Kiasu Singaporean wannabe

Still in the spirit of Chinese New Year, I decided to do another CNYish thing: Buy a Hongbao Toto ticket.

This will be the very first time I’m buying the Hongbao Toto so it’s an event for me. Besides, I need to get a ticket for the Goonfather if I want him to win $10 million for me (since he’s not free to go queue up).

I decided to go to this Toto outlet in Yishun, listed in the Singapore Pools website as the top winning outlet in Singapore, having produced something like 18 winning tickets in all.

Yes, there are some theories on how winning outlets get that status only because stupid people like me flock there in the hopes of getting “luckier” tickets. This increases the outlet’s sales, which in turn increases its winning chances.

Balls to that, I said.

I want to be where all the kiasu people are!
I want to soak in all the kiasu CNY atmosphere before CNY ends!
And I am very prepared to queue up for it in true Singaporean fashion!!

But…

I WAS NOT AT ALL PREPARED FOR THIS.

Where the heck did all these people come from?

This was 3 pm.

You all don’t need to work one ah??

Here is what the queue looks like from a bird’s eye point of view (not to scale):

I gathered, on a very modest estimate, that there had to be at least 200 people in the queue. Maybe 300.

I really underestimated Singaporeans. I had expected maybe 50 people in the queue. The Hongbao toto is on sale for nine days altogether, so I thought the queue would be reasonably spread out over nine days, and over the thousands of outlets in Singapore.

But it seems like the whole world decided to buy tickets from this particular outlet. No wonder it keeps producing winning tickets!

Of course, the Hello Kitty queues in the year 2000 were much, much worse. But I make allowances for that because those were once-in-a-lifetime kitties. $10 million? Pfft. You get a chance to win that every single year. Big deal.

Anyway, I didn’t join in the queue. It was simply too intimidating.

I wouldn’t have minded if I could have read a book while queuing. I’m perfectly willing to stand around for hours waiting for nothing as long as I have a good book.

But because Singaporeans (especially Toto-buying ones) are a superstitious lot, I was afraid the people around me would give me the evil eye for doing an “inauspicious” activity while standing in the fortune line with them.

(For the benefit of my non-Chinese readers: “Book” in Chinese is “shu”. And “shu” also means “to lose”. So any word sounding like “shu” is automatically inauspicious.)

I had consulted the Goonfather early this morning.

I said, “Later when I go queue up for Toto, do you think if I read a book while queueing, the other people in the queue will keropok me?”

His reply was, “Why you wanna do such a thing?!?!?”

Sheesh.

So I didn’t bring my book and I didn’t get in the queue and I didn’t buy my ticket to win $10 million.

I think I shall forget about soaking in the kiasu CNY atmosphere. Looking at today’s queue was plenty enough atmosphere for me.

Tomorrow, I will just go buy tickets from the most ulu outlet I can think of.