Just a little excerpt from a little exchange I had on Usenet's soc.culture.singapore...
And yes, Mike, I do have too much time...
From the wild, wild world of Usenet:
> >This is the first I've heard of this. Is it really illegal for kids in
> >Singapore to drink Coke? Singapore is such a Nazi police state
> >that it wouldn't surprise me if it was.
> Actually, yes.
>We also have a strict curfew of 2 PM weekdays
>(unless we're enrolled in full-day military school in which
>case we need to carry a pass at all times or face summary
>corporal punishment), wear camo uniforms regulated by
>law and must preface all conversation with a nice healthy
Ah, but we get to drink expired cans of Cherry Coke (circa 1972) if we chock up enough good behaviour points by not saying anything bad about the local television station and newspapers for at least 4 weeks in a row. Additional points can be accumulated by reporting errant neighbours who let their wet laundry drip into other neighbours' laundry in our glorious public-funded housing. Unused points can be exchanged for Jack boots personally autographed by our esteemed dictators.We are also encouraged to drink our very own Singa Cola and Diet Singa Cola (economically produced by young underprivileged children who would not have any other career options otherwise) to further improve our economy. It is a lie that our Cola factories are toxic waste dumps and slave camps.
We have seen a resurgence in national pride in our Neo-Nazi doctrines, as evidenced by an increasing number of motorcycle-riders donning German army helmets in place of full-face helmets (which are bad because they encourage bank robberies and 7-11 holdups).
And caning is mandatory for most offences like jaywalking, littering,spitting, gum-chewing, possession of Cosmopolitan magazine. Death is only for serious offences like car scratching, running red lights, using the handphone in movie theatres, parking in no parking zones and not singing the national anthem out loud (although our leaders, by virtue of their superior genes are exempted from the last bit).
We do have that 2pm curfew, but on the eve of National Holidays (like the Joyous Destruction of Deviant Books, Magazines and Internet Servers), we get to stay out as late as 3pm.
We are conscripted at 15 and do not finish our National Military Service until we are 50, though the women can ask for early release at age 40 for childbearing reasons. Old and sick people are generally shot or made to clean up chewing gum stains in more toxic areas, like our Chemical Warfare Research facilities.
I hope this helps clear up any misconceptions about our beloved country.If you require any further information to facilitate migrating here or working here, check out our website (diligently policed by our volunteer Young Internet Policing Executive Elite, or YIPEE for short)at http:www.youhavegottobekidding.com.
> >I wouldn't feel safe if I had to worry about the cops prying my mouth open
> >with a crowbar to look for gum every time I walked down the street.
> Neither would I. Where does this happen?
Ah yes, the crowbar bit. I am glad that you mentioned that. You see, this is necessary to ensure that the law-abiding citizens of our beloved land do not yield to Western influence and be tempted to chew gum, which, as you all know, dirties our environment, causes tooth decay, encourages salivation and thus spitting (which is a caneable offence). Chewing gum is also capable of stopping Mass Transit Trains (thus grinding our economy to a halt) and of course, as seen in many episodes of MacGyver and the recent Mission Impossible Movie, enough chewing gum can be used to make nuclear weapons, and hence will soon be classified as a controlled substance, like plutonium and baking soda.
So, really, all these harsh measures taken by our friendly neighbourhood police with their crowbars and stomach pumps are for National Security reasons. I am sure other countries like America will follow suit, once they see the whole National Security logic of our argument. Just like there is a ban on US crypto technology for the same reasons (PGP is available at...), we ban chewing gum.
We do have alternatives to chewing gum anyway. We can chew Rowntree Fruit Gums (which are great fun because they stick to dentures and teeth so one can save them for later and dig them out when one feels like eating them again). We can also chew Spearmint-flavoured condoms. These are costlier but one could presumably reuse them later for safe sex (permit to use the "s" word license no. 452941).
In fact, speaking of sex (permit to use the "s" word license no. 452941) and procreation, we are also gently instructed by our government to stop at one. I do not mean we are only allowed to have sex (permit to use the "s" word license no. 452941) only once but that we can only have one child or one pet. If we already have one dog, for instance, we cannot have a child as the quota has already been met. This is to ensure that we do not face a population explosion, which would be disastrous since our land is too small.
We have tried land reclamation but we can only expand south. To the north is our Malaysian neighbours and general consensus is that we do not wish to merge with them, nor they with us. But we also cannot expand too much south, for that will hit Indonesian territories eventually. Part of our solution is to control the population of babies, pets and cars, and since we can't expand too much sideways, we have to expand upwards, as you can see from our high-rise flats. We are justly proud of our public housing, which we pay for till we die, but it is worth it because it is so big (15 sq metres per unit, one toilet for every 3 units, yes, isn't it just great!). We can also sell the flat when we reach 95 years old or when Windows 96 ships, whichever comes first.
That is why, according to our objective newspapers, we have close to zero unemployment and no poor people, only the financially challenged. Why, even our poor have $70,000 in assets! And a TV and VCR! If that is not progress, what is?
There is a constant need for our esteemed leaders to make such harsh decisions because we are not very good at thinking for ourselves. Hence we are asked to use our independent minds and vote for the right government to run our glorious country for us. This way, we only need to think once every four years.
It is not only chewing gum and babies that we have rules for. We also ban deviant toys and soft drinks. Coke is banned primarily because it sounds like the street slang for Cocaine, you see. We cannot encourage our young people to become open to such suggestive names. For this same reason, we cannot watch the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers because it's name Morphin' suggests morphine. Also, any cartoon super character who is female cannot be called a heroin, for obvious reasons.
Contrary to popular belief, we do have a fair bit of freedoms and entertainment. We can watch MTV (we get the Pat Boone Hour on this). We have decadent local programs like Fashion Unlimited (detailing the creative ways to wear Nazi helmets and jack boots and the right way to march to work).
And where else can local celebrities who look good, act badly, compere shows badly, get to sing badly on an album too? If watching our favorite host-actor Mr James Lye, sing in his manly high-pitched whine -- all in a soft-focus music video, while being physically manhandled by 2 gorgeous models paid to adore him -- is not entertainment, what is?
We can see uncensored episodes of I Love Lucy. We even get Emmy-award winning shows like ER (as in Er, Can I help You?, a local sitcom about socially deviant, chain-smoking, Sega-playing, electronics goods salesmen who work in a store called Pertoooi, which is actually a front for money-laundering and other hilarious activities).
We also get NYPD (we dropped the Blue because that suggested Pornography, and *F*R*I*E*N*D*S* (with all the gay bits snipped off, of course). These more-adult shows are slotted at more adult times, like 2am in the morning, so that children (who have a 12pm curfew) and adults (who have a 2pm curfew) will not be able to catch them. And the programs have to be watched through proxy servers, as is in the case of our Internet access.
So you see, it's not that bad in Singapore, really. We _can_ express our opinions. Or, as our co-ordinator of the Singapore Government Internet Project, Ernie Hai, explains our government's policy on internet access:
"It's not to control, but to protect the citizens of Singapore. In our society, you can state your views, but they have to be correct."
Of course, if we state incorrect views, we are humiliated publicly, or asked to join politics. It is a healthy check on free thought and helps keep our country clean and green, metaphorically speaking. It also ensures that we all have a chance to line up for a chance to buy a condo, so that we can sell the place to someone else who really wants to buy the place.
Hey, crowbars and stomach-pumps aside, we have a pretty darn (permit to use the "d" word license no. 594892) neat country to live in! So there!