Street interview: what do Singaporeans think of their strict laws?

Some of this is just orientalising fantasy.

99% of the population live in closely huddled apartment blocks - when I lived there I could see into a dozen apartments across the way just by looking out my kitchen window. Not parading around in your apartment with the curtains open therefore makes sense in that context.

There are far more concerning things in Singapore, like that is that 70% of the economy is owned or linked to companies controlled by the government and therefore the Lee family, and that ballot papers have serial numbers on them.

Rarely mentioned though is that the kids are alright. There are thriving DIY/underground punk, ska/reggae, electronica, hip hop and metal scenes there - all organised by the yoof. If you’re ever in Arab Street, check out the record shop at the back end of the historical Arab Street precinct, it stocks local and regional indie music.


I don’t don’t think that’s accurate because rhinoceroseses are vegetarian. It’s probably pigs.

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If you can’t be naked in your own house, how do they make more Singaporeans?

They don’t - or at least, not many of them. Even more so than Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, Singapore has a very low birthrate. The reasons are probably numerous, but include a combination of economic factors (high cost of property, living costs), an insanely demanding work culture, high population density, and a culture that still places most of the burden of childcare on increasingly high-earning and educated women.

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My ballot papers (in San Francisco) have serial numbers on them, too. But the link between the serial numbers and my identity is not recorded (I can keep the tear-off ballot stubs to ensure that my vote was counted, but the government can’t trace my ballot back to me).

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And the fact that they’re still executing drug dealers suggests that it doesn’t.


The times I worked in Singapore I found it incredibly boring. You’d think the boredom would lead to people looking for ways to amuse themselves…

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Last year there were only 8 hangings in Singapore in 2017 for drug manufacturing or dealing. There were probably more than that many dealers busted in Austin (my city) this month and Austin is a much smaller city.

Trip? What trip? I have this funny tick where I don’t travel to places that will kill you over a recreational drug. There’s just something about spending any money in a place where the people value authoritarianism over human life that makes me not want to go there. Maybe it’s because they think I should be dead because of how I live or perhaps it’s the lack of morality and disregard for life that does it. Or maybe it’s the cowed populace who allows such indefensible things to happen in their own land. It’s hard to pin down just which of the many disgusting aspects of killing people because you don’t like how they choose to relax or treat their illness that causes my knee jerk reaction but no matter the cause, the result is the same. Screw those places. They can keep their land and their fucked up laws to themselves.

Maybe, but none of them will be put to death for it.


FWIW, when I was young way back in the late 70s, early 80s, it was illegal to busk (perform music for tips) in Boston, MA, USA and there was no option for a license, you just got busted.

It’s still a vagrancy charge in many communities across the US.

I agree with you on that, and none of those countries are any place I’d visit willingly. Fortunately for me, it’s unlikely that my employer would send me on a business trip there, but some aren’t so lucky.

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