Going through security at the airport can be a frustrating experience, even in Asia. The US still takes the cake for the most obtrusive, but even the Philippines has the umbrella rule (click here for that story) and other islands weigh you before you check in. Recently in Singapore I also had an interesting experience.
In Singapore, you go through customs first, but don’t go through security until you enter your boarding gate. I like the system, for the most part as it is more efficient in terms of getting people trapped in the boarding area which means flights board in a timely manner.
This time after I pulled out my computer, iPad, phone and laid each thing on the belt I took half a step the wrong way and bumped into a pole next to the metal detector. My pants caught on the very sharp edge which was at thigh level and it ripped a pretty large hole in my jeans.
I expected an apology or at least some type of excuse, but instead the screener said “You should be careful next time.” I don’t see how this was my fault and the comment really bothered me. Why in the world would any airport put a razor sharp pole at thigh level? If it was a little kid it could be eye level which would have been very dangerous.
I wish I could have thought of a comeback at the time, instead I repacked my bag and entered into the gate holding area. Recently there was a study globally that said Singaporeans ranked very low on the global happiness index. The behavior I experienced confirmed that and was something that I would have expected more in mainland China than in Singapore.
Luckily the jeans I was wearing were pretty old, so at least it wasn’t new clothes, but it still bothers me. What would you have said if it happened to you?