Christine Cunanan Travelife Magazine The Frequent Flier


In Singapore for ITB Asia, the biggest travel industry event in Asia, I received some happy news on my phone early in the morning. I can’t elaborate on this as it’s personal but it was certainly wonderful enough for me to walk through the halls of Marina Bay Sands with a smile in my heart as I greeted friends and contacts all day.


Then as I had a dinner appointment at Paragon and an early flight out today, I left ITB at about 5 pm to try and find a particular shop in Singapore.

After my major shopping sprees in exotic countries just last week, I had nothing else to buy for myself. But someone had asked me to bring something home so this was my main task before dinner.

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I stood in the driveway of the Marina Bay Sands conference center after the ITB Conference completely helpless as to how to get a taxi in Singapore. Dozens of others were trying to do the same. However, every taxi that drove past had “hired” in bright lights.

Suddenly, a kind man about to get into a taxi he had obviously somehow pre-hired said to me: “Where are you going? Let me take you.

When I told — and still continue to tell — my friends this story, they burst out laughing and said: “He was trying to pick you up.”

But it wasn’t at all like that. We didn’t even exchange names, information or business cards, so all I could say when he dropped me off was: “I owe you for this.” He simply smiled, ever the Good Samaritan.

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After finding the store and making my purchases, my next challenge was getting back to the hotel to drop my bags before dinner.

The man at the store said to me: “Everyone wants a taxi now, la. Lines are long. Subway is just there and it goes near your hotel.”

I usually don’t take subways simply because I like to see the views outside. However, this time I was desperate to get back to the hotel and make it in time for dinner.

My biggest challenge was I had no Singapore dollars whatsoever. This was a quick in-and-out trip that involved spending most of my time in a conference center for ITB Asia, so I brought no cash with me. I thought I could survive on my credit cards and cash cards if needed.


What do you know? Apparently I could not use my Visa credit card at that station to buy a subway ticket because the machine was out of order. Moreover, I’d left all my other credit cards in my hotel room safe.

Fortunately, there was an ATM machine nearby and I had an international cash card. However, the machine wasn’t working.

So I went back to the subway lady to tell her the ATM wasn’t working and to ask where the nearest bank was. It was past banking hours and I was dangerously close to being late for dinner, when another guy came up to me. I didn’t even realize he was listening to my tales of woe.

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But just like that, he said: “Would you like $2 for a ticket?”

Yes, how ironic. I have practically everything I want in this world; but the one thing I needed and didn’t have at that very moment was 2 Singapore dollars. And this stranger was standing next to me, pressing $2 in my hand.

“I must pay you back,” I said. I’m a stickler for money matters and I so dislike taking advantage of others. But he just smiled at me and said: “Don’t worry about it.”

And then he just disappeared into the crowds. The second Good Samaritan in Singapore in an hour of going around the city.


Morale of the story? I don’t want to sound preachy but I think good things and luck occur in a domino effect. You need to start the day with happy thoughts and a sense of gratitude. Then the forces of the universe will just align and take care of you.

Read more articles about traveling to Singapore in Travelife Magazine.