Friday, July 4, 2014

The difference between Malaysians and Singaporeans...

Is Singapore too "orderly"? It depends on the crowd you speak to, I guess. For sure, we can't seem to be able to queue up waiting for the train doors to open. But put up guide barriers, say, at the bank and we will meekly snake in and out to get to the counter even if there's no one else in line!

We are so "well trained" that we will use the overhead pedestrian bridge to cross the road because we have been told to do so. I once did that in Jakarta on a Sunday when there was little road traffic and when I stepped down on the other side a group of loitering youths grabbed me and robbed me before running off. They must have figured out that I was a Singaporean with some money in his wallet.

Two commentary writers in ST (July 4) worry that there is not enough "chaos" in Singapore that can be helpful in our achieving the status of a "smart city" (whatever that means):

Across the Causeway, our Malaysian neighbours KNOW that we are not chaotic enough, in the street-smart sense. They have this wonderfully entertaining comedian Harith Iskander who skewers us Singaporeans and our foibles (and lampoons his fellow Malaysians along the way). Here's his take on

Malaysia VS Singapore


On a more serious matter, the Financial Times' Gideon Rachman puts in the shade the likes of Tommy Koh and Huge White (see my blogpost on Wednesday) with his superb analysis of the international politics of the Asia Pacific:


I'll wrap up with this speech by China's President Xi Jinping at the College of Europe (in Brussels) in April:

There is this enigmatic line towards the end of his speech which I reproduce here:

The world's development is multi-dimensional, and its history is never a linear movement. China cannot copy the political system or development model of other countries, because it would not fit us and it might even lead to catastrophic consequences. The Chinese people, over 2,000 year ago, had come to understand this from a simple fact that the tasty orange, grown in southern China, would turn sour once it is grown in the north. The leaves may look the same, but the fruits taste quite different, because the north means different location and different climate.

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