Thursday, August 16, 2007


One of the first things I had to adjust to regarding Singapore living was the placement of the bathroom light switches. For whatever reason, bathroom light switches are placed OUTSIDE the bathroom door. For those of you with prankster-ish tendencies, I don't think I need to explain why this creates a Prankster's Paradise.

And, while I'm on the topic of switches, I may as well bring up a few other points of interest. If you look closely at the above picture, you'll notice there are three switches, one of which is glowing red. That's the water-heater switch. There is one outside of each bathroom and one in the kitchen. I haven't figured out yet if there are three individual heaters or one main heater. I've tried to experiment by turning on the one in the kitchen and then trying to get hot water in the back bathroom, and vice versa. So far my "scientific method" approach isn't working. . . every time I try my experiment, the results come out differently! Sometimes I get hot water and sometimes I don't. But, I always get hot water (eventually) if I turn on the switch corresponding to the faucet I am going to use, so at least that much is reliable. But, I am having to learn to think ahead. In the States, if you want scalding hot water, you don't have to think. . . you just turn on the faucet and, VOILA!, instant hot water. Aside from the planning ahead part, I think the idea is a good one since it means we only heat the water we are actually going to use.

One confusing thing about electrical switches here is the fact that up is "off" and down is "on." It's very contra-intuitive to this American mind. I am constantly turning off things I mean to leave on, and turning on things that I want off. Someday I'll adjust.

Last but not least, are the switches that are on every electrical outlet. In my mind, this is a wonderful feature, especially with a curious baby who is still learning not to touch electrical outlets. It saves me from having to buy those annoying plastic outlet covers.


Caleb's Gram said...

Regarding, "One confusing thing about electrical switches here is the fact that up is "off" and down is "on.""

Which side of the equator are you on? Is it possible you are upside down and don't realize it?

LOL- I get punchy this time of night!

Christianne said...

This is an awesome post! I love how practical it is. It would be very confusing to re-learn the up/down on/off feature.

Not being a prankster myself, I would probably feel nervous most of the time I spend in the bathroom, hoping some prankster type doesn't waltz by and decide to play a mean trick. :)

Sharon said...

I grew up living with the switch on the outside of the bathroom. You learn to turn the light on before you go in. A practical joke is always funny though.

kirsten said...

My parents have a bathroom at their home just like that: lightswitch on the outside. And there's two doors going into that bathroom, to boot. Talk about possible pranks!! :o)

It's amazing how ingrained our habits (up/down, etc.) can become without us even realizing it. So, so simple in theory ...

tapzak said...

Hey Rebecca, good write!! Kaz & I had a good laugh reading your posts... oh by the way, her other half is a Singaporean turned American (naturalized since Sep 17, 2001), a very proud American today!

'Aloha oi Iesu ia'oe amemakou Kekahi' (Jesus loves you & so do we).

a Singaporean said...

In Singapore, each water heater switcher controls only one faucet. If you have a water heater switch in the kitchen, it controls only the faucet in the kichen, and so on. Hope this helps.