Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Nights out with Robert Frost

IT used to be "When shall we three meet again... in thunder, lightning or in rain?" We said this line whenever we were planning a night out. We would say this line in unison and burst out in giggles and laughter.

Well, these days, my nights out are with Robert Frost. "And miles to go before I sleep... and miles to go before I sleep" is the line that surfaces very often for me (silently in my mind, like soft falling snow) -- followed by the mental image of a tired horse and an equally tired old man trudging through the snow and clip-clopping past the deep and dark forests.

I guess it has to do with age.  Nights out? You must be joking. I'd rather catch the 9pm, Ch 8 -- my favourites are on -- Zoe Tay, Rui En, Chen Liping and Chen Haiwei. What a combination.

But I also watch the deep and dark forests from afar -- from my mind's window. As in the poem, they are rather appealing. So restful, a world where people do not get dragged 1km by runaway murderers, where people do not get slashed just because perhaps they walked in a manner that seemed upperty -- to someone.

But well, there are miles to go before I sleep... and miles to go before I sleep.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The psyche of Singapore drivers

I am a Singapore driver myself, and I am still wondering what makes Singapore drivers tick? If you are visiting Singapore, and have driven on our roads, you probably take home, this bit of memory:

You indicate you want to cross over to the next lane... Your indicator has been ticking for a while, but all of a sudden, the cars next lane are speeding up like there is no tomorrow. Impossible to filter.

So, the trick is to indicate one tiny second, then shoot out to the next lane whether there is traffic or not. This will cause traffic at the next lane to jam brake. But who cares. Hey, you've crossed over!

"Filtering" from one lane to another is what they teach you at driving lessons. But in real life, there is no such thing as "filtering". You simply just switch lane. It is a skill that many drivers have acquired in Singapore.

Another scenario. You see the car in front indicating that he wants to come over to your lane. So you slow down. But he is not taking the "window of opportunity" you are offering him. So you speed up, knowing that the minute you do so, he will start to cross over to your lane. Bingo!

More and more condos are being built where cars have to come out of the estates, directly onto roads with heavy traffic. This is the most difficult thing to do for Singapore drivers. No one is going to give you any leeway and let you take their spot in the "ranking" on their lane.

So, how to get your cat out and hit the road to work? Just shoot out of the condo gateway into the main road regardless of traffic. Sure way to commit harakiri, but what the heck, it's better than waiting till sunset at the condo gateway... I suppose?