Signage for First World People

Dunno why Miss V sent me these pics. Ok, so .... Singaporeans poke at things and strip them. No, no. Don't start pointing fingers at the others. Our Prime Minister approved by 70% of us said Singaporeans commit more crimes than foreigners. Since the friendly remainders in NTUC were printed in English, the message is undoubtedly for us. Well, what is there to argue about? We do poke at things and strip them - way before our foreigners observe and emulate. Some of us wonder why Singapore has became a "fine city" over the years. Well once upon a time many of the "fine-able offences" were really just inconsiderate behavioral trends. In localspeak, we call it "buay zi dong" (not automatic), harmless until the authorities gave up exorcising the abject attitudes out of us and begin to make things illegal.

Only then, things are perceived to improve. I don't think the government really cares how effective each new law is. If it isn't but it is a revenue raising avenue, why not? Who knew that petty inconsiderate acts could become profitable after they are made into crimes. Genius. So these days in Singapore, throwing a scrap of paper in public places can cost you $1,000 - and it isn't even a winning lottery ticket you are unaware of. A convenient pee in the lift can come out with a bill of $500 if someone decided you are the lucky pick on the national surveillance network. Over the years, Singaporeans have somehow managed to abrogate their freedom of choice one after another by pushing their luck too far, eventually turning petty acts into legal offences. It is now illegal to sit near a railing somewhere, feed birds and not flush the toilet.

Being born in the late 70s, I heard a lot about the "Kampung spirit" among small local communities. Those days, people were said to look out for one another and a lot less inconsiderate towards the others. I might even have experienced the last essence of this camaraderie during my childhood days before it was completely vaporises by emerging cupidity of the people, as Singapore modernize. In its place, a soulless shell of a place they call paradise where signage have to be put up in air conditioned grocery shops to remind its first world people not to poke at fruits.

Singaporeans like to boast about our top rankings in education. Indeed, we have made the world sit up and notice about our science or mathematics scores in global level. It leaves a lot up to interpretation. How well do our Singaporean kids solve worldly problems with maths and science? Not quite well really. In the meantime, I have no doubt we will score top marks in moral education too, if it is being tested. Like the other subjects, Singaporean students are just too savvy and exam smart and know exactly which socially accepted answer is correct one in any circumstance. However, in practice, we score low on EQ or showing sensitivity and consideration towards the others, be it in local or overseas context, failing every possible test in the real world.

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