Singapore Revisit Log #3.4: Differences

Though I blended into the environment like fish to water, I couldn't help noticing the little annoying things around me. Singapore isn't a bad place and my purpose here isn't to badmouth my country of birth. You wouldn't want me to sing praises anyway, if you came to this website knowingly. There are other avenues for those on another day, such as the NDP rally or blogs that hail the Progressive Wage Model as the best thing since Mee Siam Mai Hum.

My new neighbourhood was only slightly more than a year's old but there was already the familiar scent of ammonia left over by bodily liquid secretion of mammals on either regular basis or an one off event. I hoped it was the formal, as it would be embarrassing for the cleaning company in charge of keeping my HDB flat spick-and-span. I said that because my toddler peed on the floor once in a while during the lapse of her potty training but my house did not smell like a public toilet. I might as well admit to it, I was insinuating that the fucking cleaning company that lived off part of our conservancy charges either did not know how to remove a urine stench or couldn't be bothered to do it. Or perhaps they had grown so tired of doing it again and again, which they would have my great sympathy if so for having needed to go beyond their line of duty in that case. Then I would like the humans in my neighbourhood to take a good look at themselves. We had almost half a century history of HDB living so there simply wasn't any more excuses to use the lift as a makeshift toilet, prevent the little ones or pets from doing do, or failure to clean up after them. We must be the only country who called ourselves "first world" and armed our lifts with a Urine Detection Device.

Yes, Summer was bad in Perth. It could get hot, hot and real hot. Despite that, the relative humidity seldom get to the heights of Singapore's even on the worst days. After getting used to the air extraction vents installed in virtually every bath or toilet in Perth houses, that was one good thing I looked around for after every bath during my Singapore stay so far. I would have thought it was a good idea to have one of those things around since Singapore was always so humid but no, it wasn't to be. I had to wipe my mirrors after each bath and ended up sweating again before I could even get my freshly bathed body out of the bath. I should have taken a ice bath perhaps. My bad. My friends told me I was lucky to come back during the better weather. I had to admit that my sensory memories had faded. It could probably have been a lot worse later in the year. I dreaded the thought of that alone, especially the days I spent most of my days outdoors for my work. I didn't realise how something as trivial as weather could make such a great difference to one's mental well-being. Perhaps it was never trivial in the first place.

There shouldn't be electric plugs in the washroom, said one of my friends when I told her it was a really good idea. For safety reason? I wasn't too sure about that. Whatever it was, these plugs in the bath that I came across in any bathrooms of all the houses I stayed in Perth came really handy. If you ask me, that was the second most important location a man would want an electric plug at. The first location would be his garage, or anywhere that he could park his car at and work on it. We were left to rely on the our cigarette lighters in our cars as the sole source of electricity for any damn thing we might need to do for our cars. Seriously? Given the Singaporean men's irrational love of cars, we could have been the nation with the most car mechanics per capita in the world but we ended up being the best car detailers instead. Such a pity.

"Have you send your child to school or training yet?" I couldn't count how many times I had been asked that during these 2 weeks. "My sister had already sent her one-year-old child to 'Mind training', to teach her how to use her right brain. (or left brain, or just brain. I couldn't remember). Your kid is already 2 years old, never learn anything?" Hey, what's wrong with us Singaporeans? There is nothing wrong with the aptitude of our kids, it's their attitudes, our attitudes first in fact, that requires examination. If there is some sort of extrasensory perception courses I could sign Albany up for, I would have her zipping those lips up the next time.


  1. You sweat too much, cannot tahan stench of public transport, Albany can't get singapore citzenship, never go to school, never learn Jedi Mind trick, ... haiz, bro.. I think better you emigrate from singapore.. [-( :p

  2. Welcome come back to SG :) If all works well, I be in Perth with my wife in 2016. Thank you for the inspiration and all the info.

  3. I think the training for right these days are a lot smarter than us during those days.

    TBH, only thing that is good to pick up from their age of 1-3 is use of fingers, eyes coordination n coloring/cutting paper. Listening to new languages helps as before 6, kids can pick up almost ay language easily. it shud be enriching not stressing