Saturday, 2 December 2006

A Word On The 111

No not an emergency number in this case. It is the number of the bus that I take back and forth every morning.

It merits a mention as, even at 7:30 in the morning, it is a snapshot of Singaporean life.

There is one driver who goes out of his way to meet and greet every passenger with a friendly "Good Morning!". He gets a similar response from me but catches many of his passengers off guard and the majority do not react, or worse still, turn their heads to avoid any engagement. At that hour of the morning my fellow passengers look in dire need of sleep and many of them do just that enroute.

There is usually a 'brace' of domestic servants and ground staff aboard and they drop off at the embassies and house along the way. There is one man whom I have fondly christened "Mr Chains".

Mr Chains is a wafer thin Singaporean of Chinese ethnicity who has about his person every security device known to man, either attached to his belt or body by a small silver chain or locked away securely.

Even his Ezylink stored cash card (which all of us use on public transport) emerges from a small leather pouch a fixed to his belt, is swiped and placed with great care back into its receptacle.

On the early bus there is usually a gaggle of school girls - all immaculately turned out in spotless uniforms and bubbling with enthusiam.

We pass on the pavement the odd 'mad expat' working up a morning sweat as they jog alongside. More than likely we will also see a varied collection of pampered pooches being walked by Filipino maids. I have yet to see one canine with its owner at that hour but I suspect they are getting family ready for the day.

The 111 is a double-decker bus but as my ride is usually a mere twelve minutes, I have yet to climb the stairs to enjoy the view from the top deck.

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