First impressions count in Singapore
“Looking for Singapore? It could easily be found sitting on any city planners desk”
There are very few people who would not agree that Singapore, as a city, works. In fact, it works incredibly well. Bar public WiFi that I’m sure someone from Singapore’s tourism ministry is going to look into right now (hint, hint).
The strange thing about my above public WiFi statement is, it probably will get fixed very quickly if someone does read this from the government. That’s just how Singapore is, everything is meant to work perfectly.
A population with everything provided for them is a happy workforce
Why is Singapore so Efficient?
Singapore is often seen as the poster child of successful urban and economic development. A parliamentary republic, Singapore has virtually no natural resources, nearly everything from water to electricity is imported. Over 40% of its population are foreigners, and its natural population is decreasing.
Such negativity, yet Singapore is the world’s fastest growing Economy. It’s the world’s 4th largest exchange trading center. Virtually everyone has a job and has the ability to own incredibly expensive accommodation due to government incentives.
Singapore has a huge interest in refining imported goods. As an example; Singapore imports water from Malaysia, processes it, and then sells it back.
The reason why everything works so well in Singapore? The way the Government runs things.
Singapore plans for the future not just in years, but in decades and beyond
Singapore is vulnerable. With no natural resources it could easily collapse. But as a financier told me, it’s not going to happen. Why not?
“Simply put, Malaysia and Indonesia are too corrupt. We profit from their lack of an efficient system in this region. If they got their act together, Singapore would collapse.”
Death, canning, and a “Fine” country
Take a look at how this country runs at street level. If you, even as a tourist, are caught with drugs, you can be put to death. If you speak out racially against another person, a canning.
Cross the road illegally, S$50 fine. Eat on the MRT, S$500 fine. Litter on the streets and you will have to work in public service cleaning the roads wearing a special jacket. Vandalise anything, a canning. Sell fireworks or copied DVD’s, canning and jail.
Get the picture? Don’t break the law in Singapore. There is a reason why locals joke that Singapore is a “Fine” country.
Obey the law, do what you are told to do, and reap the rewards of a comfortable life.
Crime is virtually non-existent in Singapore. And, strangely for such harsh rules that perhaps could easily be related to a dictatorship, Singaporeans, on the outside, seem very happy, and are very friendly.
Chewing gum is not illegal in Singapore
Just as a sub-note: the rumor that chewing gum is illegal in Singapore is incorrect. You can bring it in for personal consumption. You can even chew it in public. But, you cannot spit it out. Nor sell it, nor possess large quantities of it.
I brought in two packs as personal consumption “gifts”, and was fine, not fined!
Singapore: The Utopian society
I saw the proliferation of CCTV in the MRT in Singapore. I thought nothing of it really. Likewise the shopping malls, and in hotels, hostels and well … just about everywhere.
Then as I entered another MRT I stopped to watch people move by. Rows upon rows of medium paced queues walked by. Smart phones in hand people played games, talked on bluetooth headsets and waited patiently for a train to arrive on time.
Arrows on the ground mark where you are to wait, and not cross over as people “Alight” from the train. And, people obey without question. They seem happy it all works so well.
Singapore: The Directors Cut
I took an escalator down to the MRT feeling quite happy with how everything was running. Then, it hit me. Huge wall to wall posters with a Hollywood actress endorsing a certain pink product. Not just one, but she was everywhere. And, as I neared the bottom of the escalator not one, but three CCTV cameras stared beady eyed at me.
It was like a scene from Gattaca. I was walking through Orwell’s 1984 as a speaker droned out warnings of terrorist activity.
Watch those around you, report anything suspicious.
So enamoured was I in all this futuristic reality I toured back around for a second glimpse at this society at work. Camera in hand I photographed the cameras watching me. And then waited for a hand on my shoulder to escort me to a room for some “re-education”
Singapore’s efficiency works but at what cost?
I spoke to several Singaporeans about all of this. The answers were pretty much all the same. Head nodding, knowing smiles and a blunt reality.
The most common answer was, “Yes, but it works.”
The only underlying issues I could detect were tiredness at the same old routine jobs day after day.
But, as one Singaporean put it, “When you are raised in Singapore, you are raised to be a part of the system that makes it run so well. This helps.”
I found these answers quite unsettling. Not in terms of Singapore, but in terms of human nature.
Singapore’s Government is intelligent
No person wants to suffer. We all want to live long, enjoyable lives. We all like luxury whether we admit it or not. We want to be comfortable.
How many people are tired of the constant fight? Tired of corrupt politics, locking your doors twice over, and different rules for the rich?
Singapore’s government has found a near Utopian solution. It has created a society where everyone can be comfortable. And, enjoy their lives. So long as you obey the laws, work long hours and be productive. Disobey this, and you will be punished in more ways than one.
Singapore is not perfect in many peoples eyes though. But, even they must surely admit, it’s a unique place.
There is perhaps nowhere else on the planet that has a society like Singapore.
Singapore seems to have tapped into the human genome of being “comfortable” and has become successfully efficient because of it
The raw reality is, could you give up your small freedoms in life in exchange for no more worries in an efficient, safe and prosperous society?
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An illegal entry into another new country …opps
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