doctorow at July 10th, 2014 15:17 — #1
sluggo_ at July 10th, 2014 15:52 — #2
sdmikev at July 10th, 2014 15:58 — #3
Singapore is a shitty place.
Spent a week there some time back - very nice people and great food, but as a city/state/country, you can have it.
purplecat at July 10th, 2014 16:38 — #4
This sounds typical of the paranoid police state that is the Singaporean government. Didn't they also ban chewing gum after one instance of it being discarded improperly on the metro?
madlibrarian at July 10th, 2014 17:07 — #5
Your Zero Tolerance Policy at work!
peregrinus_bis at July 10th, 2014 17:11 — #6
They could just mail them to someone who'd like to have them. Why destroy?
willondon at July 10th, 2014 19:39 — #7
With luck, they'll find a home in the Streisand collection.
What were the book titles again?
dobby at July 11th, 2014 04:01 — #8
Every person I know who is from Singapore seems to love the affluent totalitarianism.
If you can make the people happy apparently most often they prefer comfort to freedom.
michael_r_smith at July 11th, 2014 06:15 — #9
One time in Singapore I bought a doughnut to eat while waiting for a train. I do that sometimes in Australia. So there I am on the train station and two young men with automatic weapons approached me and requested in broken English that I put the doughnut away. I did as I was told.
But I will give the Singaporeans credit. Its a far better place than Penang, and they really have come a long way. I hope (perhaps without justification) that this social conservatism will fade away as their population becomes more multicultural.
peregrinus_bis at July 11th, 2014 06:32 — #10
Penang is a far better place than Lagos.
I've looked at living in Singapore from time to time, and I can't stand the environment. The food is amazing though.
I much prefer the noisy eclectic haphazard interest of Hong Kong. But I can't live there either, because pollution.
So I remain in rainy London.
howaboutthis at July 11th, 2014 07:50 — #11
Exactly. Most people will bitch and holler about things they don't like, but give them a few trinkets and a few concessions on issues which are emotion-laden but meaningless in the big picture, and those people will be nice and obedient, even if perpetually cranky.
dobby at July 11th, 2014 09:01 — #12
Actually thinking about it, in Singapore they prefer to love trade freedom for order as long as there is material wealth.
humbabella at July 11th, 2014 09:43 — #13
A few concessions on emotionally-laden issues such as the 6th best healthcare system in the world?
I wouldn't want to live in Singapore, I don't think, but they have a lot going for them. Good health care, quite safe, reasonable commute times. We tend to apply a very one-dimensional (and I think downright fictional) idea of freedom to these discussions.
Sure, Americans are much better at freedom of expression legally speaking, but I promise you there are plenty of public libraries all around America where you couldn't find these books even if some of them would have the sense not to make public show of not carrying them. And if your family went bankrupt by paying for your father's heart surgery then while you are working your two minimum wage jobs you might not feel that liberated.
People in Singapore are generally satisfied with their country because things are working for them, not because they are fools.
peregrinus_bis at July 11th, 2014 09:49 — #14
Yes, they're generally satisfied, but talk about anything except money, and it's an empty shell.
I don't see Singapore providing great philosophical changes to the world. Mind you, maybe they're the future of peace.
humbabella at July 11th, 2014 10:19 — #15
Which is rotten, but I feel like that's still a step up from the many people around the world who are generally dissatisfied because they actually hardly ever think about anything but money (or money's alter ego "food") on account of not having enough of it. Liberty is only required for the very high tiers of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. When your neighbors don't have enough to eat and you can't chew gum on the subway the grass looks greener on your own side.
Note: I've never been to Singapore and don't actually know much about it, my knowledge comes from statistics more than anything else. I know that statistics are limited and that things aren't going to be all peaches and cream on the ground in Singapore. But I bristle against the idea that somehow the people of Singapore are suckers for bread and circuses and have given up something essential (liberty) for things of little value (jobs? health care? education?)
doctorow at July 15th, 2014 15:18 — #16
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