Comment on Culture in Singapore

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to do a little bit of commentary on Singapore.

Singapore has a slight feel of a city-state of modernity in the midst of less developed countries. It is considered one of the four tigers of Asia. The government is very receptive to businesses and offers many tax incentives for businesses to move in and set up shop. Tax incentives in conjunction with the relative modernity of Singapore has led many businesses to open regional headquarters there. In conjunction with the concept of modernity, the government seeks to be a sort of global village and stamps out racism vigorously. Unfortunately, sometimes the methods used to stamp out racism have the side-effect of removing all traces of culture.

An example of this are the HDB (Housing Development Board, check it up on wiki for the full description) flats. Granted, these flats are meant to increase the amount of affordable housing for Singaporean citizens in an increasingly crowded city-state, but their architecture are not meant to be artistic. In building these monolithic, every neighborhood looks like the next flats, culturally styled single/double story buildings were replaced. Seriously, traveling from one end of the city to the other is an exercise in boring sameness. There are a few changes for the malls and commercial districts, but even those lack real flair.

What does it mean to be Singaporean? Perhaps a Singaporean would be able to comment more in depth, but my observation consists of an accented English profile, a liking of spicy food, and a general feeling of apathy towards many things. There's just not much there to encourage rousing patriotism. This is not to say that Singaporeans don't identify as Singaporean or try to hide their nationality, but rather there isn't much in the way of cultural exporting.

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