Sunday, September 04, 2005

So this guy Bruce writes about Singapore...

For me, the unsettling aspect of Singapore isn't their repression, which is subtle and always nicely-dressed in legalisms. No, the weird part is the public exhortations, the regime's Taoist PR campaign. They've got some kind of genuine Techno-Confucian Mandate of Heaven thing going on. It's being carried out by really bright, eager, workaholic city apparatchiks who are keenly rehearsed.

Once you've got the population ship-shape through relentless moral pressure and the efficient delivery of social goods, they really don't require a lot of caning and drug executions; on the contrary, even though they're not all spontaneous and touchy-feely, they're proud of themselves. They're not real thrilled at waving party flags and national banners -- they'd obviously rather go shopping -- but, well, they put up with the official triumphalism. They seem to take some comfort in knowing that some exquisitely educated Lion City mandarin is firmly in charge of coining slogans.

Link from Boing Boing.

To me, this deserves a big "HUH?" Partly because of the terms I have never/very rarely seen like "Mandate of Heaven", "apparatchiks", and what have you. I am rather weirded out by the reference to Taoism and I completely do not understand the part about taking comfort in some educated mandarin (oranges?).

The guy mentions the city state machine politics and the competence Singapore's government. He claims "competence doesn't seem like a big deal until you are forced to realize that your own government (US of A) has none". To me a government's competence seems like something one should take for granted. What? You mean not all governments are competent? For shame! ;)


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