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Does it feel like living in a "police state" in Singapore?

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Re: ))

Post by jpatokal » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 9:33 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Falung Gulang (Sp!)
Let me fix that spelling for you. :cool:
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Re: ))

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:41 pm

jpatokal wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:Falung Gulang (Sp!)
Let me fix that spelling for you. :cool:
Found it. Wrong Fix but thanks!

Falun Gong
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Try it out--What's the worst that could happen?

Post by nahsiep » Fri, 26 Dec 2008 1:10 pm

Hi

I'm born and bred Singaporean and have been living in Canada and Australia for the past 9 years. Just returned home 2 months ago. Not trying to be nationalistic like the French or patriotic like the Americans here... there is in general, a sense of 'lack of freedom of speech' in terms of political views on PAP and the opposition, etc, especially if you come from US, England... e.g. probably can't stage protests... peaceful resolutions or peace in general--what's wrong with that?.

If you've lived in China and actually like it there (or so it seems), keep an open mind. Nothing is totally black and white. There's good and bad in everything. You'll see that we have clean streets, a world-class dual-language public education system, fantastic urban planning, low crime rates, fab public transport system, high GDP, greenery everywhere (voted one of the most sustainable cities by the UN), racial harmony... and we celebrate FIVE new years a year (1 Jan western New Year, Chinese NY, Deepavali (Indian NY), 2x Malay NYs (Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji))--not sure if this happens in any other country... absolutely what makes Singapore unique.

When you take all these into perspective, it's not that bad at all here, as it's made out to be, eh... everyone has views on something...

So, try it out here--banish all your preconceptions... and what's the worst that could happen? If you really don't like it here, you always have an option to leave or go home.

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Post by Trekka » Sat, 27 Dec 2008 6:33 pm

I seem to have hit a nerve with you all...staerted a bit of a debate. This was not really my intention, but anywayit is interesting to read all your views. I suppose living there is really no difference to living anywhere.

But...if it is so racially harmonious, as nahsiep states, why do I see so many "racial" stipulations when I am browsing the Real Estate Rental pages: "No Indians" "No Women" "No Singles" "Muslims Need Not Apply" etc..This is the type of things I have never seen in any country I have lived in and that now totals 5, including 2 in Asia. So for a supposedly modern, tolerant city, I find this interesting.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 27 Dec 2008 8:41 pm

It's only the locals who say it isn't racist here. In fact, racism exists here like everywhere else on the planet. The problem here is that the locals have been brainwashed to not see it for what it is. We've had the discussion till the cows came home here time and time again. It's peaceful here because the minorities accept the racism as it's still better than they had before. Doesn't make it any more right or palatable but the end result, or should I say the veneer looks good to the rest of the world and allows them to break their arms trying to pat themselves on the back.

You see, they are pragmatic in the sense of 'if I say something I know I'll get locked up without ever being charged' cause the government still keeps the Internal Securities Act on the books which allow for detention with being charged and with no time limits.

The reason that the advertisements (regarding homes for sale), say the things that they do, is not so much because of racism (although a lot is related to ones race), but because of the government sanctioned racism that limits quota in every HDB estate down to the block level as to how many of each race can live there. The majority race, of course, doesn't really notice this policy as it rarely ever impacts them. The minorities however are always hindered where they can live as the quota's for them are based on the current population racial densities. This is in effect regardless of how much money you have or are willing to pay for the unit.

Regarding rentals, yes, pure flat out racism, but disguised as a preference because of things like cooking styles (cooking with heavy spices & ghee will permeate anything made of wood and will turn rancid eventually. When someone who cooks those types of foods, then when they more out, it usually entails a complete renovation of the unit as it's about the only way to rid the place of the lingering aromas which other races find offensive. Thereby causing the landlords to have to ask for lesser rentals or keep those races who cook that way out in the first place. Sounds wrong and shouldn't be allowed, but which is worse......

....to know up front and not bother to go OR to go and have the landlord take one look at the prospective renter and tell them it's already been rented even though you might have been the first to view the unit?

Take it with a grain of salt (more like a shovel full).

There are only 4 New Years celebrated here not 5 (I am surprised that nahseip would say that, being a local an all. The multiple new year celebrations are but a sop to the minorities just like the GRC's. The GRC's were formed for two reasons, one to let minorities become MP in the government but to also keep them from gaining too much of a foothold by allowing them to hold single seat constituencies in parliament. This way the minorities feel they have a say but also allows the majority to still hold the reigns of power without seeming too autocratic (to the local population only - the rest of the world sees it for what it is).

However, having said all that, this is a nice place to work and earn money and even spend a long time here (in my case over quarter of a century) but it's not a place to retire. (At lease from my POV as you cannot relax here ever. It's never quiet and always expensive.

sms

Now let the flames begin...........again! :cool:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by nahsiep » Sat, 27 Dec 2008 9:51 pm

Hi Trekka, sundaymorningstaple

I think you're mistaken. When I say 'racial harmony', I am not implying that there is NO racism in Singapore. Of course racism exists everywhere, in various degrees. One would have to be a 4-year old, living through rose-tinted glasses to think that racism does not exist. Racism even exists amongst people of the same race... between rich and poor, men and women... Singapore is no exception.

What I mean is, the fact that we get to celebrate different New Years is proof that at the bare minimum, we (and the Singapore govt) acknowledge and recognise differences, at least on this level.

sundaymorningstaple: I was counting Haji and Puasa as 2 different holidays, hence 5 all up but you're right--there's 4.

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Post by nahsiep » Sat, 27 Dec 2008 11:06 pm

erhmmm... i realise i was all over the place... talking about discrimination in general.... not just focusing on racism... yup, that's what happens when you get 3 hours of sleep....

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 28 Dec 2008 11:49 pm

No problem. We all do that on occasion. 'Specially during the holiday season! :wink:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by buttermaker » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 1:45 pm

Police State... no.
In fact I rarely see police, but you get the sense that there are cameras everywhere.
I don't know anyone who has been pulled over by a cop, but many who have received driving violation tickets in the mail.

All in all. I feel it is a safe place, but there is a slight tinge of Big Brother.

Also, living in China, you are already used to the media censorship. It is more subtle here, but, as an american, I find it a bit entertaining.
For example, if you read the headlines in the papers, you'd think that everyone in Singapore was pleased as punch that their city council members (or MPs) got a pay raise to an average of $1 Million SGD.

Just read the IHT, and you can avoid most of that though.

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Post by BodyBlitz » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 1:27 am

well thats because singaporeans have found a common enemy, mainland chinese nationals and Native indian nationals hence we have racial harmony..

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Post by dawgbyte » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 3:09 pm

Trekka wrote:But...if it is so racially harmonious, as nahsiep states, why do I see so many "racial" stipulations when I am browsing the Real Estate Rental pages: "No Indians" "No Women" "No Singles" "Muslims Need Not Apply" etc..This is the type of things I have never seen in any country I have lived in and that now totals 5, including 2 in Asia. So for a supposedly modern, tolerant city, I find this interesting.
I think this is more for practical reason/convenience than racism. Imagine you rent a room for a 3-bedroom, you will feel more at ease if all are girls. You can hang all your underwear in the kitchen or toilet and its less of an issue.

Or I had 1 japanese friend who has an american roommate.. half of the room is very tidy, the other half is... not. The american girl even sleeps with her shoes on her bed while japanese normally leave their shoes at the door. Naturally, she was not comfortable with the setup.

Or I have a friend who stayed with a family of muslims who can't eat pork (and cannot use any cooking utensils for pork), so he sometimes buy canned pork (luncheon) meat and secretly eat it in his room with disposable fork and bread.

Or 1 landlord complained that his last tenants were from mainland china and after the tenant left, his house was a mess and he had to spend money to repair a lot of stuff, and he don't want to get tenants from china after that (maybe this is racism, but his reason is based on experience so it is also his right to choose how to protect his property).

Even here, there are groups for "above 30's", or non-locals only, or Canto group, or MBA.. its more for convenience for same feather to flock together.

Anyway, I can say that life in Singapore is convenient and easy. It may be boring at times, and work can be stressful, but life is also predictable. You seldom see police unless people complain. Imagine you are in kindergarten and you can play as much as you want, unless you bully another kid, then the teacher will come in. On the other hand, if someone bully you, you can rest assured teacher will come and protect you.

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Re: Does it feel like living in a "police state" i

Post by TennoHekka » Thu, 08 Jan 2009 10:11 pm

Trekka wrote:I am being relocated to Singapore and am worried of the prospect of living there. Can any expats tell me how day to day living is there and do you feel uneasy about it. Singapore has such a bad reputation of being a police state, what with all the obscure laws and political supression...is this felt or noticed in day to day life? I have searched all the forums and blogs for info, and there is so much about internet censorship, arrests for small things, public flogging or public humiliation that I am getting the impression that Singapore sounds a horrid place to live.

I have been there 4 times for holidays and although it seems safe and very sterile if somewhat boring, living there is different to a holiday.

Before you all "jump up and down" in defence of an expat life and the like, I have been living in China for the past 8 years, so I am an old hand at expat life...and in a communist country for that matter...but Singapore is just scaring the crap out of me, compared to life in China....help allay my fears.

Also...the cost of living seems outrageous ...can I live and save on 160K SGD a year comfortably, or will it be tough.???
Unless you're running dope, pulling scams or committing felonies, you would have nothing to worry about so long as the cops here are concerned. I'm usually complaining these days that there ISN'T enough police presence on the island, thus my perception (right or mistaken) of more crime and fighting incidences everywhere. Compared to China, crime here is very low, and I trust the Sg cops anytime compared to those guys in Beijing anytime, especially when it comes to laws and quality of policing! Your 160k should be ok so long as you don't live like an oil sheikh here, all depends on your own ways and means.

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Post by TennoHekka » Thu, 08 Jan 2009 10:27 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:It's only the locals who say it isn't racist here. In fact, racism exists here like everywhere else on the planet. The problem here is that the locals have been brainwashed to not see it for what it is. We've had the discussion till the cows came home here time and time again. It's peaceful here because the minorities accept the racism as it's still better than they had before. Doesn't make it any more right or palatable but the end result, or should I say the veneer looks good to the rest of the world and allows them to break their arms trying to pat themselves on the back.

You see, they are pragmatic in the sense of 'if I say something I know I'll get locked up without ever being charged' cause the government still keeps the Internal Securities Act on the books which allow for detention with being charged and with no time limits.

The reason that the advertisements (regarding homes for sale), say the things that they do, is not so much because of racism (although a lot is related to ones race), but because of the government sanctioned racism that limits quota in every HDB estate down to the block level as to how many of each race can live there. The majority race, of course, doesn't really notice this policy as it rarely ever impacts them. The minorities however are always hindered where they can live as the quota's for them are based on the current population racial densities. This is in effect regardless of how much money you have or are willing to pay for the unit.

Regarding rentals, yes, pure flat out racism, but disguised as a preference because of things like cooking styles (cooking with heavy spices & ghee will permeate anything made of wood and will turn rancid eventually. When someone who cooks those types of foods, then when they more out, it usually entails a complete renovation of the unit as it's about the only way to rid the place of the lingering aromas which other races find offensive. Thereby causing the landlords to have to ask for lesser rentals or keep those races who cook that way out in the first place. Sounds wrong and shouldn't be allowed, but which is worse......

....to know up front and not bother to go OR to go and have the landlord take one look at the prospective renter and tell them it's already been rented even though you might have been the first to view the unit?

Take it with a grain of salt (more like a shovel full).

There are only 4 New Years celebrated here not 5 (I am surprised that nahseip would say that, being a local an all. The multiple new year celebrations are but a sop to the minorities just like the GRC's. The GRC's were formed for two reasons, one to let minorities become MP in the government but to also keep them from gaining too much of a foothold by allowing them to hold single seat constituencies in parliament. This way the minorities feel they have a say but also allows the majority to still hold the reigns of power without seeming too autocratic (to the local population only - the rest of the world sees it for what it is).

However, having said all that, this is a nice place to work and earn money and even spend a long time here (in my case over quarter of a century) but it's not a place to retire. (At lease from my POV as you cannot relax here ever. It's never quiet and always expensive.

sms

Now let the flames begin...........again! :cool:
Well, There IS racism on this island, no doubt about it, but its less overt and violent than in the west. No ones scrawls stuffs on neighbour's walls, starts a fire outside the local kebab joint, initiates a fight with minorities here and then shoot or maim them in the heat of argument, cops here don't pull minorities over, taze or beat them up, toss them in for "disorderly conduct" and then drop all charges the next morning, all that stuff you don't see here. True, some of the ads reflect some degree of stereotyping gone wrong, (and I am actually in favor of punitive sanctions against the offenders) but by and large, its nothing compared to stuff outside the region. When my ex- who's white came to Sg, the ones who gave us a hard time were HER fellow whites (at Tanglin, Brit or Aussies, definitely NOT Americans!) and two locals (who were minorities themselves!). No one else gave us any beef, people were actually nice to us! Back in Europe, we got accosted quite a few times, usually she handles them, and one time I had to break the nose of some schmuck just to demand an apology. So much for Sg being just as racist as the west. Gotta call a spade a spade here, Sg's pretty tame in this area, other irritations not withstanding :wink:

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Re: Does it feel like living in a "police state" i

Post by imrankassim » Fri, 09 Jan 2009 1:56 pm

Trekka wrote:I am being relocated to Singapore and am worried of the prospect of living there. Can any expats tell me how day to day living is there and do you feel uneasy about it. Singapore has such a bad reputation of being a police state, what with all the obscure laws and political supression...is this felt or noticed in day to day life? I have searched all the forums and blogs for info, and there is so much about internet censorship, arrests for small things, public flogging or public humiliation that I am getting the impression that Singapore sounds a horrid place to live.

I have been there 4 times for holidays and although it seems safe and very sterile if somewhat boring, living there is different to a holiday.

Before you all "jump up and down" in defence of an expat life and the like, I have been living in China for the past 8 years, so I am an old hand at expat life...and in a communist country for that matter...but Singapore is just scaring the crap out of me, compared to life in China....help allay my fears.

Also...the cost of living seems outrageous ...can I live and save on 160K SGD a year comfortably, or will it be tough.???
If youve lived in China for 8 years, singers will be a piece of cake. Its unbelievably easy to live here, easy meaning you dont get hassled, robbed (well not too often), knifed in the park. Cost of living is not too bad unless youve got the spending habits of a prima donna. The police just cant be arsed, theyre usually seen occupying the food queues at the neighbourhood joints. Lack of human rights, aye maybe if you live on the gaza strip.

Imran

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Hi

Post by Crusoe » Thu, 20 May 2010 8:49 pm

Just reading these threads with interest. I am a UK citizen of Indian origin, in the banking and finance industry, and I am thinking of coming to Singapore from my current place which is Shanghai, but also work in Beijing. I am single, 30 and in quite a senior role at a private equity firm. I must say that in China racism exists only at a very basic level (i.e. that white is great, anything below gradually gets worse) etc, but on the whole mainland Chinese people for me have been the salt of the earth. Always happy to help, never problems finding accommodation or getting served etc. I was deeply shocked, coming from the UK and mainland China, at the number of ads on Singapore's Gumtree offering private housing, which specify racial preferences (often no PRC or Indians). Will there be many options for me beyond hotels/serviced apartments and Indian owned homes? I have really enjoyed living in mainland China over the past 4 years and can also speak, read and write Mandarin very well.

I am not familiar with Singapore so I was wondering whether people can give me tips on living in Singapore specifically for a UK citizen of Indian origin. I understand there are racial policies in force in Singapore, especially with regards to ethnic make up of communities, and I really need to know what they are before I decide to go. Thanks.

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