It's my life!

Avoiding the crowd in the National University of Singapore

I found a heavenly place in NUS! A place where I can now read, study, charge my laptop, and most importantly, take my afternoon nap… undisturbed!

Who could have guessed that I would get a culture shock in Singapore?

Ever since I’m back in campus after a year in Stockholm, I have had little time to breathe. Readjusting to the hustle and bustle competitive life of Singapore, it has been a non-stop on-the-get-go moment for me.

Of course, the crowd made it extremely uncomfortable.

On the 31st August 2010, the Government of Singapore released a set of statistics stating that, as of the end of June 2010, the number of residents in Singapore was 5.03 million people (Source link).

A staggering 5.03 million people in puny Singapore!

Just to give dimensions to that abstract number: Sweden’s land area (410,335 sq km) is 550 times bigger than Singapore’s tiny 710.3 sq km, but as of July 2010, Sweden only had 9.06 million residents. Let me remind you: Singapore has 5.03 million people. (Links to sources 1) Sweden 2) Singapore)

Oh, the agonizing suffocation. It makes me hyperventilate whenever I think about this.

Wherever the place, whenever the time, whatever the situation, I cannot escape the crowd.

Back in campus – Just like how July and August are taboo periods to travel to Italy, the time 11am – 2pm are taboo times to visit the canteens. Especially the Engineering canteen. Even if I can get a table for me and my friends, we have to endure the long queues to get our food.

The situation is no better in the in-campus residences. My friend who also went to Stockholm with me is now living in Prince George’s Park Residences. She would rather take the extra effort of taking the elevator down to the basement and walking through the parking lot… just to avoid people.

I once thought that the library was my sanctuary from the crowd within the campus. An air-conditioned haven of books, encyclopedias and computers. But, the main library (Central Library), the business library, and the science library are now jam-packed with students as well. Those libraries are no longer as quiet and tranquil as they are supposed to be.

And, if I want a peaceful afternoon nap after a tiring 4 hours lecture, it seems rather inappropriate to do that in front of so many people.

Well, today, after an exhausting lecture of biothermodynamics, I decided to put my hypothesis to test. I had this hypothesis that not many students from the engineering, arts and science fields bother to visit the Music Library in the campus.

Not only is this library slightly out-of-the-way from those departments, but also, its collection only consists of classical music books and CDs. Pretty uninteresting to the uninitiated.

Anyway, so, here I am in the music library in the beautifully designed Yong Siew Toh Music Conservatory. The library is relatively empty with only two librarians, and only around ten students. There are many unused power plugs on the first and second floors of the library.

It’s only opened till 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays, but, that is fine by me. Anything is better than Central Library.

I know by writing this post and exposing the wonders of the Music Library, this might draw the crowd to plague this library as well. However, I believe that due to its location and extremely specific collection, students will still prefer the three larger libraries. And, I hope I’m doing a good deed to whoever out there who’s feeling the same way as I am about the NUS crowd.

The Music Library. It has now become my favourite spot in NUS.

And what’s the ultimate clincher for my choice?

I can listen to great classical masterpieces too! 🙂


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