Singapore Ez-link Card Stickers

My wife and I were looking through some of our old photos together and we happened to see these:

Singapore ez-link card with a Papa Smurf sticker on it.

Singapore ez-link card with a Papa Smurf sticker on it.

Singapore ez-link card with a Garfield sticker on it.

Singapore ez-link card with a Garfield sticker on it.

They’re not just cards with pictures.  I know in the US you can get something like that as a sort of collectible, but these are actually stickers on top of ez-link cards from Singapore.  You see, in Singapore, they use a transit card that’s like a contactless debit card.  You just tap it against a reader and enter the train station or bus.  You don’t even have to take it out of your wallet or purse if you don’t want to, and, because there’s no strip to worry about and they’re not disposable, you can decorate them.  They’re simple and usually don’t expire, as far as I remember.  We wound up turning these in for new ones, when they upgraded their system so that ez-link cards could be used to pay tolls on toll roads in cars as well.  In fact, that might have been when we took these photos, just so we could remember our stickers.

I miss these things, and how much easier they were to use than the MetroCards we get in New York City.  MetroCards seem like a waste to me, because you get one, use it for a while and then it has to be thrown away.  Wouldn’t it be better to just use the same card until you wear it out?  It would definitely be more cost effective.  Of course, switching to a card like this would create a loss of work for whoever makes the current MetroCards.  That’s probably the reason they won’t upgrade.  I understand that it’s important for people to have jobs, but I just get tired of seeing it used as an excuse to halt progress, especially when the upgrade could make life easier and is better for the environment at the same time.

A Wall Covered With Names of the Dead in Union Square Station, New York City

Each tile on this Union Square station wall has the name of a person who died on September 11th, 2001 on it.

You may have never noticed this, but there’s a wall in Union Square station where each tile has the name of a dead person on it.  If you enter the station near Food Emporium on the corner of 14th St and 4th Ave, you have to angle off to your right after passing through the turn-styles and then head towards the N, Q, and R trains.  As you walk down the long passageway to those train lines, on the left hand side you’ll notice the tiles with the names on them.  In the photo above I was heading in the opposite direction, coming from the Q and heading towards the station exit.

Name stickers placed on tiles in Union Square station, each of a person who died on September 11th, 2001.

I somehow doubt this was done by the city, since the names are simply on stickers.  Still, it was a great effort on someone’s part to help keep the events of September 11th, 2001 in the public consciousness.  Union Square is a major station and sees a lot of foot traffic every day, which could potentially give these stickers a lot of exposure.

One of the stickers on the tiles in Union Square station, showing the name of a person who died on September 11th, 2001.

I have yet to visit the site of the former World Trade Center since I returned to New York City last September.  I suppose I should make it a point to head down there and see what sort of progress they’ve made in rebuilding the area.  The last time I was there, in May of 2008, it looked like this:

The site of the former World Trade Center, New York City, May of 2008.