Of Politics, Transport and War

Tomorrow will mark my 16th day in school. And out of these 16 days, I’ve spent 2 and 2/3 days travelling to school. That makes 64 hours.

I live in the far east (or more specifically, Pasir Ris) and that’s a whopping 27 stops away from the nearest train station to school. On good days, I take 4 bus rides and 2 train journeys to complete my voyage from home to school and back again. On bad days (really horrifyingly bad ones that include tastings at inaccessible places), it takes me 6 bus rides and 4 trains. Cringe.

Money aside, travelling sucks away your energy in the most unfathomable way possible. You’re well rested, excited about school, board the bus/train at 7am in the morning and you’ll realise that there’s a mysterious force in the universe of public transportation that’s slowly but definitely siphoning your energy away for its own use. I call it war. PT (public transportation) war.

Classes that begin between 9-12pm can hurt my sanity, because even when I’m taking the train from the depot, the fucking thing arrives half filled. Why? Because Singaporeans have mastered the distasteful art of bouncing. Residents of the next few stops (ranging from Tampines to Tanah Freaking Merah) take the train in the opposite direction so they’ll be able to sit comfortably to work. Even if it means wasting an extra 10-15 minutes bouncing from station to station. I live in Pasir Ris. And during peak hours, I can’t even get onto the train that supposedly starts its journey from this station. I cannot even fathom how many trains others have to miss.

The congestion, the rush, the heightened senses and magnified grumpiness — it can hurt sense and sensibilities sometimes, and it can bring out the worst in people. I’m not really a fan of politics, because I come from a country I’m proud of for being safe, efficient and wonderful to live in. But there are some small things that’s easy neglected in a forward looking nation like ours. Tiny little things like how people like to have both feet planted firmly on the ground.

With a population density of 7252.43/square kilometre (that’s about 7 people per square meter), we have gotten so accustomed to spending most of our lives upon the cemented floors of our HDB homes, or the glass panelled surfaces of our latest malls, forgetting that these are not set upon solid ground. I don’t need much space. I don’t think we all do. I only hope that one day, we can stand side by side on real solid ground and not feel the sound of our nation whining beneath our weight. I only hope that one day, this nation will be able to comfortably fit us all.

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