The Belly Button Window Details

About Belly Button Window

The Semi-Regular Newsletter


Singapore, February 17, 2000

What Singaporean Rules?

Singapore is on its way to pure chaos!

Serious about a clean subway
check 'em out! breaking rules with a smile!
Perfect: never run, only strut
in perfect order, they glide into submission and boredom
Not a single scratch-bomb!

All week I failed at one of the major goals I had in Singapore: to be arrested. Yes, since Singapore is known as the police state, I wanted to see just how restrictive it was. I wanted to live like a lawless Russian, in the middle of lawful Singapore, and find the invisible barrier between the 'good' and the 'bad' people of the island.

Try, as much as I could, I never even got a verbal warning. Hell, I rarely saw a cop! The vaulted Singaporean security is bunk! Okay, they did have signs warning of huge fines, and if you know Singaporean values, you know they'd rather face the rattan for 100 strikes than pay a $100 fine. Still, I saw all kinds of infractions.

When faced with a red walk signal, about 75% of the pedestrians would wait for a green. But the other 25% and I wouldn't even slow down. No one yelled, as happened to me in Munich, none of the cars speeded up, as the Turks love to do, and never did a cop pull me over for a chat as that London bobby did. I've seen better light obedience in Sydney, where you'd think the laid back Aussies wouldn't even install lights.

Since the island is something like 60% Chinese, I think many rules are to break Mainland Chinese from their foul habits, like spitting. Even with $500 fines, I saw (and heard!), several people a day spit. Now this is a trespass I'm 100% for disciplining, and by the last day, I was ready to do something about it.

I was staying at a hostel across the street from the main police station and they had a big sign out front advertising for new recruits. As one willing and able to keep public order, I jaywalked across the four-lane road, in high rush hour, and waltzed in chewing a nice wad of strawberry Hubba Bubba gum.

Smacking away at my oral pleasure asked the officer on duty where I could apply for cadet school. With a quizzical look, he listened to me tell him his island was slipping into chaos, with jaywalkers and spitters everywhere.

Before he knew it, without my help, that one plastic bottle that was lying on the sidewalk outside the station would multiply to a trash heap that would sink his homeland. That the spitting would increase from a few random people to a crescendo of saliva and phlegm. And the people of Singapore demand a more efficient police force for the taxes they pay to support him and his fat-bellied officer friends.

Just before he and another officer jumped over the desk to arrest me for being an ass, I fled out the door and across the four lanes, leaving the officers swearing at me from the far side of the street. Apparently, constructive criticism doesn't go far in Singapore.

Enter your email for Belly Button Window updates:

1 Comment

The comments on this post are now closed.