Singapore is ridiculously awesome and clean and sci-fi level efficient. Not to mention the really amazing food. But in my experience and some of my other Indian expat friends, people here can sometimes be a bit, well, unfriendly. And, unsmiling.
I cannot count the number of times I have come face to face with someone and smiled and was met with a steely face. One day, the cab driver who was driving me home from somewhere was coughing a lot. And having just recovered from a horrid cough I knew how that feels. So I pulled out the medical cough lozenges I had left over in my bag and gave it to him along with my cab fare. I kid you not, his face was still as a June afternoon.
I have friends who fainted in the gym, only to have other people in the gym continue to run on the treadmill like they couldn’t see her. I have a friend who had a freak accident in the kitchen and grated off the top her finger. She was alone and scared and rang the bell of all the other flats on her floor and three of them didn’t open. One person opened and pretended she couldn’t understand English and shut the door.
But to me, the funniest story till date, is this.
I was at an uber-posh mall on Orchard Road, meeting a friend. I had forgotten my phone at home but I remembered her number. My friend and I had not decided on a specific spot to meet. We thought we’d reach the mall and then coordinate, so I had no way of knowing where she was unless I called her.
I was looking around helplessly, when I spotted a woman standing right next to me. She was very fancy and had a gazillion shopping bags full of Prada and Chanel. I walked up to her and said, “Excuse me, would mind if I used your phone to make a quick local call?”
She looked at me and said in her best mean girl voice, No.
And then, just in case I did not get her, she added, Actually, No.
I love this place to bits for all the amazing things it has to offer. But you have to admit, the only thing warm about Singapore is the weather.