Terror on the Singapore Subway
Leah Walker January 11, 2012

I actually didn’t over pack for my month in Singapore, although I’d worn most things once. I was trying to find something different to wear and dug a bit deeper into the bottom of my suitcase. How could I have forgotten Raider Red? I pulled him out, along with my black shorts, and got dressed. I was good to go and very hungry.

I didn’t really have a plan for the day, but thought I would try a different hawker stand in Singapore’s central business district. After that, I figured I would just wander and see what I could find from there.

Singapore Skyline

I hailed a cab and went to the Harborfront MRT station. Out of the cab and down the stairs to the subway I went, wondering where I would find myself. I had my iPod blaring Britney.

“All eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a circus. When I crack that whip, everybody gonna trip just like a circus.”

I don’t want to hear a word. I love Britney.

I waited in my own little Britney-world for the next train to take me to meet my lunch.“What will I have today? Try the duck? Go for some soup? Have some dim sum?”

My thoughts of food and now, the Pussycat Dolls, kept me from really noticing the looks I was getting. I thought my music might be too loud, so I turned it down.The train came, and I grabbed a seat. I had about five stops before I was to get off, so I made myself comfortable.

“When I grow-up, I wanna be famous…”

I was getting more looks as people were getting on the train. I checked my zipper. I looked at myself in a mirror. I even smelled myself. What the hell are all these people looking at? I was feeling self-conscious, all these unwanted looks in my direction. I caught men and women, young and old, all looking at me with a bit of horror.

Singapore Subway

I attempted to follow their eyes. What were they were so enamored with about me? I pulled my sunglasses down from my hair and onto my face. This was going to have to be a covert mission. AH HA! Caught one man eyeballing my chest! What a pervert. A woman in a hijab thought she could outsmart me just because her head was covered. I could see her eyes, and they were also looking at my chest. WHAT?

My stop finally came, and I watched the entire train breathe a sigh of relief when I stepped off. With Amy Winehouse blaring in my ears, I found a toilet and checked myself in a mirror.

“They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.”

Nothing. I looked the same as I always had. I admired my shirt, and then it occurred to me. On my chest was Raider Red with two smoking guns, one placed strategically on each boob. Despite the odd placement of the guns, I don’t think that was why everyone looked so startled. It was the fact that I had guns on my shirt period.

Raider Red

Apparently, Raider Red is not a world-wide icon the way that Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse are. For all these people knew, I was some sort of terrorist with a bomb in my backpack. It didn’t help that on the subway, there was a looped video urging people to watch out for suspicious behavior, and then showed the subway bombs of Mumbai and London. Good grief!

After I figured out what exactly the problem was, I couldn’t help but use it to my advantage. Since I was in the central business district, it was quite crowded, especially at the hawker stand. Even though I was still jamming to my iPod, I had a man profusely apologize for stepping in front of me. I also had a lady allow me to cut in front of her to get my chicken and rice.

Singapore Hawker Stand

“Cause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it…”

Walking the busy sidewalks, everyone moved to the side when we met. Nice. Apparently, not only did my backpack give me away as a tourist, my shirt coined me as a terrorist. Who would have thought?

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Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.

18 Comments

    1. I know, Jody. I sometimes forget not everyone has the Second Amendment. Even those that do aren’t quite as embracing of it as Texans. Lesson learned.

  1. Funny Leah! I remember when you first posted that picture of you wearing your infamous T-shirt, and my first thought back then was that might not have been such a great choice of attire while traveling overseas! But you looked “smokin hot'”! I thought you were one brave “woman”….that’s Peggy Lee’s I’m a WOMAN….”I can make a dress out of a feed bag and I can make a man out of you” type of woman……

  2. That is hilarious! I never thought of using a piece of clothing as a fast-pass through crowded streets.

    My daughter is doing her high school program through Texas Tech’s distance program. Go team!

    1. Obviously I didn’t even think twice about wearing guns on my shirt being a Texan and all. It was certainly a case of stupid traveler. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t get smacked with a cane in Singapore. I suppose I was lucky to get off with a few stares.

      Good on your daughter! Wreck ’em Tech!

  3. Remember those dancers from the Night Safari that got busted with the drugs? I bet they got more than a cane; I bet they were put to death. I sure do remember those statues! That was Salvador Dali giving the guns up. Who knew Dali was a Red Raider fan?

  4. Oh yea, I forgot about them. Guaranteed they got the cane. I think I still have that pic on my harddrive with Dali throwing up the guns.

    1. Thanks, Jean. This one was originally published on my very first blog. I got quite a giggle out of all those people’s looks after I figured out what was going on.

  5. Lol Singaporeans can get a little too paranoid… In a funny way… It’s a way of life here. Been here for six months now and have come across some weird moments!

    1. Isn’t that the truth? I loved my time in Singapore and hope to go back soon. My husband has work there on occasion, but I’ve not been able to join him since 2009. I want to return, if only for the food!

  6. This is exactly why i can’t wear the “Defend South Austin” t-shirt [accented with a revolver] that my brother sent me as a gift. Aside from the fact that civilians aren’t reeeeally supposed to carry guns here in Brazil, it just wouldn’t go over too well in this region, being American and all. I feel that if i can’t wear it around the people who do know me (without it raising eyebrows & some serious questions) then i’d probably be stopped and/or reported by those who don’t… I’ll have to save it for a trip back home. 😀

    1. Oh, I’ve not seen those shirts in Austin, although I know what they are implying. When I was in Brazil in February, there was a guy with a 9mm tucked into his waistband at the Samba Parade sitting right in front of me. I knew guns were illegal for civilians, so it freaked me out a little. That Singapore deal was pretty funny after I figured it out, but I wouldn’t be laughing if I’d been hit with the cane. 🙂

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