From Singapore with Love

written by Petra Tomljanović, Miro Roman


Interviewer: The greatest invention of this century must be...?

Lee Kuan Yew: The air-conditioner, for me. (Kuan Yew, 2008)


In Singapore, everything simply works. Air-conditioners cool, trains arrive on time, streets are always clean, rain always falls at 5 p.m., everybody has a smile on their faces, and unemployment is 2 per cent. Everything works, everyone is happy. The average outdoor temperature is 32 degrees Celsius, while the room temperature is 22. Prostitution is legal. Pornography is not, and neither are chewing gums. In Singapore, Buddhism coexists with Islam, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism, the Chinese with the Malay, the Indian, and more and more westerners. It is easy to think that it is a melting pot, a fusion cuisine, but in Singapore, the population does not mix, just as they do not mix the ingredients in their ethnic cuisines. Ratios and numbers must always be familiar. There are rules and laws that tailor even the smallest details of human activity. It is a society that works more like a molecular than a fusion cuisine. A discourse the city itself would adopt in describing itself would probably be the one of a fact, supported by statistics, methods of systematization, processing and application of data under the banner because we believe in statistics.