If you do not, perhaps you might have tried driving along Orchard Road on the weekends during the Great Singapore Sale or the run-up to Christmas. Another frustrating exercise, to say the least.
But, try tackling the normal "peak" traffic in one of our neighbouring countries and you might come to the sudden realization that most of our traffic jams are child's play. And by tackle, I don't mean sitting in the passenger seat while a "local" drives you around, marveling at how bad the congestion is. I mean actually driving a car in it; and make that a manual like most of the "locals" would drive. You don't even have to go very far - no need to head to Bangkok or Jakarta; even a short drive at peak hours in a busy Malaysian city will put things into perspective.
I recently was in Malacca for the weekend and was attempting to drive out of the Melaka Raya area to the suburbs where I was bunking for the night. The short stretch of road that separated Mahkota Parade Mall and the Melaka Megamall (I believe it is Jalan Merdaka) was choked bumper to bumper with cars. It took 30 minutes to drive (if you can call it that) from the Megamall to the junction where Hotel Equatorial stands. I think my grandmother could walk that distance faster than I was able to drive!
True, it wasn't exactly a jam that could rival Bangkok or Jakarta. But, driving along, I realized that I wasn't feeling any sense of frustration or impatience. If I were in Singapore, I think I probably would have exhausted my vocabulary of expletives in the first 15 minutes! Why is that a Singaporean stuck in a non-Singaporean jam evince such a non-Singaporean reaction? My gut-feel is that we are all so brain-washed by our endless efficiency mantra that when things are in anyway inefficient in Singapore, we start to feel upset. But because we expect delays in other countries, we are always that little bit more accommodating (well, there are still some Singaporeans who act like **** when overseas but most of us are more accommodating).
So as I am stuck in traffic this weekend in Orchard Road. I will make it a point to grin and bear with it. Give it a try; it might make things more bearable too.