Monday, August 22, 2005
  Disneyland with a DEATH PENALTY
What are some of the words that come to an oblivious caucasian mind when you tell them you are from 'Singapore'? Well, after correcting them first on their mistaken assumption that you are Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Cambodian/Thai/ whatsthatasiancountrycalledagain, one might think it's that country that's so clean. Or maybe it's that country that's so pretty. Or is it that place that doesn't allow chewing gum? Most westerners who know of this far eastern island that I've spoken to seem to know Singapore by hearing or reading about it somewhere or have visited there either on holiday or just passing through the airport. And most generally have a good impression of the island country. Well why shouldn't they? Singapore IS a very nice place to stay. You will see high-rise apartments that look like they were built just yesterday and a city centre that is filled with almost every up-market brand of product you can find in a western mall. Possibly even cheaper. When most people ask me about Singapore, I find myself boasting the clean and green streets, the low crime rate, and some even view the tough laws as a good thing for keeping the litter at bay, which I agree with as well. But once you actually start living there, things don't quite turn out the way you might have expected. Expatriats like Steve McDermott who runs the Singaporean political blogsite Singabloodypore would know better. Suddenly, Singapore is like that gorgeous girl you picked up at the bar one night and took home, only to find she has what you have. PS: Im not implying that's happened to me OK. CNN reports yet another article that would probably get them sued into bankcrupcy over there.

"SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- If one thinks of Singapore, safe but dull are likely to come to mind.
But the government is trying to cast off this image by building casinos and exotic venues to entertain tourists and lure lucrative business travelers as part of a plan to make the city-state the venue of choice for international conferences.
Last month, the International Olympic Committee meeting in Singapore, where London was chosen as host for the 2012 Olympics, received a few barbs for its televised finale. A British newspaper said the show scaled new heights of kitsch.
But the event, seen by about one billion people worldwide, highlighted its ability to stage big business gatherings.
Despite boasting one of the world's top-ranked airports and impressive convention entrees, industry experts say the country -- which bans the sale of chewing gum and Playboy magazine -- stumbles when it comes to the fun factor.
"Singapore has the image of being boring and authoritarian. For business travelers, it's like visiting your parents rather than going to somewhere fun," said Patrick Wilkerson, Regional Brand and Business Development Director of ad agency Leo Burnett."

Do you know what the difference between a popular person and an attention whore is? If you are familiar with social online networks such as Friendster, Hi5 or MySpace, then you've probably come across plenty of examples of the latter. You know who they are. The ones with there bloody mug in every one of their 58 photos in their profile. The ones with 578 online friends whom 500 have never met with in real life and just "added because you're cute". The ones who TyPe liKe ThiS aND tHiNk I aM sO f&*^ing HaRdCoRe. But above all else, the ones you want to put a bullet in because they are a waste of internet space and are only driving up the cost of webspace.

It's quite interesting to see Singapore through the eyes of westerners because more often than not, those that have lived there for a while tend to compare the political system with that of their home country. And this is when you pull off the sexy lingerie from that slutty "woman" and say 'oh shit'.... Because below all that plastic surgery, the expensive jewellery, the makeup (the tall skyscrapers, the landmarks, the cleanliness), Singapore still has a dick that reeks of authoritarianism and a so-called democracy.

"Once described as "Disneyland with a death penalty" by science fiction writer William Gibson, Singapore has taken steps in recent years to rectify its reputation for being bland, allowing bar-top dancing and street busking.
Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong told a gathering of conference operators last month the state was ready to "break the old mould" to become one of the world's top meeting places.
It is set to legalize casinos and is in the process of picking developers for two casinos worth an estimated $5 billion.
Singapore, which only lifted a ban on the risque U.S. television show "Sex and the City" last year, will also soon have its own branch of Paris's Crazy Horse cabaret, famous for its erotic nude dance performances.
"We're all human -- we would all like to attend events in places that have prestige or glamour," said Sophie LeRay, Managing Director of naseba, a Monaco-based events organizer.
But she added that Singapore's predictability is a strength in these uncertain times.
While neighboring Thailand and Indonesia have suffered militant attacks, the city-state has remained unscathed.
"Singapore's drawbacks are the usual cliches that you can't smoke, can't chew gum and you can't jaywalk here. But once people arrive here, these cliches disappear (
unless you get caught)," she said."

To get one thing straight, I have nothing against building casinos, bar-top dancing or 'erotic nude dance performances' (is that just posh for saying lapdance?). In fact if anything, I am all for it. But don't be deceived. Singapore is well known to attribute significant proportions of its wealth to the tourism industry. It is desperate to sell itself as the 'best there is to offer' to the international community for both tourism and business. Which country doesn't want that really. But it is the ONLY reason why they are trying to "loosen up" and break this so-called fucking "mould". At the very core of the Singaporean identity, it is still one that is defined and contoured out of the fine lines of the law. People have a hard time finding their own voice in this socially engineered society. Self-censorship, mass media control by the government, and political intimidation still hide behind the faces of casinos, bar-top dancing and condom shops. So, coming back to the encounter between the average Singaporean and his western visitor, what does the Singaporean usually say of Singapore? The pretty buildings? How I was never mugged before? The clean streets? Somehow the people are rarely mentioned. The Singaporean spirit is somehow hard, difficult to define in terms of its people. Let's let the government speak for them, shall we? Here, take these chips and have a good time at the casino. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go petition the government to bring back the one dollar bill so I have something to use at the 'erotic nude dance performances'.

"i think singapore declared independence cos a certain someone wanted to start an elaborate money laundering business." - Hwee Yee @ SomethingSomething
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