There are so many mysteries in life. What happens when we die? Why do diets never work? Why does one woman look smoking hot in a dress, but another look like the cleaning lady with a bad hair day in the exact same dress? Why do people still use the phrase “exact same” when it’s so clearly bad grammar? How do planes stay up in the air? The list is endless.
But in Singapore, the categories of mysteries take on a whole other dimension. Maybe it’s the tropical air that makes everything feel a little bit more surreal.
1. Why do people, who would never dream of missing a plane, think it’s acceptable to show up an hour late for a wedding?
2. While dressed in short-sleeved polo knits and jeans?
3. How has David Gan made so much money just from cutting hair that he can afford to give, on a regular basis, five-figure presents to his friends?
4. Why is he not friends with me?
5. Why is it impossible to read any article about David Gan without him telling you how much something costs?
6. Why are so many Singaporeans so scared of dogs? Even if they’re little poodles?
7. Eriche, Jacelyn, Pearlyn, Concept, Pamelyn, Mindee, Ericson, Messiah… Where do people come up with their names?
8. Has anyone watched a Singaporean play recently that didn’t have a gay theme or involve some degree of cross-dressing?
9. Why do people still insist on calling the smoke from the forest fires in Indonesia and Malaysia, ‘the haze’? It’s smelly, foul, stinky smoke.
10. Why do the TCS artistes never seem to pay for their own wedding? If you can’t afford to pay for your own wedding dress/jewellery/suit/wedding venue/make-up artist/hair-dresser/honeymoon, why are you getting married in the first place?
11. Artist, ok. Actor, ok. Thespian, ok. But what the hell is an ‘artiste’?
12. Why do people continue to murder people and smuggle drugs and then complain when they get handed the death penalty?
13. How on earth did Singapore end up with such a super-dooper efficient infrastructure while the rest of the world increasingly operates like a Third World sweat shop?
14. (Question from Saffy) Is the Prime Minister wearing the same cardigan every time he appears on Question Time?
15. (Question from Amanda) If so, what label is it?
16. (Question from Barney Chen) Does the Prime Minister work out?
17. (Question from Amanda) If so, where?
18. In what way do questions 14 to 17 qualify as ‘Singaporean mysteries’?
19. Why don’t bus drivers know if, say, Rochor Road is on their route?
20. Why do people on the bus always force you to climb over them to get to the window seat? Why can’t they just move in?
21. Why don’t people smile more at the hawker centre? All that amazing cheap food on offer and everyone still looks like they’re in the middle of a typhoid epidemic.
22. Why is it that once you’ve flown on Singapore Airlines, every other plane just feels like a smelly, medieval dump?
23. Why don’t motorists indicate when they’re changing lanes?
24. Or stop at zebra crossings?
25. And why do they persist in believing that an amber or red light is an all clear to speed up?
26. Why can’t the rest of the world’s airports look, feel, and run like Changi?
27. Why are men still carrying their girlfriends’ handbags in public?
28. Or is their girlfriend actually not a girl?
29. How do hair-washers wash your hair while you’re sitting upright without dripping water and shampoo all over your clothes?
30. Why do so many people not flush the public toilets?
31. Why do public toilets always seem so wet? Where is all that water splashing from?
32. Why do Chinese weddings feel so dull while Malay and Indian weddings seem so much more festive?
33. How does Fann Wong still look so freakishly young after all these years?
34. Why, with all his good looks and charm, does Christopher Lee continue to insist on dressing like a homeless street bum with really bad hair?
35. Why aren’t there more Lee Kuan Yews in this world?
36. Why do people still think that a phone message is an amusing piece of paper that’s meant to be ignored?
37. And despite all this, why – after even just a few days away and the plane finally touches down at Changi – does it always feel like you’ve come home?