The Flipside

Are Singaporeans too cynical?

Faith in humanity restored? (Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Koh)Faith in humanity restored? (Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Koh)Faith in humanity restored? (Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Koh)

In "The FlipSide", local blogger Belmont Lay lets loose on local politics, culture and society. To be taken with a pinch of salt and parental permission is advised. In this post, he talks about cynical Singaporeans.

Check out this photo above showing an unfamiliar scene that I found on my Facebook news feed on the evening of December 3.

It shows office workers patiently waiting in line to board the train after work on a damp and depressing Monday evening.

Basically, this photo caught my eye for a few reasons.

a) I've personally encountered this sort of queues at various MRT stations very rarely and I'm always amused that they can spontaneously occur without rhyme or reason.

b) People are used to this sort of thing in places like Japan and Taiwan, not here.

c) According to the person who posted the original photo, this was taken at around 7 pm at Raffles Place MRT station.

Which we all know, can be completely chaotic with unlimited human traffic resulting in massive amounts of dry humping.

However, sensing this was a surreal scene of orderly behaviour that a lot of other people would appreciate, I re-posted the photo on my Facebook page. I added the caption "Faith in humanity restored" to show that I was heartened to see such orderliness emerge.

Because I, too, only thought that people in Singapore were ever capable of standing in line if it was to buy Happy Meals with Hello Kitty plush toys.

Popular photo

And other people were just as impressed because the photo proved to be popular. It received more than a hundred shares in under four hours and accumulated hundreds of Likes.

Half the responses were positive:

"Good job!"

"Hope to see more of these!"

"Happens at Circle Line too!"

And the other half of responses were made by people who were spoiling for a fight.

I shall highlight the gist of what they wrote.

1. They can see things that are not there:

"There is a queue because there are no foreigners to ruin it!"

2. They can point out all the flaws:

"Look! This one long queue will stretch all the way to the opposite platform and prevent people from coming out from the other train!"

3. Everything is a show:

"Once the train door opens, everyone will rush in regardless whether there is a queue!"

4. The government is behind it:

"Must be the gahmen ask the new CEO to send more staff to the station to police the commuters!"

5. A Cabinet Minister must be paying a visit:

"All wayang one lah!"

Conclusion? I am deeply disappointed with the lengths that some people will go just to be a complete wet blanket and relieve themselves on everything.

Because as I am the granddaddy of cynicism and sarcasm, I feel that they should up the ante as they are still not cynical and sarcastic enough.

Belmont Lay is the editor of New Nation. He is the third best freelance writer in Singapore.

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