Singapore Super Organised

3 May
A busstop - so now it's clear where to go, no?

A busstop - so now it's clear where to go, no?

Singapore has a diarrhea of signs – that’s a fact. I already explained you the long list of restrictions at the border (read here), but also in town there are signs for everything: where to stand, where not, how to cross the street, the names of a bridge, etc. And everything is numbered, even the urinals in the mall. Should you offend against any of these rules, the sign mostly indicates the amount you’ll have to pay.

  • Many pictures of Singapore signs here

There was even a sign indicating a government building with a gunman shooting, warning that any trespassers would be shot. I didn’t dare to take a picture of that sign though… Call me a chicken…

People are stupid

In case you wouldn't know - 4 steps to cross the street

In case you wouldn't know - 4 steps to cross the street

That’s what Singaporeans must think. They cater for the lowest intellect walking around the city (so actually quite inclusive ;-). Everything is explained: even how to cross the street (on the pedestrian traffic lights), there are long signs explaining what time exactly you can park where at which price, at which turn you cannot go left when the left lane is a buslane and when not (you need 5 minutes to understand what the sign actually means). So I was surprised there were not more car accidents with all divers having to read the equivalent of a book of roadsigns for every 10 minute drive.

Singaporeans are practical

Read that while driving past 80km/h

Read that while driving past 80km/h

Some of the signs though are very practical. All streets are super clearly labeled and even every underpass, flyover, bridge also has a name – nicely put on a name sign on either sides. And the tourist maps have the same plethora of names smothered all over them, even the shopping malls are indicated on the maps (so you know how far down the street you are). Sometimes still confusing – because Shaw House is quite different from Shaw Tower or Shaw Mall – and all are in different parts of town…

On the highways, signs indicate how many minutes it will take to different parts of the city, depending on the density of traffic. I’ve seen that before, but what really took me by surprise was the indication of free seats on the double deck buses. A led screen near the stairs to the upper floor counts how many seats are still available on the upper deck. So there must be some lovely sensors integrated in the bus seats to check how many arses are present.

This is how long you might be waiting - sorry

This is how long you might be waiting - sorry

The metro signs and maps show how many minutes it takes till the different stations. And there’s even a lunch time Express (trains every 3 minutes) so that you can shuttle quickly to your favourite food court on the other side of the city and be back at work on time. At the queue at a ticket counter there is a sign indicating how long you are most likely waiting if there’s 3 persons in front of you, 6 etc… Wow.

  • Dear German friends, I’m afraid you’ve lost your lead in time-management & precision!

Enforcing the rules

Only 50 S$ to part illegally

Only 50 S$ to part illegally

What’s the point of having rules, if nobody follows them. (well, we Belgians would say that it is ok to bend rules as long as nobody notices or complains about it) Anyway, Singapore adds quite a dose of enforcement to the rules. Many of the restriction signs actually indicate the fines when you break the rules.

  • So you can smoke on the metro for 1000 S$ (1 Singapore Dollar is about 50 Eurocent)
  • You can park your motorbike illegally for  50 S$
  • Or you are put to death for drug trafficking (as it says in the immigration card – welcome to SG!)
  • Etc

Public Transport

Or did you prefer the distances in Cm?

Or did you prefer the distances in Cm?

To get around Singapore, I got myself an EZ-link card. It’s a magnetic public transport card on which you can upload credit – and then you just hold the card in front of a reader, when you board and exit any public transport. A beep and you have paid. I think they started that in Brussels too, but then I discovered that many of the shops at the stations use the same card. Soooo easy, they should do that for everything – so you just swipe your wallet and presto (no need to even take out the card out of your purse).

  • Now they only need to put sensors at ass-height so that you don’t even have to get your wallet out of your back pocket anymore… And it would add to the dexterity of your behind – free buttock gym included in your EZ card – lol.

PS and public transport in Singapore is soooo efficient – a dream (if you don’t travel after midnight that is). There’s signs everywhere, even indicating how many meters it is to the next station (crazy).


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