The plan was this: a stately Lexus sedan would ferry us from Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, right back into our childhoods. The night was young(ish), and we were a bunch of jobless Millennials trying to rekindle hope through a childlike activity: kite-flying. We were not entirely sober, as you can imagine.


Outside, it was a breezy night. Inside, the car’s air-conditioning was wheezing with the effort of cooling seven grown people, skin on skin, all hydrating with a heroic amount of beer.


Meanwhile, fermented barley from the aforementioned beer wasn’t the best medicine for the growing anxiety I had from claustrophobia. The five-seater sedan was indeed luxurious, but housing seven on this increasingly balmy night, it felt like I was enclosed in a dwarf hamster’s five-star sauna.


A Running Curse

Believe me, 20 minutes on a two-kilometre journey can feel like 127 hours when you hear your driver exclaim a powerful curse: “Alamak, I see a marathon happening!”

Because here’s the thing, in Singapore, these marathons, usually organised by financial institutions or charities, are as important as any spectacle. And when I hear marathon, I think of one thing: closed roads.


When you’re stuck in a cramped car, full of beer and soaking through your T-shirt more than the runners in their blue-green Dri-FIT attires, righteous anger is the last thing on your mind. Instead, I found myself cursing my family for burdening me not just with claustrophobia, but a thimble-sized bladder.

I needed to be let out. Instead, I pinched my knees together, and counted the seconds.


Swimming Sober

Finally released from the trapped car, it was bliss to slip outdoors, my skin licked by the cool night breeze. What wasn’t blissful was that gravity made the beer slosh painfully against my bladder, like a fat toddler in a paddle pool.

The sober driver must have been worried we’d varnish the leather seats with pints of hot frothy urine. A prophet to the rest of us drunken, desperate sheep, he proceeded to preach the message: wave to the security guard like you own the condo, and pray that the poolside toilet isn’t locked.


It was.


Despite trespassing, help came in the form of angelic residents willing to break into the poolside toilets for the rest of my friends. That’s what they told me, anyway.


Meanwhile, my bladder found sweet relief in its own way.

In the swimming pool.




Three Measures for Desperate Needs

Singapore is drowning in mall toilets, but it’s easy to forget that sticky situations do occur. If you ever find your bladder or bowels squealing for relief, here’s how to mentally prepare.


  1. Bridge over troubled waters: When there is but one bridge that takes you to your destination, check for marathons before crossing it.


  1. A call of nature? Get friendly with the guard: Walk into any condominium radiating residential confidence, and acknowledge the security guard with a nod or wave.


  1. Poolside, not pool: Once you’ve infiltrated the condo, don’t commit social suicide by mistaking the pool for the poolside toilet.



The Worst Trip of My Life: The Sweat-Ride from Hell

BY Sarah Liu

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