Random: 171 by 170 in Disguise

It was a long stop and everyone inside the fully-packed bus was flooding off. As I looked around, I was the only one left to sit in the bus. It was not long until the driver turned back to find me remain still and lost. I walked towards him (looking annoyed) to ask and realized, instead of at Yishun bus interchange, the bus I was on ended at the border checkpoint between Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Time check: 12:30 am.

Still at that very moment, while walking up the escalator to find some check-point officer to help explain to me what was going on, I was still in great shock, in disbelief – why the hell the bus whose number I saw with my two sober eyes was clearly 171, when I boarded it in front of Botanic Gardens Station, suddenly became 170. Was that law student ghost (whom my friends and I talked about earlier to have committed suicide from study pressure and stress there) doing something to my eyesight? If not him, what else? At 12:30 at an unfamiliar place and still in shock, the thought of it was only getting more and more creepy.

I met an officer there and told him I was lost. To my surprise, the officer seemed indifferent; he must have encountered a stupid situation quite often. He simply directed me to talk to another person. Another took my working pass, took down some details and advised me to wait for another officer to come escort me out. Tossed from one to another, instead of panicking, I found the whole thing rather funny – how I ended up there in the first place.

“So, what did you do? What happened?” all of them asked (interrogated) me with similar questions, most likely thinking of me just as another guy who got lost under alcohol influence. I, in response, “I don’t know what happened. The 171 that I got on suddenly became 170 when I got off. Does this happen often?” No one seemed to listen or care about about my answers or questions or my comments. “Alright! Don’t fill my ears with all your non-sense! You’re just drunk and stupid to get on the wrong bus,” they must have thought; I could tell from their reaction and behaviour. “Alright! Whatever! The whole thing is really stupid anyway,” I thought to myself, still in disbelief.

So I got out of the border check point on the Singapore side; I had to find ways home. But how? A guy, Malay-looking, was waiting to board a bus that would take us all out to Woodland a bus stop, where we could catch a late night bus or a taxi to where we wanted to go. There was also another innocent-looking girl, who was in a similar situation, roaming around late at night trying to find her way out to her place in Singapore. The guy suggested that we three shared a cab; then it would cost less. The first thing in my mind, “Is this some sort of a scam or something? Are these three people: the bus driver, the girl and this Malay-looking guy just pretending to be strangers to each other?” The whole thing seemed so familiar.

Skeptical, I was trying to find my way out, so I suggested, “Let’s not get a cab yet; let’s find out ways to a bus stop and see if we can find our ways somewhere closer to our places so it’d cost less to cab.” Everyone agreed so we took one of the last buses to Admiralty MRT Station. On the bus ride, I was thinking about Singapore and about the possibility of being scammed in Singapore. “Hmm, not very likely.” I wasn’t very convinced still, so I thought the whole situation through. “Scam isn’t very likely, putting all things together.” After all, what could they possibly get from a shaggy-dressed person like? lol. Raping me? haha.

So I took my chance and agreed. I used my skill with Singapore Map and managed to convince the other girls that it would be too expensive to cab by herself, so we all shared one cab.

In fact, it was because of the Malay-looking guy that it all happened, who suggested the idea of chatting, who was so friendly like we were no strangers. We all shared the same cab and arrived home safe and sound. We chatted a bit and he seemed like a genuinely nice person, definitely someone I didn’t expect to find in Singapore. Although he lives in Ang  Mo Kio and would be the second person to arrive home, he offered to be last one, to drop the girl at Haugang first, while we two could just chip in with the small change we had left and he would cover the rest. “Money, I can earn later,” he said. He was interested in us, asking us about this and that during our short taxi ride and he asked to share contacts. I happily shared mine, feeling blessed about the whole thing.

Definitely a funny but pleasant experience in the end!

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