Feel-good story of the day

Feel Good, Inc

In the spirit of not drinking and driving/riding, I took public transport to a Christmas party last Fri evening.

While going down the escalator toward the train platform at Serangoon MRT station, I took out my phone to reply to a message that had just come in.

Just as I reached the platform, I heard a brusque and brutish voice behind me shout, “Excuse me! Excuse me, sir!”

I was all ready to whip around and be like, “What the f-awrawrawrawrawrawr do you want, man?”

I was angrily wondering whose toes I had stepped on to get him all riled up like that. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn’t (knowingly) offended anyone at the station.

I turned around only to face a young man (about 16 or 17 years old), who came up to me and said, “You dropped your money.”

Words cannot describe how shocked I was.

For one, I’m quite a careful person, and I seldom make mistakes like that. Apparently, the money had fallen out of my pocket while I was taking out my phone, and I had walked on toward the train platform like an oblivious boss.

(In other news, I need a money clip, but this is in no way encouraging anyone to get me one.)

For another, I hadn’t expected this.

(Before I left the house, I grabbed all the cash that was in my wallet and stuffed it into my pocket. I didn’t count how much I’d brought out, but after some calculations on hindsight, I realised I had brought $98 out. I don’t usually bring out so much cash because I prefer to pay by card, but I knew I was going to be taking quite a lot of public transport that evening.)

I’d brought quite a bit of cash out with me and I hadn’t expected this act of goodwill; I’d assumed that I was the only altruistic person alive and Singaporeans were all evil and would’ve just taken the money they’d found.

So I stood there staring at him for about two seconds like a stunned mullet before I blurted out, “Wow. Thank you so much.”

And grabbed the cash from him. As I fumbled to rearrange the notes and put them back in my pocket, I noticed something amiss – a missing blue-coloured note.

That’s it, lah, I thought, still assuming that Singaporeans were untrustworthy bastards. The $50 note is gone.

As I paced around to check if the note was anywhere on the ground, the train chose to arrive at that opportune moment.

Between searching for the cash and not wanting to miss my ride (because I was late), I decided to abandon all hope and enter the train.

And just then, this old lady in an orange shirt, came up to me, smiling, and handed me the $50 note.

I think my jaw must have dropped open right then, but I recovered, thanked her hastily, and ran into the awaiting train.

I always thought stuff like that only happens in the movies, but I guess I was proven wrong that day.

And I’m glad I was proven wrong about Singaporeans – there still is some good and graciousness left on this island.

I hope this story has touched you one way or another, so if your faith in Singaporeans has been renewed as well, please pay this good deed forward in any way you can.

On my part, I’m going to keep on being altruistic. I’m also going to take part in the Letters Under Umbrellas project and leave a letter at Serangoon MRT station to encourage more people to keep on doing good deeds.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and see you back here on Wed!

POSKOD.SG: Ten Steps to Effective Driving


Vroom vroom.

My latest article on POSKOD.SG.

Ten Steps to Effective Driving.
A guide to burning up the road. (Mostly burning.)

In addition to having good communication skills, Singaporeans have extremely awesome motoring habits.

That’s hardly surprising: 12% of Singapore’s land area is made up of roads, so getting around speedily means that you’re gonna need to get your Ma Chi on faster than a traffic light turns green.

Before you do so, however, here are ten steps to effective driving, the get-out-of-my-Singaporean way.

  1. Communicate effectively.
    In keeping with our culture of communicative excellence, don’t use your signal lights.

    Who invented them, and what are they for, other than to overwhelm drivers with useless information?

    Alternatively, communicate in a betterer fashion by signalling a right turn but making a left turn instead.

    Routine breeds complacency, and you’ve got to keep people on their toes – even if it means them keeping their toes on their brake pedal all the time.

    Here’s a quick quiz to test your understanding of this:


      • You are approaching a junction. You plan to make a left turn into the filter lane.
      • There is a driver at the opposite end of the junction waiting to make a right turn.
      • Do you signal your intention so that he doesn’t have to wait in vain?

      No! Don’t demean him by assuming that he doesn’t want to wait for you.

  2. Be flexible.
    Jam on the brakes when other motorists least expect you to. Better yet – make abrupt U-turns.

    Inject a little spontaneity into what would otherwise be a mundane and boring drive.

    Here’s another quick quiz to test your understanding of this:

      While driving, you realise you need to make a U-turn. What do you do?


      • Stay in the left-most lane.
      • Jam on the brakes.
      • Turn your steering wheel sharply to your right.
      • Make the U-turn.
      • Bonus points if you signalled a left turn before doing so (in keeping with Step 1).
  3. Keep a safe following distance.
    One bumper width is fine, especially in land-scarce Singapore.

    In fact, the closer you can get, the better – Singapore is all about motor-racial harmony.

    Furthermore, personal space is an alien concept introduced by corrupt Westerners, and has no place in a society built on solid Asian values like filial piety, meritocracy and ERP gantries.


Waterway to travel.

Canal between St Andrew's Junior College and St Andrew's School.

This boat faithfully trawls the canal between SAJC and SAS to pick up litter and leaves on a regular basis (every week or so, I estimate).

Based on this, I’ve had some students who’ve suggested using this waterway as a transport route as part of their Project Work [1].

If students can do it, what more adults?

That’s why I think it’s possible for our urban planners to come up with more creative solutions to solve our transport woes instead of just razing buildings and fattening roads [2].