2 Sep 2004

Singapore spoils one for the world

The following article appeared in the Straits Jacket and I had to respond. My initial response was to ask the writer to get his tongue out of the PAP's proverbial. Click below for an example of the 'indepth' journalism and commentary that Singaporeans are fed on a daily basis.

Singapore spoils one for the world

What now follows are my own comments to certain points raised by Sunanda K. Datta-Ray in the article above.

"At the risk of offending Singapore's new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, I must confess to being glad that the Minister Mentor title indicates no diminution of his father's authority. Such an unfashionable view would not have flowed from my computer a few months ago."

You are extremely correct at being worried about offending Lee Hsien Loong. If you do he will have you in court and bankrupt within the week.

"Pestered by beggars [..} I longed for Singapore's security, amenities and efficiency."

To think that there are no beggars or homeless people in Singapore is a gross mis-understanding and implies a lack of travelling beyond the main tourist areas such as Orchard Road. Along Orchard Road the police are extremely efficient in sweeping the homeless off the street and away from your gaze. But surely a well structured policy to 'help' the homeless, rather than 'hide' the homeless is in order. Also, the next time you visit Singapore, why not visit a construction site and inspect the accommodation that the foreign workers have to live in, in the centre of the construction site, in what appears to be a shanty-town like hut.

The UK and sections of Europe may appear unsightly, but in Europe, unlike Singapore, if the politicians are not addressing these social ills then the people can replace them. In Singapore the people are unable to voice alternative opinions on the government owned media and come election time, seeing one choice on the ballot paper is no choice at all.

Yes on the surface Singapore looks clean, safe and efficient. It reminds me of efforts taken when a rich group of G8 delegates arrive in an under-developed country for talks on world poverty. The delegates are shuttled around with areas that appear unsightly hidden behind partitions. Yes, Singapore seems to 'work' but work for whom?


friskodude said...

Good work with the post. I've got some stuff on Singapore, too, at

See ya!


Re-minisce said...

there's something wrong with your template - the sidebar doesn't display alongside the main body. try asking blogger support for help. I've had this problem before as well, often it was because of the order of the html, and sometimes it was because images were larger than the permitted width.

bloggersupport's pretty good at getting back to you and helping with the problem.

Anonymous said...

I have only one word for Datta-Ray: suburbs, man, suburbs.
And "very clean" Singapore ? Maybe if you only hang around in Orchard Rd ... Last time I checked there were still some really vile-smelling lifts in HDB estates.

Yet another proof that the only thing that Singapore spoils for the world is ... one's brain. Sigh.

Btw: nice, hard-hitting blog, glad to see that there are still some unspoiled brains around ! Just a suggestion though - you might want to link to Google caches of ST articles, because the originals are usually taken off the website fairly quickly.

soci said...

thanks for the adcvice anon, will try and do that..

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Owen said...

I've heard there still are some shanty towns or homeless areas in Singapore, but no-one can tell me where they are. I've been looking but can't find anything. I'd like to take some photos to show another side of this squeaky-clean city.