I’d take it as a point of pride as an Australian that there would be at least one person in every household who knows one end of a screwdriver from another. At the very least, if there is no full tool kit on site there is at least a basic screwdriver set and socket set. We consider these to be essential to every day life, whether it’s assembling Ikea furniture or fixing up that loose cabinet door. So it’s very, very odd for me to find myself in an entire country of hardware-handicapped people. I’m currently staying in a completely tool-free household. No, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any idiots here. It means that there are literally no tools anywhere in the house. No Phillips head, no sockets, no wrench…not even a lousy Allen key can be found within these walls. I don’t know about you, but that trips me out a little. An entire country that would be completely helpless to a leaking tap. Boggles the mind.
In a hunt recently for a simple headlamp globe, we ended up in one of Singapore’s supposed biggest DIY chains. I had to blink several times to be sure I was seeing correctly – the entire place would fit in three or four aisles at the local Bunnings, and the selection was terrible (for the record, they didn’t have a globe. The search continues). I asked my girlfriend, “what happens if you have a leaky tap?” She looked at me blankly and replied, “We call someone to fix it?”
I’m not sure if it’s an attempt to create jobs or simple laziness, or perhaps the inherent superiority that seems hard coded into Singaporeans (not making any friends with that last comment, but oh well), but when the difference is calling a guy to come fix your tap, taking several hours at least and costing God knows how much, versus nipping down to Bunnings, grabbing a new washer and fitting it yourself in five minutes…well, I’ll take the latter, thanks.