Circuitous Paths

A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.

This is too great a challenge for me and I surrender 😦

Nah, not really 🙂 Just because the homes in Singapore are like pigeon holes in tall buildings, it would be ridiculous for anyone to knock on the door to ask for directions. What directions? To the next unit, level or block? Nope, nobody in the right frame of mind is gonna knock on anybody’s door for that. If anyone were to ask for directions, they will be asking people along the streets where a particular block is….. ahhh there lies the giving of directions part.

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An old housing block in Singapore

Being organised and systematic, this small island filled with 5.4 million residents are mostly living one unit on top, below or beside the other. The tricky part is finding the block amongst the many blocks in one housing estate. Bear with me as I illustrate further, in one housing estate, you will have building blocks starting from numbers 1 to several hundreds. They would normally be organised in clusters like blocks 1 to 10 with a car park entrance, then blocks 11 to 20 with another car park entrance and so on. The housing estate will be named, say `Ang Mo Kio’ (a chinese dialect name for Tomato and yes, it exist) and it will have many streets, avenues and drives which are also numbered. So your address may sound like this, Block 120, Ang Mo Kio Street 21, #10-1023 (which means 10th level, door number 1023). However, with all these systematic numbering for all the blocks and streets, many times the block numbers do not go in a logical sequence when you look for it.

Someone may ask me along the road where Block 15 is and I would say that it should be either in front, behind or beside Block 14 or 16, so I would point towards these block numbers area and he would head along that way. However, as I walked on further in the opposite direction and then crossed over to another street, I saw right in front of me, Block 15! There you go, I don’t need to be intentional to send people on detours and it was certainly not fun. I felt bad and even worse to think that the poor guy may be swearing his head off about me when he finally finds this block. This really gave a new meaning to the term Blockhead!

When you dissect a housing estate with streets, avenues and drives, it cuts across the block numbering system and because the block may be facing Street 21, the back of it may be along Drive 11, or the blocks could be arranged in a circular fashion, the street may be called a Crescent and Block 10 could be just beside Block 1.  So you may say, the paths that line the housing estates in Singapore are indeed Circuitous.

Circuitous Paths – DP

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15 thoughts on “Circuitous Paths

  1. Heyy, I’m from Singapore too and this post was just one I chance upon while looking through the daily challenge! This is cool, having someone explain to me how this block system thing works instead of the other way around for a change haha

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    • Hahaha… have you tried using Google maps to find such blocks in an estate? Interestingly, it works well with gps too for driving. So leave it to the satellite to help us find our way around our small island 🙂 ironic isn’t it?

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      • Yes I have actually! Google Maps even knows why area better than I do because one time I set out to visit my teacher at her home and I found out she out lived just behind me 😛 Yeah, it seriously is ironic

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  2. I love geography in the abstract–countries, capitals, culture–but I am terrible with practical geography. My GPS saves me often. So, I would pity the person who asked me for directions. Sounds like I would not fare well in Singapore.

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    • Oh, don’t worry, you will fare well with gps as Singapore is one of the most networked society in the world 😉 Also, she is known as a Garden City too 🙂

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    • Familiar? Yes that’s the perfect word. You are familiar when you use a gps instead of finding a logical way to go about. Those who are not, will try to make sense of it… poor thing.

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