Singapore — A British expatriate, in an interview with an Israeli newspaper about living in Singapore, says there is only one political party but that when one lived there one realised that actually one might not need more because the Government worked just fine.
The Haaretz has a regular feature called “This Week At Tel Aviv Airport” which interviews travellers for a slice of life in different parts of the world.
The feature on Saturday (Jan 11), titled “In Singapore, When Something Bad Happens, They Just Ban or Silence It. And It Works Well”, had the British expatriate comment on living in Singapore.
Mr Russel Jones, a 35-year-old banker from Manchester, has been living in Singapore for sometime now. He had earlier worked in Geneva, Switzerland, for seven years. Although he had good things to say about his time in Geneva, readers would get the impression that he enjoyed his time in Singapore even more.
This could be because of his initial impression of Geneva. It was “awful” because “everything was grey and terribly cold”. This was damning indeed, coming from an Englishman presumably used to bad weather.
He added that he did not talk with anyone in his building in the seven years he lived there, “not even on my floor”, something that is considered “normal in Switzerland”.
He added: “All in all, it’s not easy to connect with the Swiss. They cling to the same friends they had in primary school, and it’s very hard to work your way in.”
Mr Jones did, however, end up making friends with the foreigners around him in Geneva. They have become “a network of friends, almost a family” and he has people that he can visit anywhere he goes.
When asked if Singapore, where he lives and works, is boring, he answers: “Not at all.”
He then goes on to say: “It’s very different from Europe, of course, not so liberal. There’s only one (political) party there, but when you live there, you realise that actually you might not need more, because the Government works just fine. When something bad happens, they just ban or silence it.”
Mr Jones added: “If there’s a thing with migration, they allow fewer foreigners to enter. It works well. As a person who grew up in a very liberal universe, you don’t always think they are acting rationally, and no one knows how long it will last, but the fact is that it’s working.”
For him, the proof that it’s working is that 90 per cent of people are employed, the streets are “totally” clean, and, since places like the Philippines and Australia are relatively nearby, it’s a bonus for those who love to travel.
As for the downside of Singapore, he mentioned high taxes, numerous fines, the ban on chewing gum and on eating on public transport.
He added: “There is also the feeling that you’re being watched, because there are cameras at every corner, on every street. I’m pretty sure that they have facial recognition systems.”
Mr Jones noted, however, that the streets are safe for women and that if one leaves a bag and comes back for it, nobody will have taken it. Another plus is the weather, since he likes to go around in shorts “a lot”.
The reader also gets the feeling that he may be overworked in Singapore, since he ends his interview by saying: “I’ll be happy to strike a balance between my personal life and work. I work 12 hours a day.” -/TISG