The Singapore Refugee aka the Chan Bros Syndrome...


petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
1,658
4
38
#1
Singaporeans love traveling, but they try to squeeze everything into a short period of time.... hence the title:

The Singapore Refugee runs from attraction to attraction, spending less than 10 mins at the Eiffel Tower, another 10 mins at the Berlin Wall, and he is off again!

Stopping longer at the toilet breaks than in the valley within Yosemite, all he wants is to take that standard obligatory shot in the right spot, where countless other tourist await their turn.

Taking the same pose at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then spending the rest of the time inside the souvenir shop, or mouthing down burgers at Macs, instead of trying local food. Worse yet, the Singapore Refugee looks for rice in the middle of Europe, and brings a whole stash of Maggi Noodles, so that he can avoid trying local food.

The same refugee prides himself on stashing away half the buns from breakfast, so he can save on lunch, or swipes the entire collection of toiletries, even the sanitary pads, which HE will never use in his entire life and since He has no girlfriend will be quite unlikely to have a female to share them with either....

Waiting in line for the half price buns at closing time, instead of enjoying the sunset, rushing in at closing time at museums when it is free, instead of wandering in and busking in the history for the whole day, every penny he spend is compare to local prices, and he winces, baulks and whines about everything under the sun whilst on holiday.

Since time is a premium, he only goes to the designated touristy sites, never sitting down to listen to the cacophony of the city around him, absorbing the noises, smells, and even stopping to chat with the locals. There is little interaction with the people, the surroundings and stepping off the well trod path is just a wild dream...

Are you the Singapore Refugee?
 

Dec 5, 2008
340
0
0
Woodlands
#2
was a singapore refugee not by choice but was forced to do so cos i joined a group organise tour to europe...joined SA tours 15 days to paris-swiss-italy...
70% of the time is shopping shopping shopping. Everyshop take us to buy LV, Gucci, Prada, etc. like we print money like that. Already part of the tour itinerary (hidden one)...Everyday early morning bring luggage on bus. Then travel 5-6 hours, then go shopping, then eat at local chinese restaurant.... and repeat until the tour ends...
It's not that i want to do this kind of itinerary but all of the other people in the tour want to go shopping like nobody's business....


There's one incident on this tour, the Last day of the tour was to see St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Queue up half hour just to go in, then got 'guided' tour for like 10 minutes in the basilica, afterthat tour guide told us got only 15 minutes after that to see the basilica...i'm like WTF? so rush everywhere in 15 minute...then the guide took us to an area near the spanish steps and say - You all go shopping for 2 hours.... again I'm like what?? i pay so much to see the basilica in 15 minutes and have to go shopping for 2 hours?

After that i swore i will never go on an organised group tour again...
 

devilry

New Member
Feb 16, 2006
986
3
0
#3
since i am 18yrs+, i have never went on any organised tours... the itineraries that are organised by me are way much better than those organised by the tour agencies, and i go to places that tour places wont go.

simple example: hongkong - ppl will go to the victoria peak, the tsim sha tsui nightly lights show, lantou island, eat at all the restaurants, disneyland, go LV gucci for shopping etc. To me, all that i mentioned earlier is not hong kong, its artifical man made creation! instead i will go to the neighbourhood places by public transport, check out how the locals interact with each other, eat at all the small little eateries like the locals, go to the nature reserve (i bet u didnt even know hong kong have one of the greatest wetland reserves in the world), i will even take a train to any station, and get out to find out what is interesting in that place.

its precisely because of all this which is why although i have been to hong kong for 6 times, i still find that i know very little abt that place.. the naive ppl are those who think that a 3d2n trip to hongkong visiting the disney land, ocean world, victoria peak, eating at yeung kee, shopping for LV bags = have experienced hong kong already.

To me, they dun even know wats hongkong.
 

Jul 16, 2010
725
0
0
#4
Im travelling to Europe in may for 15 days and i really hope to avoid having the syndrome throughout this trip. I also think that it will be useless to stay at the place for such a short time you wont even remember the feeling of being there after you have left the place. you can only claim that you have went there before but the feeling of being there and you have gone there before is just different.
 

CamInit

New Member
Nov 3, 2009
756
0
0
#5
It's the same for tourists to Singapore (or most other places). Sentosa, Zoo, Mt Faber, Merlion, etc. Basically organized tours have to cater to the common denominator so if you are not the "average" tourist, well, you won't enjoy as much. The only time I see them useful is if you are totally unfamiliar and the place is really ulu, then take a package tour to get a first feel. Return subsequently for free n' easy and tour at your own leisure and taste. Nowadays, with all the information on the Web, that's hardly needed as well. Now I go with a bunch of friends then maybe split up (they do their purchasing, I do my photographing, etc). Meet up again for meals and common activities. Minimal waiting and everyone is happy.
 

Oct 5, 2004
494
2
18
www.d3dphotography.com
#6
The more things that you buy, the better the commissions of the guide or travel agency. Thats why there are so many shopping slots. My first trip to get a feel of Europe was on a Contiki Tour, it's slightly better, more free time, eat more local food and lesser shopping stops. Subsequent trips, I have never been on any organised tours. It's so much fun to plan your own itenary, take the local transportation, go to the markets or just sit around and watch the world go by.

Information is very accessible now, personally, I do not think there is a need to join all these organised tours. Maybe if you are going to dangerous places or more out of the way places then you may need to consider guides or local tours. No Chan Bros or SA.
 

ed9119

Moderator
Staff member
Mar 11, 2002
11,014
38
48
56
Singapore
www.walkeast.com
#7
bro' Peter, as hilarious as your initial post is ...... and they do make easy targets ....... the types that you have profiled also need to be respected as everyone has their own reasons why they do things in a certain way ..... not everyone is cut out to be an earthwalker due to time, budget , age , dependants young/old that need looking after

Or maybe there ARE people who essentially make a hobby of Passport Chop Collecting and could not give half a hoot about the Eifel Tower or the Louvre and find satisfaction in other things

thanks for understanding :)

p/s U dont want Aunty to come in here and starting a Wannabe Earthwalker/Anthony Bourdain thread do you ? LOL !! :)
 

Last edited:

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
1,658
4
38
#8
I am glad I caught your attention...

This is what writing is about... it makes you sit up and think.

Sure not everyone can afford to sit down and relax and chill.... BUT WAIT... why the heck are they on vacation then!

I guess to some, sweeping across Europe like a Tsunami in 5 days is their idea of fun... So if Aunty wants to rebut... sure..

BTW in my younger days, I worked as a tour guide, and if you didn't have shopping the trip was a failure... I earned enough tips from my trips to pay for a part of my univeristy fees.... and I saw the world as well.

So to each his own but I rue to have only 10 mins to enjoy the Eiffel tower ....

That's why I got a room 7 minutes from it in June!
bro' Peter, as hilarious as your initial post is ...... and they do make easy targets ....... the types that you have profiled also need to be respected as everyone has their own reasons why they do things in a certain way ..... not everyone is cut out to be an earthwalker due to time, budget , age , dependants young/old that need looking after

Or maybe there ARE people who essentially make a hobby of Passport Chop Collecting and could not give half a hoot about the Eifel Tower or the Louvre and find satisfaction in other things

thanks for understanding :)

p/s U dont want Aunty to come in here and starting a Wannabe Earthwalker/Anthony Bourdain thread do you ? LOL !! :)
 

Dec 29, 2008
27
0
0
#9
bro' Peter, as hilarious as your initial post is ...... and they do make easy targets ....... the types that you have profiled also need to be respected as everyone has their own reasons why they do things in a certain way ..... not everyone is cut out to be an earthwalker due to time, budget , age , dependants young/old that need looking after

Or maybe there ARE people who essentially make a hobby of Passport Chop Collecting and could not give half a hoot about the Eifel Tower or the Louvre and find satisfaction in other things

thanks for understanding :)

p/s U dont want Aunty to come in here and starting a Wannabe Earthwalker/Anthony Bourdain thread do you ? LOL !! :)
I second your view. There's really no need for people to get all self-righteous about how one should travel because very often, we are subjected to circumstances (e.g. time, money, language). For people not interacting with the locals or who do not give two hoots about having a taste of the local culture (even when they are not victims of circumstances), then it's really just their loss.
 

moi-liang

New Member
Feb 1, 2009
171
0
0
#10
My family travels every year, we stop going on tours many years ago because of the fact that we need to wake up like 5am in the morning to wait 1 hour+ for the whole tour group to arrive and take long bus rides and changing hotels everyday! it was tiring! So now adays equiped with a GPS with maps and a iPad (for doing reseach at hotels) we will rent a car and drive around anywhere and stop anytime we want! (renting a car is cheaper in other countries! but you need to know how to drive) But alot of planning and reseaching is needed before you fly unlike tours you just hop on buses and everything is planned.

One of our recent trips was arriving in spain and driving up to france by the costal way which was beautiful an back to spain!

In other word if you are lazy to plan and think all the time what to do next, go for tours! If not pick up a lonely planet book arrange your transport and start travelling!
 

chngpe01

Moderator
Staff member
#11
In all fairness what has this got to do with travel photography. Such topic belong to coffeshop talk ie kopitaim not here.

Please post at the appropriate section. If not all threads will so be swamped with Off topic coffeshop talk. Thread moved - next time it will be deleted.
 

Sep 24, 2009
794
0
0
SG_ID
www.flickr.com
#12
hhmm.. although i agree that different people have different means of "holiday" but i find it funny also to go to those places where there are so many things that you can't see/don't have in your own country but yet more than half the time is spent inside branded shops, which you can easily find, not one but many, in your own country.. guess they should name it overseas retail therapy than overseas holiday.. ;)

nevermind, it doesn't really bother me.. i plan my own itinerary anyway.. cheaper and better, without the need of waiting for other tour members..
 

kei1309

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2010
7,314
23
38
Earth
www.facebook.com
#13
hmm? i went to japan to backpack with my friend. irritating how he loves to interact with the locals though. of course, for him they must be old enough, legal and consenting :bsmilie:

sad for him... he did not score. :bsmilie:

for me it's the culture and being able to blend in. i follow what the locals do. i don't believe that it's a must to shop for anything. on most of my travels, the only things i buy mostly are the snacks and souvenirs on the way back at the airport.
 

#14
hhmm.. although i agree that different people have different means of "holiday" but i find it funny also to go to those places where there are so many things that you can't see/don't have in your own country but yet more than half the time is spent inside branded shops, which you can easily find, not one but many, in your own country.. guess they should name it overseas retail therapy than overseas holiday.. ;)

nevermind, it doesn't really bother me.. i plan my own itinerary anyway.. cheaper and better, without the need of waiting for other tour members..
Don't you get it? Typical Singaporeans love to feel that they are affluent especially overseas though they often make themselves seem as a cheapskate instead.

I was at Carrefour @ Johor Bahru just the other week and I can hear this auntie exclaiming in thick Singlish accent "Wah! So cheap arh!" from the other aisle and while returning to the causeway, this Singapore registered BMW X5 was refuelling at a petrol station with the driver attempting to rock the car from side to side. Seriously?

:sweat:
 

Last edited:

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,041
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#15
There are comments here on what is perceived to be bad behavior. Personally I think this is a very silly comparison to do. Yes, running about the place is ridiculous to me. Yes, not trying the local fare can be seen to be a loss.

None of them have broken the law or done anything morally grey. They are entitled to their choice of behavior I would think.

Somewhere out there, people are talking about the silly photographer that never sees anything, the big spender who splashes money on expensive local food, or the madman who would risk his life trying street food which is potentially unclean.

When you look into the abyss, the abyss
looks into you. People have their reasons. It may not always be a good one but it's their life. You can judge but there is really no need to lord it over them. I suspect that serves no positive purpose, but makes you feel superior. Which can be kind of sad, if you think about it. Cheers.
 

Last edited:

happyfrog

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2009
594
0
16
#16
I never really enjoyed any of the organized local tours I've been on. But nothing is worse than going to a foreign tour agency (from my experience in China). Badly planned itenary. We ended up hiking the hills and mountains for hours my uncle almost suffered a heart attack! Luckily he had a pack of medication with him. All the other elderly tourists in the group also suffered. The food promised was also not delivered. Promised 8 course dinner. But all we get is something like this...

1. Tofu with black pepper sauce
2. Tofu with sweet and sour sauce
3. Fried tofu
4. Kailan with black pepper sauce (the same sauce)
5. Kailan with sweet and sour sauce (the same sauce)
6. Steamed kailan
7. Deep fried bone-y fish which has been way overcooked and tough as eating saw dust.
8. Dessert

When I looked at the other tables (only locals, not tourists), the food they get are way different than ours. I got a feeling the tour guide has cheated us of our meal. It was so bad the other tourists in our group (PRC locals) didn't bother to eat and walked out to order on their own.

Although I enjoyed the scenery, the meals provided ruined it.

As much as we may criticize SA & Chan Brothers for organized tours, it is better than going there and start engaging a foreign tour guide. I guess if we go via that route, they wouldn't care so much for quality control as opposed to going through tour agencies. I believe organized tour do serve their purpose to cater to certain markets.

Now, I rather plan my own itenary and go free and easy. :)
 

Jul 20, 2008
345
0
0
North
www.flickr.com
#17
Is this a thread on how to improve our traveling lifestyle or to deem and look down on fellow Singaporeans?

No offence, but just curious because in every country such people exists, so why the tag Singapore Refugee? Why not name it Traveler's refugee syndrome or something like that?

I'm honestly quite insulted and ashamed when a fellow citizen tags [Singaporeans] in an insulting manner, are you not a Singaporean, don't you have pride and respect for your country?

Sorry if my words are blunt and unrefined, because I response that way when loyalty and pride is forsaken, okay back to topic.


I do feel that Free 'n' Easy tours are so much more enjoyable provided that you have the resource and time compared to package tours (as per mentioned above).

I've backpacked a few times and went on different trips via free and easy way, I wake up and go to the eateries or cafe like any locals and spend my day around neighborhood shops understanding what the culture and lifestyle of theirs.

Free and easy is definitely the best choice for the generation who are informative and adventurous, but I would dare say backpacking, stopping by every town, working odd jobs and going to the local hangouts completes the trip for me.

I think there are more experienced backpackers or "nomads" around, please share your experience!

Cheers
 

Last edited:

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
1,658
4
38
#18
Is this a thread on how to improve our traveling lifestyle or to deem and look down on fellow Singaporeans?

No offence, but just curious because in every country such people exists, so why the tag Singapore Refugee? Why not name it Traveler's refugee syndrome or something like that?

I'm honestly quite insulted and ashamed when a fellow citizen tags [Singaporeans] in an insulting manner, are you not a Singaporean, don't you have pride and respect for your country?

Sorry if my words are blunt and unrefined, because I response that way when loyalty and pride is forsaken, okay back to topic.


I do feel that Free 'n' Easy tours are so much more enjoyable provided that you have the resource and time compared to package tours (as per mentioned above).

I've backpacked a few times and went on different trips via free and easy way, I wake up and go to the eateries or cafe like any locals and spend my day around neighborhood shops understanding what the culture and lifestyle of theirs.

Free and easy is definitely the best choice for the generation who are informative and adventurous, but I would dare say backpacking, stopping by every town, working odd jobs and going to the local hangouts completes the trip for me.

I think there are more experienced backpackers or "nomads" around, please share your experience!

Cheers
I think if I can provoke some thought on this, that is quite an achievement. Often we don't think that it is negative until someone brings it up. Adding some humor tends to lighten it...

FYI... I will be joining a local (read American) tour, when I visit NYC... and it is likely to be full of PRC, ROC, and many other Asians.... Will see if it ends up like the Singapore variety...
Cheers.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,041
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#19
happyfrog said:
As much as we may criticize SA & Chan Brothers for organized tours, it is better than going there and start engaging a foreign tour guide. I guess if we go via that route, they wouldn't care so much for quality control as opposed to going through tour agencies. I believe organized tour do serve their purpose to cater to certain markets.

Now, I rather plan my own itenary and go free and easy. :)
Seriously though, there are places with good guides. I would have gotten a recommendation from a friend instead of going in blind. I have enjoyed myself immensely in Bali with the local guides. Of course I planned and gave them my desired destinations, but it's nice to sit back and relax knowing that you won't get lost. :)
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,353
8
38
sing
#20
They try to get value for money. Never mind the suffering. Just boast showing passport that they have traveled to X, Y and Z countries. Like badges of honour. It is a carry over from kiddy days when school children collect boy scout or boys brigade proficiency badges. Cannot afford the good class bungalow and Lamborghini, ma....so next best thing to show off about tour to exotic places.
 

Top Bottom