Halloween Special: 8 things that scare Singaporeans
Ebola. Not scared.
IS. Not scared.
Inflation? Ok la. Maybe a bit scared.
But here are 8 things that will freak out any Singaporean.
1. The Samman Auntie
If you hang out at coffee shops as much as I do, and I mean coffee shops not cafes. You too will hear the distinct warning cry from one of various helpful member of staff shouting “Samman lai liao”. I may not have gotten it down word for word, it always happens too fast. But the warning is always followed by a mad dash to the car park or the curb, depending where your coffee shop is located. And if you see the despairing look in these peoples eyes, then you know true fear.
2. Fear of not being able to find a seat at lunch
Lunch during office hours is a martial art, it requires stealth, patience and a precise aim. I’ve been to the CBD for lunch many times during lunch hour only to find myself confused with how fast tables turnover. Office workers armed with packets of tissue paper, lanyards or umbrellas will fan out and lurk casually behind occupied tables that look like they’re about done. Each member of the group stands in close enough proximity to give silent eye signals to determine whether to move in for the kill or to give up the hunt in search of better game. Truly, lunch hour brings out the hunter gatherer in us.
3. Not being able to find a seat on the train
Not finding a seat on the train isn’t the same as not finding a seat at lunch. As finding a seat on the train is kind of like a lucky draw, if you get one you get one, but every time you don’t a little bit of you dies inside. Not all of us are bothered with standing during the trip home, after all most of you have been seating down for majority of the day. Some however will scour the cabin reading the faces of those that already have a seat trying to determine through rough guesswork where each person might potentially stop. Once determining their target they linger close enough to move in if their guess proves correct and therefore rewarded with a throne for the remainder of the two stops they have left on the train.
4. Taking the priority seat on the train. And the ensuing Stomp article.
This particular seats situated at both ends of the train are treated like social outclasses. Even if a train is close to full you’ll never see anybody below the age of 40 even look at it, much less use it. Most people just pretend this seat doesn’t exist for fear that others might look at them funny and wonder “Is she/he just fat or pregnant?” Honestly the seat is a seat, just make use of it, if you see someone else who needs it after you’ve already sat down then give it up, we don’t have to avoid it like a plague.
5. No WiFi service or 3G/4G
Some areas in Singapore just get poorer reception than others, it’s happened to me a few times and it can be annoying. For some others it gets frightful and confusing. I’ve had friends nose deep into their smart phones, clicking and clicking away on Facebook or Instagram and then get disconnected because of poor reception. They then look up and stare out at the world around them unsure what to do next. It’s like the life had been pulled out of them and conversation or “Social Networking” isn’t a real world thing, but give it five minutes once we’ve move out of the “Dead” zone and normalcy resumes.
6. Relatives finding out you strike 4D or toto
This one is a little tricky because some people just have horrible relatives, so the fear of such relatives turning up for any reason might be a fear on its own. But, striking 4D or toto is usually a hush hush affair, with one uncle usually inviting only one or two of his other siblings out for a dinner in some fancy seafood restaurant so as not to invite the “unwanted” brother (probably the guy that keeps taking the priority seat on the train).
7. Street surveyors
“Hi I’m not trying to sell anything, I’d just like to ask if you could spare me two minutes of your time” Yes I know the line by heart. I’ve heard it too many times and yes I have usually spared them more than the two minutes they claimed will take. Most of the time they’re selling something (yes, donations to the Heart Foundation or World Wide Fund for Nature on a monthly basis is still a credit transaction and while I’m technically not buying anything, I am still parting with money). Sometimes they’re just casual surveys for school or what not. I understand why we avoid them on the street but taking a detour around the fountain outside Ngee Ann City is just ridiculous.
8. National Service call-up letter
This is skewed to the male demographic, and it does scare them because no 18 year old knows anything about NS other than the horror stories they’ve heard from their father, brother, older cousin, sister’s boyfriend, uncle or the guy waiting at Pasir Ris Bust Interchange laughing at them as they enlist. National Service is scary because we won’t know what to expect other than endless days of push-ups and running and marching and jungle training. It’s not just a scary time for the recruits but also the mothers of recruits, they probably view NS in a worst light than the recruits going through it. Once you’re done with NS however, you’ll realise it’s not that scary after all.