Singapore, Singapore

We’ve just left Singapore, a city, state, country, and island. It is the world’s second largest seaport next to Shanghai and home to 5.8 million people. In 2015, it was the world’s largest container shipping port and the world’s largest bunkering (oil storage) port. A ship enters or leaves the port every two to three minutes. Twenty-five percent of the land is reclaimed from the sea. The total area of the country is about 700 square miles. They have no land, no resources, no water; what they do have is strategic location and very effective government.

One very interesting part of our visit to Singapore was a visit to the urban planning center gallery, which just opened a few days ago. They have made a fifty year plan with four goals in mind, economic growth, better quality of life for all, preservation of heritage, and optimizing use of the land and sea. Then they built a high tech, interactive center to educate the people, especially the children, and to insure that they will buy into the plan. According to our guide, who is Singaporean and clearly loves her home, that is the Singapore way. In the satellite photo, lower left corner, the brown buildings with no windows indicate buildings that will be built on reclaimed land.

There seems to be a price for this progress and that is personal freedom. You get fined for chewing gum, smoking in public, littering, and many other things. The penalty for dealing drugs is death. On the way into port, we passed a sign with two figures of men, one aiming a rifle at the other with his hands up. We assumed the offense was drugs but we couldn’t read the small print. I’ve never seen a sign like that. Singapore, I could have a love-hate relationship with this place!

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