Why Singaporeans Queue

Hi There,

I'm S whom previously had commented on your posts before. 

I recently just resumed reading your blog after a long pause. U know, in S'pore we're always fighting for time. However, these people in the picture attached really have a lot of time queueing for an Angry Bird plushie. Whats more, this is at our Changi Airport terminal 3. Wow uniquely Singapore & a great showcase to show our visitors. I'm just amazed why is this culture still persist after 10 years of Hello Kitty? Hope this can be the topic for u to blog cause I really like your writing style.

Well, I'm still hopeful to move to Australia one day and had asked my husb to apply for visa since his occupation is in the SOL.

So before I end my email, I just wanna say that, your blog is really awesome and definitely an inspiration to a true Singaporean.



S's attached picture

Own up. Who got their maids or paid foreign workers to queue up for this?

A thorough research should be conducted for owners of the coveted Hello Kitty in the legendary Great Singapore Queue that hit the headlines many years back. One of the survey question will be where their treasured Hello Kitty is today. Proudly in the display cabinet like a hunter would display the skins and skulls of his successful kills on the ground and wall respectively? Sold for a profit sometime ago? Caked with dust mites in the storeroom, requiring at least one hour to be accurately located? Perhaps, long parted via the chute with the family?

The advertisement for the above event was as follows;

Redeem a FREE Angry Birds Space plush toy (worth $25) when you spend $60 ($120 for supermarkets) in the Public Area. 

Or, spend $150 in the Transit Area to redeem any plush toy from the collection. 

Available for redemption with same-day receipt. 

While stocks last. Terms and conditions apply. 

Visit airport or website for more details.

At the minimum, a regular Singaporean Queuer spent $60 at the airport, queued for 1-2 hours (worth $25 if they spent it on work instead) to be able to redeem a FREE Angry Bird Space plush toy.  That is not including fees for getting the Bangladeshi worker to stand in queue for you.  That's a lot to do for something which is stated FREE indeed.

So why do Singaporeans still do things like that? Are they planning to sell this collector's item at a profit? Unlikely. It's hardly going to fetch any profit worthy enough anyway. Honestly speaking, I am no sociologist and I can't explain this phenomenon. But I think it's worth a look to understand the mentality of Singaporeans better. Most people will put down kiasu as evil behind every strange behavior Singaporeans display. We reserve public seats with packets of tissue paper. People arrived in their polished Mercedes Benz to scoop up cheap bargains meant for the poor. We snapped up properties that were mathematically crippling to our financial freedom. We want what others want. We have a strong sense of lack despite having more material trophies than majority of human beings in the world. Everything is conveniently boiled down to the word kiasu. What nobody can explain, or even bother to stop to analyse, is why Singaporeans are kiasu.

Get a piece of Sunday Times. Flip this rag a bit. This is supposed to be the edition of paper many Singaporeans actually have the time to run through on their leisure dim sum on Sunday morning. In there, you get a brimming vault of stories of 'men and women on the streets'. One day you'll read about that university undergrad who make $4000 a month in the stock market part time. The other day, you read about that $800,000 HDB flat a young professional couple bought - completed with happy pictures no less. Once, they even put up a photograph of 5 young teenagers, supposedly good friends in school and label each of them with what jobs their parents hold, what type of housing do they live in. All these of course, wouldn't be completed if interviewees failed to state the type of car they were driving. In other sections of the rag, you see fine bodied exhibitionist prostituting their sexy photographs for the few pixels of fame. Then another section tells you all about fine dining, so you feel you are lacking something if you are having Bak Chor Mee for dinner that night.

In case you are unaware, one of the famous articles they put up was the taxi driver who earned 7000 bucks a month. That's the Sunday Rag for you.

With decades of materialistic miasma from our only source of mass media, can Singaporeans not be poisoned? Which Singaporean could be contented by default, incorruptible by objects of desire? Imagine a living human in the midst of a legion of walking dead. It's impossible. Everyone of us would be afflicted, some way or another. It's a fitting analogy, if you consider how Singaporeans signed up for one mass-run activity after another. Why? Cannot run alone? Must run with so many people so we have the excuse of walking the first 5km? Must come home with the blue, 3 striped singlet then considered an exercise? Cannot time your own run with your watch? Must post up to facebook about your run result then consider yourself a fit kia? At the end of the day, the goodie bag plays a big part. As well as that 'Finisher of Zombie Walk' t-shirts for better performing species to wear and walk around town.

It has been ingrained in every Singaporean. It is in our DNA. We accepted queuing. We queue to pay ERP in that traffic jam, cursing softly for slight comfort in our >100k limousine. We queue for a roof over our heads with little questions and total acceptance that is the only way of life. For death, we queue for the esteemed tablet placement with the best fengshui. Why do Singaporeans queue? It's the same as asking why do dogs bark. It's our ability, instinct and way of life altogether. We can't help it. That's how we are programmed to live.


  1. Through this Ugry Bird (free gift!)I witnessed the graciousness of a foreigner. Two singaporean children were fighting over that Ugry Bird and that foreigner handed the receipt to the parents and asked them to redeem another one.
    Anyway, i redeemed for my younger son and thankfully, my elder son was sensible enough not to fight over that free gift. We brought it to Melbourne but left it behind.
    Agreed that we live in a society whose eyes are on material goods. The inadequency heart is always in us. U are right. In our DNA. Hopefully, we can up our "standard"..

  2. Have you noticed that students appear to enjoy walking around in their school uniforms, especially when they are of the 'right' colour :)

  3. I have to disagree. I’m a Singaporean and I almost always never queue for anything. If there is a quicker way to get something done, I actually take pride bypassing the queue and getting to my objective more easily and without the torture of queuing. Time is money and my time is better spent on more important things. I get the feeling queueing is for the masses who do not have much to look forward to, like being all excited about a hello kitty plush toy or iPhone X. The more successful and affluent tend to queue less. This is from personal observation and may not be the rule.