The funny thing about being a Singaporean overseas is that there are certain very “Singaporean” things that do not leave you no matter how far you are away from home. Perhaps these things may change over time but over the last few months that I have been here in Sweden, I find myself laughing to/at myself sometimes when I find myself stopping to think about these questions:
1) “Will I get STOMPED?”
For any non-Singaporean, STOMP is an online citizen portal where people report the most random things and it is so popular that the word “stomp” is also now commonly used as a verb. For example, “I am going to stomp you for throwing your rubbish on the floor!”
There was a day when Jens and I did this spectacular jump over a fence and sprint across the road (illegally) because we were trying to catch a bus. If you remember my last post (here), I wrote about public transport here and it was vital that we caught the bus otherwise we would be stuck. So I followed the lead of the Swede who said that it was perfectly okay. As I was running, I was repeatedly telling Jens “We are going to get stomped! We are going to get stomped!” and he reminded me that…there is no Stomp in Sweden.
2) “Can I eat or drink on the train/bus?”
The fear of getting fined or stomped for eating or drinking on public transport in Singapore is so real that I find it easy to forget that it is okay here. There was once where I had to run an errand during lunch hour and grabbed a sandwich while on the go. As I was walking towards the train station, I started to wrap up my half eaten sandwich. It happened so automatically even though the sandwich was hot and I really wanted to continue eating it. Then as I was going down the escalator and fumbling with the sandwich I realised that…I could just continue eating. Oh the joy! Hahahaha!
3) “Can I chope my spot with this tissue paper?”
It is really common to reserve a spot in Singapore with a packet of tissue paper and there have been situations here that I wish I could do the same but it seems like people are okay leaving all their belongings on the table/chair. I don’t feel comfortable with that and would probably never do it. Isn’t a tissue paper packet just less…risky?
This post is meant to be taken light heartedly but there is really some very “Singaporean” ways of life that I did not know was that ingrained in me. Some of the other things that run through my mind include…why are those people not standing behind the yellow line? Where is the yellow line?!! Should I keep on the left or right of the escalator? Can I sit on the priority seat? Hahaha you get my drift!
Anyway I just wanted to thank everyone who has been following this space and taking the time to read it. Honestly I write because I genuinely enjoy it and also because I want to keep my family/friends back home updated about my life here. Interestingly enough, it has also been very heartwarming to receive emails from girls who are going through similar experiences with their sambo visa and connecting them with others who are going through or have gone through the same. I guess I underestimated the power of the internet but thank you all for reaching out!
Till the next update, have a good weekend everyone!