Friday, May 19, 2006

Cold Cold Jungle

Day 1 of REP [Recuperative Exam Period]

While dragged along to a medical check-up in Orchard Road, I noticed the key difference that made people want to live in housing estates instead of private apartments in the heart of the city.

1] Indifference
As I weaved through the crowd at the MRT station, I felt as though I was passing through a mass of ice pillars floating around in the Arctic ocean.
Everyone was in their own little world, mindless of their fellow human beings. And when they collide with each other, like icebergs, they went off in the opposite directions without so much as an apology. Even ants respond when they bump into each other.
The cold indifference was also present in the open streets. Many people often have the impression that Orchard Road is the best place to get business for sales as it is one of the most crowded places in Singapore.

However, I beg to differ.

Those doing surveys, selling products, handing out flyers and other activities which require human interaction were blatently ignored. It is considerably easier to do those same activities in the heartlands where there is virtually less hustle and bustle, and people actually pay some attention to the salesperson.
Thankfully, my mum belongs to the minority of people that acknowledges the poor salespeople/flyer hand-outers/promoters.
At a traffic junction between the Paragon an Crown Prince, a middle-aged woman rushed up to me and asked me to buy a $2-Charity ticket for a Muslim charity foundation. She spoke fluent English and showed me her certificate despite me not saying anything. As a student and all, I didn't have that much money to spend and thus, was about to put out a hand to refuse her. The woman started to look crest-fallen...Then my mum came to the rescue. All life returned to the woman's face and she restarted her well-rehereased sales pitch with much energy. My mum listened and carefully considered. She then proceeded to buy a ticket from the woman's half-full booklet. The relief on the woman's face shone like a beacon in the dark. I guess that sale meant lessoning her burden by one.

2] Inconsideration
When we were in the medical lift in the Paragon, it was purely silence. Then the door opened and someone exited. It was then which I realised how inconsiderate urbanites in Orchard are. As my mum and I were at the back of the lift, we could not reach for the buttons so easily. The two city-dwellers nearest to the lift buttons stood there expectantly, waiting for someone to press the "Close" button. it was only after a while did the madam directly next to the buttons reached out -albeit reluctantly- and finally pushed the damn button.

That minor incident was what triggered my heartlander sense of righteousness.
What? Are these city folk too high-classed to push a tiny button in a lift?
Or are they too used to having a lift-operator pushing buttons for them in their million-dollar private apartments?

And the many who prefer to dump their rubbish anywhere without a care? Why isn't there anyone stepping out to rebuke them? If the same act is repeated in the heartlands, at least a kindly elderly will step out to remind the offender to pick up after themselves. Or even better, a law-abiding youngster [So few of them these days...] would immediately give the Inconsiderate One a loud lecture in the midst of public.

But in Orchard Road, in the cold concrete jungle where people live in their own worlds and deny the existance of what they don't like, no form of righteousness would ever take place.

These bits of warmth are reserved for the heartlands.

Singapore: Two different worlds in one

- The Icy Concrete Jungle & The Tropical Heartlands