The Little Things: Part 2

Bet you thought I was never going to write another post in my series about the small bits of life in asia that don’t warrant their own thousand words. Well I proved you wrong, didn’t I? Here is part 2 of the Little Things. And when have I ever led you to believe I don’t follow through with projects I start? Your doubt in my blogging is a little rude, I gotta say.

1) Eggs

They don’t refrigerate eggs here! Well, some people do, but grocery stores and the majority of the population keep them in room temperature cabinets. My assumption is that the eggs are so fresh they don’t need constant cooling. Or perhaps everyone is making their very own home-cured century-old eggs for some fried rice. Either way, I will stand firm in the tradition of my home and refrigerate any and all eggs I buy in my lifetime.

2) Escalators

Due to the ratio of population size to inhabitable space, it is understandable that cities are generally expanded vertically much more than suburban areas. I find this to be true in Singapore even more than any other city I’ve visited, with escalators (or in older buildings, a buttload of stairs) gracing the interior of the majority of tall buildings and every single MRT station in existence. Because of the greater height being traversed by these machines they move with high velocities but slow to a crawl in order to save energy when no one is currently riding. Beyond the speed difference from home, however, is the etiquette that has been developed. Escalators seem to have a regulation width approximately two single files wide, with the left hand for standing still and the right reserved for the impatient and rushed who add to their speed by treating the escalators as stairs rather than a series of moving ledges to stand on. Only in the most packed of rush hours is this rule neglected. Unfortunately this uniformity of ingrained rules does not extend to walking in general, where there is no particular side of any walkway for the direction you are going and people tend to meander aimlessly while staring into the abyss that is their smartphone. Move aside, skippy! Momma’s gotta get to class!

3) Conservation

It makes sense that in such an enclosed area with limited natural resources Singaporeans would tend toward conservation. The two main areas that I’ve noticed this is printing and showering. Unlike at home, the automatic printing mode is double sided with single sided print jobs only being performed on the most special of occasions. And when showering (I share a dorm style bathroom, I’m not just creeping on bathing friends) locals turn the water on only when absolutely necessary, reminding me of when the nun who taught at my private grammar school bragged of her great sacrifice using this practice of intermittent water while showering during a drought. I can’t bring myself to do this, even though I no longer have the excuse of being cold when the water shuts off. In fact, more often than not my shower water is below room temperature and I keep it on all the time so I can stop sweating for a while. Ah, sweet chilly relief.

4) Treadmills

They have fans built in to the control panel of the treadmill! Why doesn’t every treadmill ever do this? I know this is more of an equipment brand issue than an asia vs. the US one, but still. I’ll miss it. Also I find I can run faster when tracking in km than in miles (yes, of course taking the conversion into account. I’m not an idiot). No idea why, but I like it. Maybe the man made breeze on my cheeks boosts my endurance.

5) Trash cans

So few of them. In such an cleanliness-obsessed city, why aren’t there more trash cans? It gets frustrating.

6) School assignments

Not sure if this is a Singapore wide phenomenon or an NUS specific issue, but my teachers are all so vague about the assignments for my classes. With missing information ranging from how and when to turn in the final product to what that product should be, finding out all the relevant information is like coaxing a very reticent nocturnal animal into the sunlight for the briefest of moments. Sometimes it doesn’t work all at once and you have to keep going back for some more glimpses of the whole picture and then jigsaw it together later. Mixed metaphors, I know, but now you have a very strange but interesting combination of images and a good idea what I’m talking about, so just chill your grammar selves out. In addition to this facet of school life there is also much greater reliance on group projects here and every class is graded on a bell curve, so no matter how large or small the distribution, no matter if every student in the class got a B+,  someone is guaranteed to fail. Wheeee.



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