Singapore: A nation of slow walkers

I love Singapore. The country has a lot of good things going for it, and I have no regrets of coming here to study for 4 months and learn about the Singaporean culture. I could move here to live and work, for sure.

But in this post I’ll address what I personally find is a less than pleasant aspect of Singaporean behavior: people here walk EXCRUCIATINGLY slow.

For a fast walker like myself, it can be very frustrating to move around in public places like malls. You never get anywhere, because the paths are blocked by slow walkers, dragging their feet while completely lost in their phones with no situational awareness what so ever. It literally feels like being surrounded by zombies.

That’s another thing I think is or will become a problem for the country: the severe phone addiction.

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I’ve never understood people who walk slow. Just think about it, it makes no sense at all to walk slow. You are making a choice to waste your most valuable resource (time) and reach your destination slower.

I walk at about 6 km per hour, and the normal walking speed is perhaps around 4. Singapore probably averages around 2. Consider the consequences stretched out over a lifetime. Let’s do a simple calculation and see.

If a person walks 2 km per day, and lives 28 000 days, it will total a traveled distance of 56 000 km during the persons life. A person with the walking speed of 3 km per hour will spend 777 days of his life walking (a bit over 2 years). If a person instead walks with the speed of 6 km per hour, the time spent walking the same distance will 388 days (slightly more than 1 year). HALF the amount of time wasted compared to the slow walker, for the same distance walked!

Speaking of walking, here is a nice tune by Akshin Alizadeh that I like. It’s called walking down the street 🙂

Another very peculiar walking phenomenon I’ve noticed here has to do with Singaporean women. I can be walking down the street, and a woman might be walking toward me. Then, for no apparent reason, she changes to my side of lane so that I have to change to her previous side in order to avoid a collision.. It’s not some random one time occurrence – this happens more or less daily and often several times per day. I can’t find an explanation to it. Is it a subtle hint that I should initiate a conversation? That’s what I guessed first, but after paying close attention to if she tries to make or maintain eye contact, it clearly isn’t the case. I asked my Singaporean friend Sarah if she know what’s up with this? She said it never happened to her and she didn’t know.

If you know any possible explanation to this, please let me know because I’m very curious ha ha!

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