ER visit, the doctor comes in and says, “There is a 90% chance you didn’t damage the bone, but I would still recommend you get an x-ray.” Um, ok, no. I don’t think that’s necessary. The odds are most definitely in my favour. And good thing too, or I would have had to pay for it and then wait to get my money back!
- A wave of available taxis drive by and you think, “AWESOME”. Yeah, hold that thought as every cab drives by OR they’ll turn there light red. Maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll stop and roll down their windows and ask where you want to go. Then they’ll drive off with a huff because they made the effort to stop for you. Honey, they ain’t going in your direction.
- Finally, you’re in a cab and the cab driver asks you for directions on how to get there. Umm. Isn’t that your job? To know where people want to go? I had one cab driver tell me that one of her passengers got mad at her because she didn’t know how to get there. I did my best not to get annoyed with her and the fact that she didn’t know where a major hotel was. Sigh.
- Or your accent is hard for them to understand. You end up on Merchant Road instead of Martin Road. Right. Apparently how I say “Martin” sounds like “Merchant” to them. Really, I could have avoided this whole mix up if I had said “Mar-teeeeeeeeen”. Yeah, I lost my cool that day, I’m not going to lie. Especially since those two roads are in slightly different parts of town and I had specified which area I wanted to go. Not my finest moment!!
- Singapore is in the tropics. We often get a deluge of rain. Like really heavy rain for a couple of hours. It’s pretty to see the storm clouds roll in but then you also know what’s next. You’re stuck. Forget going anywhere when the rain happens because the city comes to a standstill. Thinking of going home? Forget it! Stay at the bar and might as well have a couple more. Need to go for an appointment? Oh well, you might as well cancel it.
Admittedly, I am a bit spoiled. I lived in London for many years and the cabbies there know every London street like the back of their hand. But then again, they do have to pass The Knowledge. Amazing!
This was a fun list to write-up. This doesn’t cover all of the quirks I’ve noticed here, but despite this list, Singapore is a pretty awesome place to live. What quirks have you noticed about where you live?