What It’s Like Living in Singapore

Riddle me this: At every ATM you can make a withdrawal but not at every ATM can you make a deposit. And not every deposit can be made with commemorative notes and how to tell the difference between a regular note and a commemorative note has yet to be discovered. What am I? (Answer: Extremely frustrated).

Now, this is not to say that I don’t absolutely love living in Singapore. It’s just that sometimes, trying to figure out how to accomplish something, can be very frustrating. Take for example trying to get our oldest vaccinated with the Covid vaccine. We are not anti-vaxxers in the slightest. However, we are also not gluttons for punishment and considering that whenever a needle comes anywhere close to our now 12-year-old she musters the strength of 10,000 men we weren’t too keen on getting her vaccinated. However, in Singapore, children 12 and up must be vaccinated. At least, that was the case a month ago. Since then, Singapore has completely dropped all of its Covid related mandates and, honestly, I don’t even know why we bothered in the end.

Needless to say, before all Covid mandates had been dropped, I scheduled for the oldest to get her vaccine and, because I feel as if I’ve paid my dues a million times over bringing children to get shots, I volun-told Marcus to take her. They went and were back in record time because she apparently took it like a champ. Her second dose was then scheduled for 4 March, five days after her 12th birthday which, for the purposes of this story, is very important.

As luck would have it, Marcus was on travel 4 March, so it was up to me to take her for her second vaccine. We got up early and made our way, in the rain, to the Heartlands (meaning outside city central). Upon our arrival I was told she no longer qualified for the 12 and under vaccine because she had turned 12 FIVE DAYS AGO. Despite this, and the fact that she weighs as much as a third-grade girl, they refused to give her the second child’s dose and instead, we needed to find another clinic that gave the adult vaccine (because unfortunately, they only carried the children’s vaccine).

Needless to say, I was frustrated by the whole thing and called Marcus to vent. Have you ever witnessed an angry white woman whisper-cursing into her phone amongst a crowd of Singaporeans? Someone has.

The ensuing days were spent in conversation with our local healthcare provider about the best course of action. I was mainly concerned about how small she is and what side effects an adult dose of the vaccine could cause. But we also knew there was the potential for her not being able to travel if she weren’t fully vaccinated, so we had to forge on. Ultimately, I took her to a government run vaccination center mainly because the private clinics were charging $148 SGD for what was once a free vaccine. I guess after nearly 17 years of being together, Marcus’s cheapness is rubbing off on me. Sort of. I still like my Lululemon.

So, for the second time, I found myself bringing a very nervous 12-year-old for a shot. When we arrived, we were asked an extremely vital question that, if it had been asked back in January, would have solved this entire thing. Had she had Covid before? The answer to that was, “yes.” Because of that fact, and the fact that she had one dose of the children’s vaccine, she was now considered to be fully vaccinated in the eyes of Singapore.

I couldn’t believe it. Once again, a trip to the Heartlands resulted in being turned away. Only this time, I wasn’t mad about it, and the relief the oldest felt was palpable as even the uncle checking us in noticed and commented on her changed demeanor.

What is the moral to this story? Honestly, I’m not even sure anymore. Singapore is made up of many rules and regulations and different departments to enact those rules and regulations. However, that doesn’t mean that the various departments work together or that they know how each other operates. So, if you pose a question outside of their wheelhouse, you probably won’t get far. And that’s fine. It’s just something to learn and grow with while living here; I’ll take these little frustrations any day.

Published by Lauren Tepaske

I am a full-time mom and wife with a penchant for writing a humorous point-of-view of daily life.

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