Are Singaporeans standing around waiting to die?



I’ve been working at Robinson Road for over a month now. Working at this location forces me to take the train to the Raffles Place MRT station. Raffles Place is situated in the heart of the central business district and is arguably the most congested place to be during rush hour.

But having endured the daily grind for nearly a month now, I realize that the slow moving human traffic isn’t due to Singapore’s dense population; it’s due to the laziness of Singaporeans.

Instead of climbing the stairs or climbing an escalator, most Singaporeans are content with letting the automated floor move them. I find this to be extremely annoying.

Is it really so difficult to climb a single flight of stairs? In Singapore, ‘idle’ commuters are encouraged to stand on the left side of the escalator, thus allowing the right side to be utilized by those willing make the climb.

Unfortunately, there are many instances where inconsiderate Singaporeans decide to hog the right side of escalator as well, thus leaving the stairs as the only alternative for those unwilling to queue for the escalator.

The phrase “queue for the escalator” makes me cringe. Escalators and other forms of ‘people movers’ were designed to be means to an end; they were designed to help you go to your destination. Yet, I find many Singaporeans queuing for the escalators when they could take the stairs instead. It seems that ‘Sloth’ is a destination most Singaporeans are heading to during rush hour.

On average, I estimate that someone working at Raffles Place could decrease their commute by 20 minutes a day, simply by climbing the stairs or escalator instead of queuing for it.

The Singaporean reluctance to move irks me to no end. When I spent a month in Japan, I was impressed by how efficient its people were. The Japanese walk extremely quickly and are able to walk in a highly organized fashion.

Outgoing traffic sticks to the right whilst incoming traffic sticks to the left. It’s a remarkable display of synchronized human management efficiency. At no place is this more evident than Tokyo, where commuters are willing to walk to their destinations.

And why wouldn’t you want to walk to your destination? It saves you time and it could possibly save your life too. My sister recently sent me a link to an article that stated that walking 30 minutes increase your chances of living longer.

Perhaps that’s one reason why the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world.

I think many Singaporeans have underestimated the benefits of walking. Walking remains a wonderful form of exercise that can be implemented in our daily lives.

The next time you’re faced with a queue for the escalator, talk the stairs instead; there’s no point in queuing up so you can stand-still and die.

About Dedrick Koh

Dedrick Koh is a Social Media and Communications Specialist at Nanyang Polytechnic. He has a Bachelors (Murdoch) and Diploma (Ngee Ann Polytechnic) in Mass Communication. Dedrick is a communications professional and a highly skilled classical guitarist. As a communications professional, he has worked on brands like Coca Cola, DHL, Nokia, Nestle, the Health Promotion Board, the Economic Development Board of Singapore and the President Challenge. He gave private classical guitar during his polytechnic and undergraduate studies to put himself through school. He has succesfully prepared students for ABRSM and Trinity exams and was previously an instructor cum assistant conductor at Ngee Ann Polytechnic Strings under Alex Abisheganaden .