Monday 8 October 2007

The Six Degrees Of Perspiration

My morning MRT is a microcosm of Singaporean society.

At 7 am it is usually standing room only and so, if one adopts the six degrees of separation principle it is a fairly safe bet that the dozen people in your immediate proximity are related by birth or association.

However there is another observation I have made - certain stereotypes amongst the passengers.

There is the "Overt Preener". The OV is often (but not uniquely) of Indian ethnicity and primps his hair and adjusts his clothing in the reflection of the trains glass door as he prepares to alight.

Another group is the "Slumbering Locals". As observed in an earlier blog entry, they have the ability to fall into seemingly hypnotic trances aboard any form of public transport

Then there are the Expats. They stand out both literally and figuratively. A glance down the train's interior may them easy to spot as their stature or girth gives them away at a glance. The EP's can be further divided into subgroups based around what I shall coin as the six degrees of perspiration.

In ascending order we have the following:

Click Here to Buy The Tee Shirt
The "EF"s - Florid expats of the beetroot pink variety and usually newly arrived.

The "EE"s - The Exertion averse group. Having weathered the initial two weeks of settling in they still look and feel like wet dish rags. This is also the group that purchases a selection of reflective umbrellas of ever-widening diameter.

The "ED"s - The Determined variety of expat has been in Singapore for more than a month and is determined to keep a stiff upper lip even though they really 'can't take the weather'.

The "EC"s - Have adopted the Singaporean phrase "can" and use it at every opportunity. An example being "Can catch a taxi if I feel I am going to pass out waiting for the overdue bus"

The "EB"s are Bold and Brassy. They have survived the first year and are writing 'home' at every opportunity extolling the virtues of "no more winters". Deep down though they know that the June to September dry season is going to see them quickly revert to "EE" status.

And finally at the top of the Expat tree are the "EA"s. This elite group are the Actives. They jog in the noon day sun, much to the amusement of the locals who remain quite sensibly in the shade. They seem immune to sunstroke and heat exhaustion and scour the local newspapers for weekly Ironman events. You will also find them monopolising the condo gymnasium facilities at odd hours of the day or night.

As for me, I am probably rated an "EC" and rising.

Click Here to Get the Mug!


Anonymous said...

So true :) I think I fluctuate between EE and EB... walking and jogging in the sun is fine, but once past my critical temperature I flee to the comfort of airconditioning!

Do you mind if we add a link to your blog from our directory of expat bloggers in Singapore? Always fun to see what others are up to...

If you'd like a look, it's at the Expat Bloggers page at

Roger Smith said...

You are very welcome to add a link from your blog to Singaporesojourn

Aidan said...

i'm a singaporean and i happen to think what yu said abt locals hvg a knack for zoning out the moment they step into the crowded trains is quite true. heh ;)