The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Most Unambiguous Place On Earth?
January 5, 2010, 6:35 am
Filed under: Comment

Following on from my post of last year, I saw this sign in a shop …


Yes … it’s a no smoking sign … but look at those 2 little words under the image.


BY LAW!!! ???

Christ almighty, that’s pretty big isn’t it? I mean, it’s saying that if you do in fact light up a fag, you’re not just breaking the shopping centres rules, you’re actually going against the countries. In short, you’re a bloody terrorist, Or rebel. Or demonstrator. Or a rebel terrorist demonstrator!

To be honest, I think people would understand they couldn’t smoke from the image alone … however the good ol’ Singapore Government doesn’t want to leave anything to chance … so not only do they want to make sure that you know they are really, really serious about not smoking, they want to make you aware that no where on the island is safe from their iron-fist and if you take the piss they’ll cane/jail/hang you.


Now I’ve written in the past how Asia tends to not leave anything to chance.

The airlines are called ‘[Insert Country] Airlines’.

The jewellery shops have names like ‘Expensive Jewellery’.

The cafes give themselves monikers like ‘Big Eat Cafe’.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with this – but linked with my rants of the past regarding how Asian education tends to be centred on ‘memorising’ rather than ‘learning’ – it’s little surprise that the concept of ‘conceptualisation’ is something people find quite hard to grasp.

The weird thing about all this though is the Asian culture pretty much sees meaning in everything said/seen and done … their ability to read subtext is second to none … and when you marry that to the fact the region contains some of the smartest and most creative people I’ve ever met … you’d think this overtly literal attitude towards messaging, especially communication based messaging, could be overcome.

And here’s the thing, I genuinely believe it could … however whilst it would take some time, I believe one of the main reasons it is not embraced is that in a place like Singapore, keeping people in a state where they ‘follow orders’ and seek to be ‘spoon-fed’ information keeps the Government in control and keeps the country on the ‘straight and narrow’.

I’ve spoken many times of my adoration of Singapore – and without doubt I think it gets a bad rap – but I do think this subliminal ‘fear & control’ attitude has dangerous implications … not in the sense they’ll be a revolution or anything like that, but in the countries ability to adapt to changing needs and demands because if it can’t do that, it’s only ability to attract foreign talent will be through giving more and more incentives and whilst that may help continue the countries incredible growth, like Wal Mart are with China, their prosperity is no longer really in their hands, regardless what they may think.

10 Comments so far
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am i in a fucking dream or just woken up from one?

i swear to fucking god that i thought it was two thousand and fucking ten but dragging up “singapore functions like kids” is so 2005.

have I just had a fucking bobby ewing daydream experience! just my fucking luck.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is your second best blogpost of the year.

Comment by John

Happy new year everyone. This post didn’t make me laugh as much as the identikit one but I liked it even if it did bring back frustrating memories of my time in Singapore.

I think I know what you’re referring to with the Walmart comment but could you elaborate just to make sure I get what you’re getting at.

Good to have you back Rob.

Comment by Pete

It must be 2009 because Andy and John’s comments are as bad as they have always been.

And my point regarding Walmart is that whilst they were pioneers in using China to manufacture cheap products for sale in their US stores, their reliance [or should I say ‘over-reliance’]on their Asian manufacturing partners has resulted in a situation where I believe they are no longer in control of their destiny, but at the mercy of their componant manufacturers whim.

Whether this ‘worst-case-scenario’ will eventuate is open to debate because let’s face it, they both need eachother to survive and thrive – but just like the retailers fucked the brands in the 90’s, I believe some manufacturers have the opportunity fuck the retailers should they feel it will produce better financial returns and, if rumour is true, this situation has already started with one very high-profile global brand already being held ransom to the demands of their Chinese product manufacturer.

We’ll see …

Comment by Rob

So are Singapore brothels called “penis parks”?

Comment by DH

No, “cockpits”.

Comment by Rob

“Of course there’s nothing wrong with this – but linked with my rants of the past regarding how Asian education tends to be centred on ‘memorising’ rather than ‘learning’ – it’s little surprise that the concept of ‘conceptualisation’ is something people find quite hard to grasp.”

Memorising rather than learning – watch this new Indian movie called 3 Idiots.

Comment by Anjali Ramachandran

Cool 2010 to all.

Nice to have you back Rob but this post seems to be for Anjali’a benefit as she appears to be the only person who doesn’t think you’ve written this post before. 

Will tomorrow be your theory on metrosexuals or how you love queen and birkies? Wouldn’t you find it easier just to copy and paste rather than re-write?

Comment by Bazza

It get’s worse:

Comment by Rob

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