Singapore Adventure

Sunday, June 19, 2005

by venitha

One of the coolest things about Singapore is its train system, the MRT. It's fast, it's easy, it's clean, it's well-organized, it's air-conditioned. A true marvel of modern technology. As we proved on our trip here in January, any tourist can figure it out and can even purchase an MRT card, which stores a balance, instead of messing around with single fare tickets. The card looks just like a credit card and, conveniently, is also used by the buses.

In spite of knowing what a minor accomplishment it was, I was downright elated last week the first few times I used the MRT by myself. Hey! Look at me! I'm doing it! All alone! Of course, I was the only one impressed; no one else even noticed my glee. In a city as cosmopolitan as Singapore, I don't stand out as someone new or as someone who doesn't belong.

While the majority of the population is Chinese, there are plenty of Caucasians in Singapore, and now I am now just one of them, sashaying through the MRT turnstiles with ease, tapping my card without taking it out of my bag, no longer bothering to express amazement at the instant digital readout that tells my fare (only 83 cents!) and the balance remaining on my card. Okay, Jim is still inordinately taken with the digital readout, but, well, that's Jim.

Now I just need to figure out my new cellphone so I can spend the entire MRT ride sending text messages (called SMS-ing in Singapore-ese); then I'll REALLY be indistinguishable from the natives on the MRT.