Quite a few people were late getting into the office today. There was a jam apparently. A massive jam in fact. It was on the ECP.
The ECP is the East Coast Parkway. It is one of the main highways in Singapore. It runs from the City to the East Coast. Or from the East Coast to the City - depending which direction you are coming from. It goes all the way to Changi which is where Singapore’s famous airport is.
Changi is also where the Japanese constructed a prison camp during the Second World War. The Japanese army occupied Singapore during the war and tens of thousands of allied soldiers from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the US were held prisoner there. Thousands died there. Conditions in the prison camp were reported to be horrific.
They were atrocious.
They were unthinkable.
There are electronic notice boards mounted on most of the major highways in Singapore. Messages flash up on these signs informing motorists of road conditions. It is not uncommon to see warnings of a "Jam" - or even worse a "Massive Jam" on these signs. They literally read "WARNING - MASSIVE JAM AHEAD".
I am not really sure of the difference between a "Jam" and a "Massive Jam'. I have been caught in both before. Traffic virtually stops and at best it crawls. It can take an hour to move a kilometer. There is no real need to have these "Jam" warnings flashing for when you are in a "Jam" you know it.
You are stuck.
The vast majority of these "Jams" are caused by traffic accidents. They occur frequently here because the Singaporeans drive like they walk. They unknowingly drift. They meander. Then they crash into each other. There appears to be little spatial awareness. When I first moved to the island I lived on the East Coast and I had a car. I drove every day to my office.
I have been in many a "Jam".
The Singaporean is generally a discourteous driver which is surprising really as they are normally very courteous and polite people. It is an anomaly. Attempting to change lanes is difficult as there is a reluctance by the Singaporean drivers to let other vehicles in. Putting one's indicator on seems only to offer a challenge to other drivers. They will speed up to prevent other cars getting in front of them.
I don't know why.
The indicator is not often used. Cars swerve suddenly to change lanes.
Resulting in "Jams".
Sometimes massive ones.