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July 5, 2009

There are a few advantages to being single and childless, I must admit I rarely use them, but this past week I decided to take advantage of one of them.  Take random trips without asking permission!  I opened up the Metropolis and I saw an ad that said, Singapore 9,000 yen!!!   That’s about 90 bucks to you all in the States. Well, I called them up and within minutes I was going to Singapore. I had no ideas or preconceived notions about Singapore.I just did it cuz’ I can!

The only real thing I remember hearing about Singapore was the caning incident back in the late 90s.  Remember that boy who spray painted a car?  Well, I wasn’t too nervous because I’ve never been into graffiti and I think I have enough common sense to stay away from stupidity.

Singapore is a tiny country. It was once a part of Malaysia.  There wasn’t much to do there, but I had a nice time walking the city streets, getting a pedi, eyebrow threading and a henna tattoo!!!

What I found more interesting was their psuedo-obedience. In Japan, they don’t have a law that states, no littering. However, it’s understood that one thing you don’t do is throw your trash in the street. It’s just not done. In Singapore there is a fine attached to EVERYTHING. While I was at the airport I talked with the clerk who told me his friend was fined for ditching his cigarette butt on the ground. Can you guess how much this ‘minor’ offense cost him?  Well, let’s set the stage before I just throw out the answer. This young man was barely 20, a student, living at home with his family and I know you’ve figured this out, they didn’t know he smoked.  So our young friend stood at the bus stop, flicked his butt and wouldn’t you know it?  A plain clothes “officer”  whipped out his notepad within 10 seconds and slapped a $500 fine on our young lad! $500!!!! Yes, this cost him a lot because now he had to actually tell his parents that he smoked and find a way to pay $500 to the government.

I call it psuedo-obedience because for all the fines attached to everything, people still jay walk, feed the monkeys, and litter. It’s not as prevalent as it is in the States by any means, but it’s still there. Maybe they should just skip the fines and stick with caning on the spot! Could you imagine people all bent over at the waist lining up for a beat down? This might actually be more effective than a fine. After all, the pain of forking over a chunk of change will eventually fade into the distance. But that caning will last forever!

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