The Misadventures of Sibeh Sian

You can call me Sian. Sibeh Sian.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The long and short about The Unwritten Rules In Singapore


This entry is inspired by this entry.

As a true-blue Singaporean born and bred in Toa Payoh, I do think that there are several ‘unwritten’ social rules here in our beloved island. To help our overseas friends to understand us better, I have come up with a list of such unwritten rules in daily social settings:

Unwritten Rule in the MRT:
You are happily napping on your seat on your way to the office, as depicted in the following illustration:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

When the train reached City Hall, your fellow commuters left the train, and you are the only person left in the cabin with Commuter A to your left:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

According to the unwritten rules of the MRT, you should immediately shift to the furthest possible seat:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Singapore is a very small country, and most of us are enclosed in tiny HBDs. We are thus very protective of any tiny space around us, so Commuter A might mistake your refusal to shift seats as a sign of aggression.

The big question is: why can’t Commuter A shift his/her position instead? The reason is because Commuter A was sitting next to the train exit, which gives him/her the Right of Way. Or something like that.

Unwritten Rule in the Lift:
After the treacherous train ride, you finally reached your office building and managed to squeeze into the company lift:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The lift reached level 10, and everyone exits the lift except for you and Lift Taker A:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If you have paid attention to what I said previously, you will know that the correct thing to do now will be to shift to the position furthest possible away from Lift Taker A”

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Again, personal space is the key reason why you should move away. But the situation is made trickier in a lift if you consider the following scenarios:

- If you are female and Lift Taker A is male, Lift Taker A will inevitably think you are trying to hit on him.
- If you are male and Lift Taker A is female, Lift Taker A will inevitably think you are trying to hit on her. Or worse, she might scream molest.
- If you are male and Lift Taker A is male, Lift Taker A will inevitably think you are trying to hit on him. You might end up screaming molest. Or maybe the two of you might be very happy :)

Unwritten Rule in the Loo:
(Hey that rhymed, haha)
You reached your level, and decided to take a quick pee before slaving your day at the office. All the cubicles and urinals were occupied except for Urinal 2, so you did your business there:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

While unzipping, the colleagues to your right finished their business and left the loo:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You are probably thinking to yourself “Aha! The correct thing to do now is move to Urinal 4, which is the furthest.”

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Unfortunately, that is the incorrect answer. The correct thing to do is to shift to Urinal 3:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The reason why you should not shift to Urinal 4 is because after Colleague A is done with peeing, he will (hopefully) proceed to the basin to wash his hands. By switching to Urinal 3 instead, he will not be able to peep at you.

Now the big question is what if the colleagues have left while you are mid-stream?

The answer is of course, to pause mid-stream and switch to Urinal 3. We Singaporeans are that anal. Heh.

With Love,
Sibeh Sian


This update has got nothing to with this entry whatsoever!

If you’ve noticed, there’s a new picture just below mine at the sidebar. That’s Alan Johnston, Gaza correspondent from the BBC who was unfortunately kidnapped in the turbulent region since 12 March this year.

His family and friends are keeping their fingers crossed that he will return to them soon. Click on his picture to find out how you can help!


  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:23:00 PM, Blogger Jinkang said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:24:00 PM, Blogger Jinkang said…

    If A is done peeing, shouldn't you pause your mid-stream and proceed to Urinal 1 instead?

    He can't possibly peep at you from the Basin. Ain't that the safest way than proceeding to Urinal 3?

  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 2:38:00 PM, Blogger gracie said…

    eh... i think this is just based on your own anal psychosis... dun anyhow say all Singaporean men and teach foreigners the wrong thing. =D

  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:01:00 PM, Blogger Ignorant one said…

    i have a question sbs..

    does this applies to men doing big business or za bor doing both?

    and i never shift in mrt one lor.i probably shifted in the lift due to factors like. ahem. some smell or something. heh!

  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:10:00 PM, Blogger Aileen said…

    All the rules are sibeh senseless leh.

  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 7:46:00 PM, Blogger said…

    Do these rules apply for parking spaces too? Heh Heh.

  • At Sunday, April 22, 2007 9:49:00 PM, Blogger flying paper said…

    but when people move away from me, i would think that they find me smelly or anything..although i will be happy to have a larger space... contradicting hor? haha

  • At Monday, April 23, 2007 12:09:00 AM, Blogger dave said…

    hahhaha wah. vivid illustrations. i usually let other folks do the moving around for personal space, i'm easy peasy.

    to avoid peeping altogether (in case he gets jealous/inflated ego*)..just use the cubicle la

    delete accordingly*

  • At Monday, April 23, 2007 6:10:00 AM, Blogger Lobart said…

    very interesting observations. i agree with the mrt and urinal one. haha.

  • At Monday, April 23, 2007 9:53:00 AM, Blogger Sibeh Sian said…

    Jinkang: Yes you can, but you have to be in the middle of a very, very long stream. Heh.

    Gracie: Oh trust me, there are a lot of such anal people in Singapore! Heh :)

    Ignorant One: The Unwritten Rule of the Loo does not apply to men-in-cubicles, and by the same logic, doesn't apply to girls too. THis is due to the wonderful privacy offered by the cubicle. Unless your neighbor has a habit of peeping into yours, haha.

    Aileen: They are sibeh, sibeh senseless! As I can only afford the bus, I can't speak for parking spaces, heh :)

    Flying Paper: Don't worry! Singaporeans are very contradictory one :D!

    Dave: Although cubicles are nice, I usually go for urinals because I am a firm believer of 'fast-in-fast-out'. Eh, that doesn't apply to every aspect of my life, if you know what I mean, haha....

    Lobart: Aha! You must be a fellow Singaporean :D! Come come, let me give you a big brotherly hug!

  • At Monday, April 23, 2007 10:31:00 AM, Blogger OLLie said…

    eh? I have never shifted in the mrt train before leh. Why must shift? I thought the person next to me might feel offended, so I don't shift.

    Anyhow, isn't stopping mid pee disrupting to the pee flow or something? Don't ask me to stop peeing halfway to change cubicle. I will be so pek chek that I cant pee properly.

    p/s: I got my acct back! Stupid blogger wants me to change to google acct. >.<

  • At Monday, April 23, 2007 4:35:00 PM, Blogger Rainie said…

    mmm, quite true for the mrt rules =P

    never fail to see others switching seats, since i'm always taking the corner seat =P

  • At Tuesday, April 24, 2007 10:46:00 AM, Blogger eileen` said…

    hmm, normally i'll go over to the corner seat on the train because i feel more secure with an object beside me.

    if i sit in the middle with only one or two people there, i feel very exposed.

  • At Thursday, April 26, 2007 2:06:00 AM, Blogger fredrik said…

    i think those rules can be void if the girl sitting beside you is really hot :P

  • At Monday, April 30, 2007 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Sibeh Sian said…

    Ollie: When the flow is strong, the 'chi' won't be distrupted even if you pause mid-way :)

    Rainie: Haha, the corner seat is the most favored seat indeed :)

    Eileen: I feel very exposed also! By seating in corner seats, there will also be a lower chance of me getting molested :)

    FredriK; Very, very true. Heh :)


Post a Comment

<< Home