Happy National Day

A birthday is coming up. We are already constantly reminded. Flags and banners proliferate almost by the hour. In the fast food joints, you spot young men and women of the NS in camouflage fatigues – but somebody should tell the authorities that “NS” is a rather unfortunate ABN (abbreviation) to use for… well everything.

On the day, Singapore’s airforce will thunder over the high-rises, and mark the blue skies with long contrails. And in the side-lanes to the parade, spot the tank force gathering. All this for August 9. And all of this, of course, a demonstration of peaceful intent with balloons and fireworks.

One should hope so.

The Romans had a saying: “if you seek peace, prepare for war.” So maybe the ratio of Singapore’s armed forces to the total of Singapore’s population (as given by Wikipedia) is not at all alarming, but somehow I have the feeling it would be better to tone down on the camouflage fatigues.

Singapore is a city on the way to become the new Athens of the East: a place of clean air, clean streets, good schools, and an economy capable of sustaining the mushrooming of slightly eccentric high-rises trying to emulate the curvature of bananas trying to grow straight. Truly impressive trees fringe the arteries of Singapore’s traffic and the water shortages of a not too distant past is now a thing of the past. That should be the matters to be proud of – and not just on Singapore’s birthday, but 7 days of every week, all year round, day and night. …

That came out wrong, didn’t it? The tourist may not catch it, but we Singaporeans are indeed reminded of our major achievements every day we drive to work getting stuck in the congestions of the rush hour and scrambling to snatch a parking lot from the fellow citizen in his BMW who is ogling the exact same spot. Yes, Singapore’s subway system is being expanded, a project of construction work that is destined to be with us for years still to come. Subways are expensive for every city-development on the planet. For Singapore, this means it is a project of the size of the first moon landing. Now, is that not something to be proud of?

Speaking of Moon landings. Sometime in the coming late 20s or early 30s, we will have a permanent colony on the moon that is meant to be a spring board for the manned exploration of the outer planets of the Solar System. Don’t nail me on the exact date. Please! Way back, NASA had planned for the first landing on Mars in 1986 (sic!), and now we are here writing in 2016. What is far more interesting here are the logistics for these prospective moon colonists of the coming decades: everything in their Lunar supermarket, from soup cubes to chocolate bars and baby diapers will need to be imported, and with steep transportation fees! Sounds familiar? Singapore is an island with land developments on a premium. In other words, like those colonists on the moon, we import virtually everything. In fact Singapore, in a sense, is the test case for the economic viability of future moon landings. What doesn’t work for us here in Singapore on Earth is infinitely more difficult for the “Selenites” (people on the moon).

Though come to think of it, this, too, is something to take pride in: Singapore showing the world how it is done, and better still how to make it work! Our Gardens by the Bay is already testing new technologies that may become meaningful when mankind is going somewhere else – Moon? Mars? – to terraform a hostile environment.

As for now, one thing is certain: whatever they are going to eat on the Moon, apart from standard space rations, Singapore’s almost infinite variety of cuisines will stay unsurpassed. An other brownie point for Singapore to be celebrated on National day.

Bon apetit!

- See more at: http://www.confetti.com.sg/blog/#sthash.eZAz7M7z.dpuf

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