Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stroller Friendly

Singapore isn't exactly a stroller friendly city. Elevators are few and far between (and usually packed to the gills with people). Escalators are everywhere, which is fine since I can maneuver the stroller up the escalator without too much trouble, but often there are anywhere from 5-10 stairs leading up to the escalator platform (why wouldn't they just build a slightly longer escalator??) so that puts me back at square one. Instead of crosswalks, most streets have pedestrian overpasses (a safer, albeit more difficult way to cross the street). And, since we are dependent upon public transit, I am obligated to mention the difficulty of getting a stroller (especially one sporting dangling grocery bags from its handles) on and off the bus (which boasts a few stairs at the entrance and exit) in a timely, much less graceful, manner.

So, although the engineers who are responsible for the infrastructure and transportation here in Singapore do not seem to have much compassion on mothers with prams, the citizens of Singapore make up for it. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have been struggling to get the stroller on the bus only to have a hand swoop in and lift the front for me. Or, the bus driver kindly tell me, "Don't worry. Take your time." Or, two young teens offer to carry the stroller to the top of an overpass for me.

I've waited until now to post this post because I've wanted to be sure that these acts of kindness were actually a cultural phenomenon and not just flukes. But, it has happened enough times now that I feel confident in saying that even though Singapore itself is not stroller friendly, Singaporeans are!

6 comments:

Caleb's Gram said...

That is a lovely anecdote, and makes me feel so much better about you and my grandson tooling about the city!

gee gee said...

nice to hear about some places still have thoughful people around...

Kenj said...

Oh! This post took me back to our days in San Francisco! I would tote Hayden around on the buses and I remember exactly what you're saying.

Except, SF isn't kid friendly. Had Hayden been a dog, we could have traveled anywhere we liked. Being a human baby, he was looked on with more disdain than tender-heartedness.

I am *very* glad for you that the Singaporeans are much more friendly and helpful!

Christianne said...

That's really great, Bec! I love this story. Makes me smile to think of the kindness of strangers. And in Singapore, it sounds like it's a reality more often than not (as opposed to its being quite rare here in the States).

I was telling Kirk the other night that you have to walk something like two miles total for your weekly grocery store trek, with a stroller in tow both ways, on and off a bus at least twice, and with bags of heavy groceries on top when you make your way back. He could not believe it. But I told him it's really, really true. :)

Gina Marie said...

I wish that had been true in China! China is also not stroller friendly, but instead of helping me, watching me struggle with my double stroller became a spectator sport for the locals. It was a joy to come here for that aspect!

Ying Yuen said...

You have been luckier than some, to have Friendly Singaporeans helping. My encounter with "Singaporeans", I am not sure the people were Singaporeans or "Singaporeans", were quite a few unfriendly and ungracious ones even when I am toddling around town with my boys, 5 and 8. As for stroller friendly, can you imagine having a 3 year old and a 6 month old in a twin stroller walking around Singapore? That was the greatest challenge for me a few years ago. And, back then, I even fewer understanding bystanders. However, having said that, I must give credits to older Singaporeans. The people who have had children or/and grandchildren, are the ones who are the most understanding and helpful.