Week 11: Greg's Perspective
(02/21/06)

Greetings,

My lovely wife has allowed me to be the "Guest Host" for this week's update. Those of you used to her "entertaining", "interesting", "humorous", and/or "well written updates using proper grammatical rules" may be a bit disappointed in this week's content, but…uh, you know, well…that's…uh, the way it is.

Rather than update you on what has happened the past week, I want to share some of my observations about life in Singapore thus far - a sort of pros and cons list. I'll start with the pros:

Please allow me my first digression. Overall, I/we have had very positive experiences, but we did have one interesting trip. We were returning from the local mall one evening after dinner and we "queued" at the taxi stand. After waiting for a few minutes, a cab pulled up and we all got in. As it pulled up, I thought it was moving extra slowly, but didn't think too much about it. Perhaps our driver was just being careful. The first Bennett family rule is "Safety First!" so it would be hypocritical to find fault with another individual who chooses to live his life by this same rule. As it turns out, he was being extra careful…because he could not see!!!!!!! I knew we were in trouble when he took off his extremely thick glasses, turned them upside down, put them back on, and then proceeded to drive. In other words, the ear pieces were facing up!!! I've worn glasses for nearly 20 years and this thought has never crossed my mind, ignoring the obvious fact that this likely cannot improve your vision. As you might imagine, this is not comforting. The other warning sign that we were in for an adventure was that as I was telling him where we lived, he interrupted me and said "I don't know where that is, you'll have to tell me." For reference purposes, we live about one mile from the mall and we live right by the American School, which is a significant Singaporean landmark. For further reference purposes, it is our understanding that to be a cabbie in Singapore you have to be from Singapore and this was an older gentleman (i.e., he should have known where the American School is). So, we buckled up, said a couple of silent prayers, and set off on our journey. I found myself thankful that Shannon makes us cart those damn booster seats around with us everywhere we go because I thought there was a good chance we might need them. Ten frightful minutes, countless traffic violations, and numerous unplanned lane changes later (those stripes on the road are more guidelines than lane demarcations, right?), we arrived safely at our home. To try to prevent others from having this same experience, I decided to call the cab company and let them know what happened. It was at that point that I realized the cab did not have a company phone number or a cab number on the side. Nice! Apparently, grandpa took his son's taxi out for a joy ride to drum up some extra coin for some herbal tea. But I digress…I want to be sure to point out this is by far the exception. For the most part, we have had very pleasant experiences and the cabbies are great.

Interestingly, the same logic in favor of prostitution can be used for other topics as well, such as drugs. So, where do you draw the line? Singapore actually has a very effective way of handling drug use/dealers as well. If you do or sell drugs, you die. It's very simple and quite effective. Singapore is widely acknowledged as the safest city in the world and I'm guessing their policy on drugs has a lot to do with that. By the way, on a separate topic, Singapore is opening up its first gambling casino in 2009. I love this country.

What I don't like:

I have no doubt bored you to tears and if you made it this far, I thank you (both of you). Shannon will return to writing the updates in the future.

Love,
GB

(no pictures this week... my apologies)