Tag Archives: Singapore

Deliberate amnesia


IMG_0043 (Photo credit: Wong Kee Wee)

I often bring friends who are visiting from overseas around Singapore.I do this, maybe once of twice a year. Each time, I noted there would always be a new place of interest or new shopping center to introduce to them to.

Some of my seasoned travelling friends have made observations about how they felt a disconnect between the glittering city and how people behave or dressed here.

I tried to explain and paint the picture for them that Singapore had not been this glittering city for many years. It was not like Europe whereby they had taken centuries to develop to the stage they are currently at. I told my friends, how I still remember going to the wet market to see live chickens being de-feathered and killed on the spot,people going to markets in their pajamas,the power outages that would occur every once in a while as well as the buses with conductors.

I realized as I went through some of my memories with my friends that I sounded like an old woman telling young people about how things used to be. But many of the experiences and places I was re-telling were only 10-20 years old.

Singapore has changed and is changing so fast that its own people are unable to keep pace with it.

People I meet who are just a few years younger than me are not even able to share the same memories of a place or experiences with me. The difference in ages between people who causes the disconnect of shared memories and experiences seemed to be getting narrower and narrower. It is no longer a generation of people who can share the same recollections, rather it is the year that you are born.

It is one thing to renew and another to preserve simply for tourism. It is as if Singapore strives hard to wash the slate clean every few months. History is for the romantic while the pragmatic sees only the future, the past need not be remembered, unless of course, lots of profit can be made off it. (Check out Chinatown for a concrete example of what I mean)

Singapore sounds callous (hey, voted most emotionless country! I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed of this fact) but then again I have never known anyone or country to do middle ground well.

In a small island with limited space, can we really be afford to be sentimental or it is just inevitable that what are just old buildings for many, would have to go and make way for taller and more space efficient replacements.

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On Lifts

I take the lift everyday.

lift bij Den Haag centraal

lift bij Den Haag centraal (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (peint la maison))

You probably find this statement mundane and bears no mentioning, but I don’t take the lift everyday when I was in London or Japan.

Living overseas made me realised just how much lift-taking I do here in Singapore.

Intelligent Lifts

The building in which I work is pretty ancient.
I heard they upgraded the lifts a few years prior to me joining the company.
It still takes forever to get down 32 floors especially during peak hours (lunch and end of the day).

Anyone who has worked on the upper levels of a tall building will know what it is like to squeeze into a lift and see at least 10 buttons lit up beneath your own floor.
Old buildings are being torn down and new buildings are sprouting up all around our building.

A visit to some clients recently brought me to some of these shiny new symbols of modernity. Security for new buildings appear to be pretty tight.

Most require identification cards with a photo and all information are scanned and saved.

Some even require the employees of the company to come down to the lobby to escort guests up.

But what has amazed me thus far is how the new lifts are built for effiecncy and speed.

New intelligent Lift systems has a keypad instead of a up or down button.

You press the floor that you are going to on the keypad and it assigns a lift number to you.

The next person might be assigned a different lift number depending on the floor he/she is going to.

To further impress guests, the receptionist at the lobby can also pre-press the floor for you at the desk and inform you which lift to take.

The new lifts are not only efficient (since you bunch up people going to certain floors together) they are also extremely fast getting to the top floors.

Most of these new lifts also comes with television screens to entertain you so that you don’t have to just stare at the digital numerals changing as the lift takes you to your designated floor.

When I first saw the keypad system, I thought about the sweet old lady who lives a few floors beneath my flat.

Although lift technology has been in Singapore for quite a few years, there appears to be a group of people that thinks the lift will come up faster if they press the up button even if they want to go down.

Due to this novel way of using the lift, I often see someone in the lift when it comes up to my floor and follow me down to the bottom and vice versa. And when the lift stops at again at the floor which this person came up from, it often closes again with the culprit acting puzzled as to why the lift stopped at a floor with no one at the landing.

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Online Dating

Meeting new people after graduation is always difficult. I imagined it was the same in our parents’ generation, if  not matchmaking would not have been so popular.

It appears that matchmaking is still one of the best way to find the other half , as seen with the mushrooming sites for meeting a potential partner online.

Having been single for a while, mold having grown and rusted my dating skills. I decided to take affirmative action and threw myself whole heatedly into the online dating scene.
Coincidentally, two of my friends, one overseas in Europe and one in Singapore also told me they had started meeting men online.
Not wanting to dip my toe in without any knowledge of what I will be getting myself into, I chatted them up and dug for information of their experiences thus far.
My Singaporean friend joined Lovestruck.com but her first meetup was with a guy who immediately decided that she was THE ONE, despite her trying her best to clue him in that he is NOT the one.
She ended up having to fend him off her handphone and email.
The other friend in France, had better luck with her site and she actually found a guy that she started seeing seriously after meeting three other potentials.

Right, so one ended up with a stalker and the other found someone who she is dating exclusively. Extreme results.
Guess finding love does require some risks after all, and with that thought, I plunge wholeheartedly into creating my profile.
I meticulously chose a photo that brought out my best side but not to the extend that the guy will think he has been cheated when he sees me in person.
I gave serious consideration and care to each question, from my likes, dislikes to what I look for in a partner, not forgetting too, to use my writing to let my personality shine through.
In short, I put in effort.
So I was more than disappointed when I discovered that several profiles in the site’s database had no photos and many did not even bother to list any information about themselves.

But despite having to wade through winks made by several of these non-entities without photos or any sense of their personality and interests, I did managed to start conversing by mail with two guys.

The first guy ended up to be paranoid about chatting on webcameras and a persistent insistence that I add him to my Facebook.
I suggested that we meet face to face, if he doubted my sincerity or was afraid that I had submitted a fraudulent picture.
He was adamant that he will not know me if he does get to see my Facebook. I suggested that we stop communicating anymore.

The second guy was polite and immediately went about trying to set up a date to meet one another.
I was quite excited as several of his interests matched my own.
We arranged to meet a week from when we emailed. On the day itself, after waiting for about 15 mins, I messaged him asking him whether he was late.
He messaged me with a cryptic apology and that he will explain once he got there. He arrived half an hour later, by which time, I had gotten a seat in Starbucks and was enjoying a latte. Things went off on a bad start when he explained he was late because he had forgotten the date and became unsalvageable after some conversation when he said he likes sweet women and asked me whether I was sweet. I told him I’m definitely not a sweet girl. I further expanded the topic after an awkward silence that I noticed guys in Singapore seem to go for the sweet girls.
He replied in a way that got all my knickers in a twist“ Oh, you noticed that have you?” (undertone implying probably that’s why I am still single).
A HUGE cross appeared in my mind. I knew I made the right decision not to see him again, when we were about to leave and he wanted to get the waitress to get the bill.
It was Starbucks.

I discovered that online dating can be more complicated than just setting up a profile and flipping through other people’s profiles.
You are meeting people for the first time, trying to ascertain if you like the person or if the person likes you. Everyone tends to be more sensitive as there is a high possibility of being rejected and thus either try to reject you first or start behaving like a egoistic bastard to overcompensate.

Then there are the people with the deadline and go through the first date like an interview, asking direct and sensitive questions one would never ask someone they just met.

So is online dating more hype than a possible way to meet The One?

I still think a lot of it has to do with one’s attitude when meeting people from the site, both parties have to be on the same page and try for a few dates rather than just checking or crossing the boxes immediately.

No one ever said finding love is easy.

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