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Those who live in Bishan don’t know how to queue…

bishan bus interchange
Image Source: Complaint Singapore

I used to live in Bishan. So therefore, I’m uncultured.

At least that’s the assessment of a disgruntled commuter who posted on Facebook group Complaint Singapore about how most Bishanites queue at the Bishan bus interchange.

They don’t wait in line, he points out, and rush to board the bus when it arrives.

His post sparked a flurry of comments, many of whom agreed with him.

Having lived in Bishan for most of my life, I can confidently say that this is exactly what happens… with one caveat – the crowd (in my experience) lets the ones in line board first. I mean, fair’s fair right? And most of the people in the crowd tend to get off after a couple of stops anyway.

You see, most residents can take more than one bus home – for example, Services 54 and 410G ply Bishan Street 13; and Services 52 and 410W go through Bishan Street 22 before trundling off on their respective routes.

Not just in Bishan bus interchange –this is a common sight in some other bus interchanges too.

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I can understand, though, how a non-resident would be taken aback by the apparent chaos – after all, Singaporeans love to queue right? But there is some method to the madness, and as long as everyone is patient about it, it tends to work out in the end – even during peak hours.

Let’s hold off on the name-calling please, though. It’s not very helpful.

Kindness dispensing vending machine


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A post shared by TYVMdrinks (@tyvmdrinks)

Some of us show appreciation for those delivering our online shopping packages and food orders with a snack or a cold drink – but only if we see them. If the deliveries arrive when we are out, there’s no chance for a kind exchange.

One Siglap family solved that particular problem by installing a vending machine that dispenses free drinks to deliverymen in their area.

The Chiam family – dad Eric, mum Lisa and 15-year-old triplets Sophia, Andre and Ethan – had always wanted to find a way of handing out drinks to deliverymen but were stumped by the logistics of having an unattended fridge exposed to the outdoors.

Then Eric came up with the brilliant idea of getting a second-hand vending machine. The whole family chipped in, with Andre organising things on Google Docs, Ethan creating eye-catching posters for TYVM (short for Thank You Very Much) Drinks and Sophia handling the vending machine’s Instagram account. Yes, it has its own social media.


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A post shared by TYVMdrinks (@tyvmdrinks)

It’s certainly a very inventive way to be kind. It did cost the Chiams some money – $3,000 for the set-up, not to mention keeping it stocked with drinks – but it not only helped to spread kindness to service personnel, it also gave the family a chance to bond over a meaningful project.

I like the quote they gave MSN: “I think kindness is important, especially if you have been blessed. Even in small ways, where you say ‘hi’ to the cleaner or say thanks to the refuse management people, small things like that matter to us.”

Now that’s kindness at a press of a button.

Roses of Peace: Marking 10 years of youth interfaith action

A couple of weeks ago, I read with concern that two teenagers had been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for terrorism activities.

The thing that struck me the most wasn’t the fact that one was considering conducting attacks in Singapore after being influenced by ISIS propaganda, or that both boys were young, but that one of them was radicalised via a popular online game – Roblox.

It reinforces my belief that we parents need to be involved, or at least aware of, what our children do online, be it consuming video content or playing games.

Our youths are spending more time online and without guidance, there is a risk of them being led astray.

President Halimah Yacob with the 80 Harmony Champions.
President Halimah Yacob with the 80 Harmony Champions. Image source: Roses of Peace

President Halimah Yacob spoke on this at interfaith group Roses of Peace’s 10th anniversary celebration at the Istana in February.

“Young people, lacking in life experiences, are curious and impressionable and are easily seized by their perceptions of injustices or unfairness in other parts of the world,” she said.

“These feelings are easily exploited by groups bent on recruiting new followers to support their misguided causes.”

Youth-led groups play an important role in keeping our children grounded while allowing them to explore and push their boundaries.

Roses of Peace, in particular, with its focus on interfaith harmony, creates a safe space for young Singaporeans to find out more about different social and religious groups in Singapore.

The group’s founder Mohamed Irshad Abbas told the Pride that when Roses of Peace started in 2012, he never thought 10 years later, the group would still be going strong.

And its partnership with Temasek Foundation on the Harmony Champions Programme will develop youth leaders from local institutes of higher learning to be champions of social cohesion on campus.

Said Mohd Irshad: “Our mission and vision is still as relevant as ever to unite people against the forces that threaten to divide us.”

Cats in the news again!

It’s a mixed bag of cat-related stories in the news recently.

On one hand, we have the wholesome story of Macpherson resident David Loh diligently feeding his neighbourhood cats, even in wet weather. On the other, we were horrified by the news of at least 13 malnourished cats being rescued from a flat in Sembawang.

It is fitting, therefore that MP for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng asked for a review of penalties in animal abuse and cruelty cases in Parliament recently. Pointing out that there seems to be an increase in feedback and reported cases, he called for more measures including increasing punishments and the length of time offenders can be disqualified from keeping pets.

There’s nothing more cruel than abusing a living being entrusted in your care. And I’m glad that Mr Ng brought up this issue.

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Of course, no speech from Mr Ng is complete with his tradition of bringing up the issue of allowing cats in HDB flats! This time he point out that he is glad that Singapore seems to be moving forward on the issue with the recent public consultation exercise.

Hopefully the next time we read of cats in the news would be good news for animal lovers in Singapore!

Dance dance next generation

@user2376408290256♬ original sound  – user2376408290256

This week’s wholesome video comes from a hawker centre where a TikTok user posted a clip of a bunch of elderly uncles singing and dancing to oldies.

They were in such high spirits (or perhaps high on spirits, judging from the number of empty beer bottles on the tables) that you can’t help but smile at how their bromance seems to bypass social barriers, regardless of age, race or levels of inebriation.

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