Oh, Singapore

Oh, Singapore, your people are lovely and considerate.

In the space of 5 minutes this morning I saw or experienced 3 acts of concern or kindness that would happen rarely in Melbourne, especially on public transport.

  1. Lady stopped me at the stop of the escalator as we were heading to catch a train to tell me that my backpack zip wasn’t closed properly.
  2. Whilst waiting for the train I noticed a lady slumped on the bench, clearly not feeling well (and not in a “been drinking all night” kind of way!). I was just about to ask her if I could help when an MRT staff member approached (yes, there are staff on the train platforms here. Take note, Melbourne!) and offered her assistance.  While the staff member called for help, another commuter offered to sit with the sick lady and comfort her.  In Melbourne, I had been doubled over on the train (in work clothes) and then thrown up in the bin at the station without one person stopping to help.
  3. On the crowded peak hour train a lady immediately offered her seat to Miss 4 and I.  This happens about 90% of the time I travel with Miss 4, children are given priority.

So, lovely people of Singapore thank you for your consideration.  I hope that when/if we return to Melbourne we will take this kindness with us and share it with others. xx

7 thoughts on “Oh, Singapore

  1. That is beautiful. V interesting re different attitude to children. In Sydney there were times I sensed people not impressed at young children taking up seat space on public transport – where I think on buses is essential. I am glad to hear that you are discovering good things about your new home.

    • I’ve been surprised, too. The first lady who offered this morning I said ‘no, thank you’ as Miss 4 just plops herself down onto the very clean floor (another thing you wouldn’t do elsewhere for fear of lord-knows-what!) and then a minute later another man offered, so I felt obliged to take the seat!

      Of course, if I sit and Miss 4 sits on my lap then we have freed up TWO standing places, making it less squichy for other people, and it has nothing to do with my laziness. 😉

      The Singaporeans also like touching other people’s kids. It’s not such a problem for me as Miss 8 is past the ‘cute’ stage and Miss 4 gives a stare that emanates ‘you can’t touch this’, but a friend has two little girls, 1 and 2, with blue eyes and red hair and she finds it difficult. As would I, as touching other people’s kids is not in our culture, generally.

  2. i agree, Michelle. we left our home train run a bit late after the Easter Show one year and hit the first of the peak hour trains. Miss was 3 Master was 7 … we stood the whole way whilst able 20-somethings burrowed into their ipods. and staff? only if you count ticket inspectors. almost missed a train having to push through a group of half a dozen standing at the entrance to the station.

    what a lovely experience for you and your little family! xt

  3. Marvellous Manners.
    Special Singaporean caring and what a delight to read about.
    There is much to be said about courtesy and old-fashioned respect.
    Still, there are ‘aspects’ of over-familiarisation from some Asian communities I noted when I was teaching…”how much you pay” “what your salary” I am still not comfy either with the kids being touched…yet culturally it’s what happens…go with the …??
    Loving a good post where differences of the best kind are highlights. D X

  4. Great post, thanks for sharing. Blog posts seem to more often serve as a means for writers to vent at the frustrations we find. It is good to remind ourselves of the small acts of kindness around us. Giving them a bit more focus is good I think.

    • Thanks, John, I try and focus on the positives as anything that gets me down is to do with my head-space/prefernces and not the fault of Singapore or it’s people!

  5. great post ….. and yes, there are many ‘acts of graciousness and kindess’ in Singapore that many tend to overlook …

    I have had many people offer kindess to me since I have been here, couldn’t possibly go into them all, but one I remembered was when a lady overheard me ask for ‘matches’ one day. When I couldn’t get them at the store I kept on walking … about half an hour later … another lady came up to me and said “are you the lady that is looking for matches?” and when I agreed, she took me by the arm and walked with me for at least 100 meters, just to show me the store that sells them!

    Many others beside that of course. Unfortunatly we are so quick to be critical of others, that we often forget these ‘acts of kindess’.

    Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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