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


Should The Lion State Be Renamed The Nanny State?
April 16, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I love Singapore, I really do.

I also admire the place, because what they have achieved in 50 odd years is amazing.

So much of that is down to Lee Kuan Yu – Singapore’s founding father and patriarch – a man who had the vision, drive and resolve to drag the country to the place it currently occupies, a place that is the role model for so many other nations, not just in Asia but around the World.

Of course the way he did that was almost dictatorial … and while the place claims to be a democracy, anyone who has lived there knows it is anything but.

That said, the amazingly positive effect his leadership has had on the country and its citizens cannot be denied, but the cost of that is rarely discussed.

There are many byproducts of this sort of dictatorial approach to building a nation and Singapore is currently going through some of them.

From cultural arrogance to the obsession with materialism to the collective sense of entitlement to the divide between rich and poor, Singapore’s success has created some less desirable traits however the one that is – for me – the most alarming, is the dumbing down of decision.

Everywhere you go, there are signs and messages telling you what to do and how you should think.

From signs in malls reminding people it’s wrong to steal to campaigns ridiculing kids who act in ways the government view as inappropriate, this spoon feeding mentality prevails.

However I saw something recently that even shocked me.

A new low in treating the population like fools.

Come on Singapore … really?

What next, road signs on the pavement for which direction you should be walking.

If they really want to do a sign on the escalator, it shouldn’t be where to put your feet, it should be to tell people to stop stopping at the bottom/top of the escalator as you decide where to go, when there’s people coming up/down behind you.

Years ago we used the business consultant Geoff Burch for a project.

He told us that he once was working with a car company who was suffering from a lot of customer complaints.

He suggested to them that their after-sales people were empowered to make some decisions, only to be told that if they allowed that, they would exploit the system and give away too much to anyone they wanted to help.

Geoff looked at them and said 2 things:

1. Maybe you should be hiring better people.

2. Maybe you should make your products better.

I can’t help but feel that if the Singaporean Government feel it necessary to tell people where to place their feet, they should look at what sort of nation they’re building, nurturing and celebrating.

Sure, they have – and continue to do – amazing things for their small country, but there’s no point having a population of very educated, very smart people if they can’t think or make decisions outside of their core competency.

Unless, of course, that is the master plan to keep your unique form of democracy in power.


39 Comments so far
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Wave bye bye to your Singapore PR status. Another country you’re going to be banned from. You’ll be more undesirable than a NSA leaker soon.

Comment by DH

except his is the sort of leaking that requires adult fucking pants.

Comment by andy@cynic

Thanks a lot Andy, but I’m not in need of this. Yet.

http://tinyurl.com/myo6k56

Comment by Rob

Leave your bag at Singapore airport again and next time you’ll be thrown in jail.

Comment by DH

Yes, it’s not a coincidence that this comment appears when I don’t have any trips to Singapore in the foreseeable future.

Comment by Rob

And that isn’t even how you use escalators. One side is for walking down/up, the other is where the lazy stand and wait. Unless they’re saying everyone in Singapore is lazy. You did say they have entitlement issues.

Comment by DH

i fucking hate those pricks who think the escalator is a place they can have a fireside fucking chat with the bastard next to them. theyve been together for the past fucking 3 hours, what else have they got to talk about? fuckers. they should fuck the fuck off.

Comment by andy@cynic

Feeling better now?

Comment by Rob

I hadn’t thought about that. Jesus, you’ve made a valid point Dave, what on earth has got into you?

Comment by Rob

You hadn’t thought about that? The proposed London version with walking footprints on the left side was all over the internet months ago!

Comment by John

I know you might find this strange John, but not everything on the internet gets to me at the same speed as it gets to you. Hence I write about valentines day campaigns in December and Christmas in March. Maybe I need to have some more holidays to not let this slip any longer.

Comment by Rob

Im sure it was in the National Enquirer too.

Comment by John

Then you are right John, Robert should definitely have seen it.

Comment by George

Don’t you start George.

Comment by Rob


that figures, singapore is the fucking switzerland of asia.

Comment by andy@cynic

Singapore can make the Swiss look sloppy and the Germans hilarious. Sadly they cant make Nottingham look pleasant. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

I though Geoff Burch was a dick. I know you and George liked him, but you have no taste.

Comment by Billy Whizz

you mean the dick that won us the business that paid your inflated fucking salary. that dick?

Comment by andy@cynic

Hahahahaha … and I remember why.

Comment by Rob

I don’t, could you enlighten me.

Comment by George

It is hard to criticise a nation that has achieved so much in such a short time, but your point that action has an implication is a good one, though I’m guessing most Singaporeans would say it was worth it.

Comment by Pete

I should have added a “lah” at the end of that comment.

Comment by Pete

bu ming jue li

Comment by John

I can’t believe you said that John when the term appeared on the internet ages ago. Boom Tish.

Comment by Rob

Until I saw Robert’s comment, I assumed John was giving the commentators on this blog their own North Korean dictator name.

Comment by George

You haven’t got your finger on the digital zeitgeist then have you.

Comment by Rob

For a man who travels as much as you Robert, I would have thought you had seen the escalator footprints before. Many countries feature them, however I agree the reason for Singapore’s use of them may be more heavily influenced by the issues you raise in the post.

Comment by Lee Hill

Must be down to his gilded lifestyle and the fact that he’s carried aloft by a team of bearers so that his unprotected feet don’t have to touch the ground. Or even look at it.

Comment by John

It’s so you can tell if you’ve put your Birkenstocks on back to front.

(There’s more Birkenstock news in the Telegraph today … apparently they’re ‘trending’, whatever that means.)

Comment by Ian Gee

It means the end of civilisation Ian.

Comment by Roberto

In other news – which possibly proves karma exits – WordPress has decided to [1] classify me as spam, resulting in none of my comments getting posted on here so I’ve had to come up with a ridiculous name to be allowed back on here and [2] start making this site do weird stuff like send me all the comments of the last month to my email.

I don’t know how you guys did it, but congratulations.

Comment by Roberto

If it was London, they would have to design them to tell poor foreigners to not stand on the left, unless they want to suffer at hands of irate commuters.
I once ended up chatting on a train to teachers who were taking a group of disadvantaged kids to London. The sheer wonder in their eyes (the kids) at Doncaster, that;’s right Doncaster, made me internally angry with London folks shoving visitors aside. You should have seen their faces at Kings Cross.
Anyway. I’m off for a WELL EARNED holiday.
Will be discussing a number of things as you know Robert.

Comment by northern

Oh to be a fly on the wall.

Comment by Roberto

Maybe not., this time last year I stayed up with Dad watching Match of the Day drinking Whisky, don’t remember going to bed, but I know I went before he did
Next morning Mum wouldn’t speak to him because he’d pissed on the living room carpet….

Comment by northern

I love your Dad and at this exact moment, I don’t love a single soul past my wife, cat and Mum.

It’s been an utterly, utterly shit day.

Comment by Roberto

Not as much as I love him can’t to see him tomorrow
And my wife
And my kids
Sorry to hear about your day but pleased my dad and I moderately cheered you up

Comment by Northern

A timely win by Dentsu to make a campaign telling people how to behave on public transport:

http://mumbrella.asia/2014/04/land-transport-authority-appoints-dentsu-graciousness-public-transport-campaign/#more-22019

So much #facepalm that this is a thing.

Comment by Oz

When you think your people can’t think you should be questioning your involvement in that situation. Instead, they carry on thinking they’re just protecting their people from themselves. The true definition of delusion.

Comment by Roberto




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