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Singapore Shuffle (or lack thereof)

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You know how when you walk down a busy street like in NYC and find yourself on the same, but opposite path as someone coming towards you? You end up doing a little shuffle dance, where you both try to get out of the way. Left, left, right, right, small grin, on with your day….The Singaporeans don’t do the shuffle.

Hand to God, it’s killing me. The walking system here is so far my biggest problem. Most of our mis-adventures are kind of amusing in hindsight, simple mis understanding as such. But this walking thing. Oh.My.God.

There are two things to this. One, girls in oh-so-fashinoable high heels are not meant for power walking. For guys and girls there is also a lot of flip-flop action taking place, so that too limits your speed walking. Two, there seems to be no order to the sidewalk. IN most big cities it’s everyone going upstream is on one side of the sidewalk, everyone going downstream is on the other. A few of us will dart back and for to get around slower moving traffic, but that’s OK. No, here, it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves. Everyone walks every direction, across the whole sidewalk. Add slow walking + texting while walking+ meandering around and you get this cluster diagram of walking down the street with people just sort of milling about with no clear path.

Which brings us back to the shuffle. Since there are no “set” sides or rules, you find yourself coming along the same path as other people quite a bit. Only, it seems, this Gringo is the only one doing the Shuffle. The people here DON’T move out of the way. And we are not the only ones who noticed. My co-worker who just moved here from the States in January, mentioned the same thing to me earlier this week. You’re walking, and if you don’t move, then 3-2-1 Contact! as you run into the other person.

Sigh. If I figure out the system, I’ll be sure and let you know, in the meantime, all we can do is look for openings around the pokey ones, play human dodge ball with oncoming traffic, and hope for the best.


2 responses »

  1. Once again, Ryan, you absolutely must write a book! I can just see you picking your way down the sidewalk trying to be polite, saying “excuse me” until finally throwing up your hands in frustration – you’re hilarious!

  2. “Cluster…diagram”?


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