13 things that prove Singaporeans can wait longer than the requisite 6 minutes for a train

Contrary to what Minster Khaw said, Singaporeans are an extremely patient people.

He Ruiming| March 02, 05:40 PM

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan recently said that Singaporeans would feel the extra six minutes of travel time on the Cross Island Line if it skirted around our nature reserves.

extra 1 minute is a lot of time, let alone 6 minutes": Khaw Boon Wan says having a section of the Cross Island Line skirt the Central Catchment Nature Reserve could add 6 minutes' to commuters' travelling time. http://bit.ly/1VMn8xn

Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on 29 February 2016


His exact words:

"Some people say it's just six minutes, but I'm not sure we can just brush aside the extra six minutes just like that because for MRT commuters, even an extra half a minute is terrible. (Emphasis mine)

"We know this because when a train gets disrupted and there's a one-minute delay, within that minute, they can send out maybe 100 tweets to flame LTA or SMRT. So one minute is a lot of time, let alone six minutes. That's why in the rail industry, they define disruption as anything that causes a delay of more than five minutes and six is more than five."

Well, Minister, we have to respectfully disagree -- except for the fact that six is more than five. That we wholeheartedly agree.

You might not believe it, but Singaporeans are an amazingly patient people. When it comes to waiting, most of the time we just suck it up and get into queues and lines.

For example, just check out our amazing queuing/ waiting skills here:


1. Waiting for Hello Kitty

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.51.00 pm Original image from here

You won't believe the lengths our countrymen will go to for an anatomically-incorrect mouthless cat. Some even fought for it, but thankfully nobody died.  The two most noteworthy incidents happened in 2013 and 2000.

Verdict: More than six minutes.


2. Waiting to pay respects during Lee Kuan Yew's passing

10-Lessons-Every-Runner-Can-Learn-from-Singapore-Founding-Father-Lee-Kuan-Yew-5 Original image from here

The passing away of Singapore's de facto founding father gave birth to massive queues filled with people eager to pay their respects. These stretched over a kilometre long, and waiting times could last as long as eight to nine hours. Without a doubt, this is the most sensible thing that Singaporeans have queued for.

Verdict:  Paying respects to a legend – longer than six minutes.


3. Waiting for Toto/4D

those who have bought or who are buying, all the best for tonight. May the #toto odds be ever in your favour.

Posted by Mothership.sg on 18 February 2016

The ability to wait for more than six minutes is not a sporadic occurrence. TOTO happens on a regular basis. And you know how those queues are – sometimes you spend the entire lunch time standing in line.

Verdict: Attempting to retire without actually working – longer than six minutes.


4. Waiting for train services to resume

smrt-breakdown-2015-raffles Photo by Phap Duong Dieu

During last year's massive 7/7 jams, Singaporeans waited for 3.5 hours for train services on the NSEWL to resume. Sure, we complained a lot, and people probably sent 'hundreds of tweets', but to be fair, 3.5 hours is 210 minutes, which a lot longer than six minutes.

Verdict: Waiting for 210 minutes might be a little too long for us. But six minutes might be alright.


5. Waiting to buy H&M x Balmain

648x365-balmain.jpg.web_.648.365 Original image from here

Fun fact: The queue for H&M x Balmain in Singapore in 2015 started three days early at the retailer's flagship outlet. Longer than the line for H&M x Alexander Wang the previous year... and is also longer than six minutes.

Verdict: Buying things to resell them for profit – more than six minutes.


6.Waiting to get a new iPhone



Last year, Singaporeans braved hazy conditions to get an iPhone 6s. This bunch started queueing at nine the day before so they could get their hands on the iPhone the next day.

Verdict: Getting the latest iPhone – longer than six minutes.


7. Waiting to deposit money

Li Chun and we want your photos! Our friends at Jalan Medha shared this pic of people queuing to deposit their...

Posted by Mothership.sg on 3 February 2016

Have you ever stood behind an annoying person behind a cash deposit machine who seems to have 1000 envelopes filled with cash? Of course, you have. Then you should know this takes longer than six minutes.

Verdict: Hoping the gods will make you richer: longer than six minutes.


8. Waiting to see a doctor at a polyclinic

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.33.55 pm Original image from here

You wake up in the morning. Feel sick. Trudge down to the nearest polyclinic, because private clinics aren't that affordable. Get a queue number. Sit uncomfortably on plastic chairs. Look at your fellow zombies. Use your mobile phone till it runs out of battery. Look at your fellow zombies again.

By the time you've collected your MC and medication at the polyclinic, you would have wondered if you should have just taken half-day off instead.

Verdict: Taking a sick day: longer than six minutes.


9. Queuing/Waiting for a taxi

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.36.08 pm Original image from Singapolitics.sg

Made worse when it's raining. Or when you're pushing someone in a wheelchair. Or when every damn taxi is changing shift.

Verdict: Trying to save the $3 fee – longer than six minutes.


10. BTO

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.54.51 pm

Unless you're rich enough to buy resale, or lucky enough to get a sale of balance flats, waiting for your BTO flat to be completed takes anywhere between three to five years. This does not even include unsuccessful ballots.

Verdict: Moving out to escape from your parents nosiness – also longer than six minutes.


11. Serving National Service

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.41.46 pm Original image from here

Two words: two years. No explanation necessary.

Verdict: Waiting to ORD (and ROD, for that matter) – also longer than six minutes.


12. Frozen yogurt

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.43.49 pm Original image from here

It's not just Froyo, but every time there's a new food fad in town. Bubble tea. Salted egg everything. New hipster cafe. You name it – we'll wait for it.

Verdict: Waiting to take nice #foodporn pictures – also longer than six minutes.


13. Waiting to withdraw CPF money

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.46.51 pm

When they reach 55 years old, CPF members can withdraw their CPF monies.

Assuming the average Singaporean starts working at 22 (or 24 for males), they would have waited 31 years to withdraw their CPF.

That's a whopping 16,830,360 minutes

Which you guessed it... is also longer than six minutes (which is more than five).

Can we spare six minutes if it means protecting our nature reserves by not letting the Cross Island Line cut through MacRitchie? Well, seeing that Singaporeans are masters of waiting, we would like to think so.


Top photo adapted from here

If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates.

If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Telegram to get the latest updates.