By Regina Hong, Yale-NUS College ’17 – See bio
Getting lost in Singapore can really put a new perspective on your life. Google directions had claimed that my destination would only take 3 minutes by foot to reach. Instead, I wound up traipsing across Middle Road, North Bridge Road and Victoria Street for a grand total of 1.5 hours before realising that the Japanese Cultural Society was literally just across the street from the bus stop at St Joseph’s Church (you are welcome if you were looking for directions to the same place).
It did make for a pretty interesting trip across Singapore. I first cut through St Joseph’s Church and ended up on a side road with interesting organizations I never knew existed. That included a glimpse of male instructors dressed up in kendogi and hakama who looked like they were time travelers from Japan. I was briefly contemplating the idea of asking them for directions but I ended up rejecting the whole idea due to my stubborn insistence that I would be able to locate the Japanese Cultural Society by virtue of having consulted the ever trusty Google Maps.
So I walked. And walked. And continued walking until I had almost reached the end of the street, following which I finally realised that I was on the wrong track (literally) and did a turn-about to St Joseph’s Church. I then headed off in another direction and came across another unrelated building. This was followed up by another series of wrong routes, one of which brought me up to Bras Basah Station, where I consulted the locality map and discovered that Midland House was, indeed, not that far off from St Joseph’s Church. So I walked back again. And wound up in the vicinity of Bugis Plus before concluding that I had really ought to dial the best GPS I knew – my dad.
As it turned out, my father had no clue how Midland House could be found on foot or how the orientation of the surrounding buildings would be (an unfortunate affliction that comes with traveling mostly by car). By then, I had already been traipsing for close to an hour in the vicinity. After my father tried his best to direct me to Midland House, I decided to check in at a TCC outlet I was walking by to see if they could point extremely wretched I to the place.
To my everlasting gratitude, the TCC waiter helpfully pointed out that Midland House was just diagonally across the street from the building I had just passed. If you happened to be in the area last Wednesday and saw a long whip of hair pass you by, it wasn’t anything supernatural. It was just me running in an extremely unglamorous manner toward where I had been pointed to.
As it was, my dubious sense of geography ensured that I nearly made a wasted trip to the area as I still could not locate 112 Midland House. I believe the guardian angel of geography decided to take pity on my person and proceeded to lift the veil over my rather short-sighted eyes so that I realised I was standing in front of a building with the number 116. After conversing with the friendly security guard in a slightly delirious manner, I was told that 112 was (evidently) just 2 buildings down. It was innocently boxed in between two buildings in a humble and nondescript manner.
The receptionist stared at my disheveled self in a highly disapproving manner before handing over what I had come for. I then started to locate a bus stop where any bus service number bringing me home would stop by. A lady hesitantly stared at me for a moment and just as I was about to mumble a silent apology for my strange appearance, she asked, “Could you tell me where St Joseph’s Church is?”
Turns out, there really might be a silver lining in every cloud. Or in this case, a GPS in every person who has ever been lost.