For those of you who thought Singapore was a country, you’re right but it’s also almost entirely a city – countryside can’t be air-conditioned, after all, so what good is it?
Singapore is a nasty little capitalist dictatorship with more police per capita than anywhere else in the world. Most of the actual law enforcement is done by cameras and computers but there thousands upon thousand of undercover agents on the lookout for dissenters who threaten to challenge the Golden Norm of society or the official religion of Consumerism.
Until recently, Singapore was a ‘fine island’ where you could be fined from anything to chewing gum, growing your hair too long, forgetting to flush your toilet, dancing in public or even committing oral sex. It wasn’t not beyond belief that if you urged your lover to perform the latter they’d pick up their cell phone and inform upon you.
Singapore has announcements, posters and notices everywhere instructing and advising people how to act, what to do, think, feel and believe. The island is covered in air conditioned malls and it’s made even easier to forget you’re in the tropics by the plastic trees everywhere that only need a dusting every now and then.
In the event of any real trees somehow surviving, they’re likely to be covered with signs with graphics demonstrating the potential risk of banging your head.
With a people growing up under Big Brother and the latest in technology, the young have learnt to think in binary code where individuality has no chance at all. To illustrate, well share a joke with you; an American, an Indian and a Sinaporean are asked their opinion on the nutritional value of beef.
The America: what’s nutritional value?
The Indian: what’s beef?
The Singaporean: what’s an opinion?
The Guardian on Fines in Singapore