I always enjoy visiting other Southeast Asian countries, its always refreshing to be in a real country as a opposed to a city-state on steroids. According to the world of the Singapore media when it comes to reporting events in the region, you'd get the impression that you're living in Heaven in Hell or if you prefer a more accurate Biblical analogy - Paradise dropped in the Middle of Armageddon.
Statistically speaking, there's some truth to this. I can't keep pointing out that you get most of the basics in Singapore - it's clean, green and safe. Our GDP per capita is on par with the industrial nations of Europe and we "kick ass" when you talk about things like government efficiency and transparency (which means don't try and bribe customes). Our Ministers are highly paid but hey, they're only earning "peanuts" when compared some of Wall Streets heroes and doing a better job and spending other people's money.
What do statistics actually mean? For me, I make the odd trip across the Causeway just to find out what it means from time-to-time. I've been shaken down for a bribe once in the last 3-years that I've been visiting the other side. OK, this is a little new to me, such things don't happen on this side of the Causeway.
I also don't drink tap water in Malaysia and in the last three days of staying in Bangkok, I stuck to drinking tea and wine. So far, so good - Singapore still kicks ass. Max did remind me that Thailand had a recent scandal where tourist would be offered free-gifts, then stopped by the police for stealing - the gift giver and the cops would then split the bribe......This sort of thing will NEVER happen in Singapore.
Having said all of that, I don't see much of a desire for Thai's, Indonesians, Malaysians etc to become Singaporean. I mean they don't mind coming to Singapore to earn Singapore dollars - which puts them in the same catagory as Americans, Austrlians, Brits and other desireables. A good deal of the less educated ones don't mind a passport but even then, they don't seem to want to "Beome" Singaporean in the truest sense of the word - which puts them on par with Americans, Australians and Brits (who presume they're educated?)
Surely, you'd imagine that the Thai's, Malaysians etc would be rushing to become us when we have all the things that they don't have. We clearly have better infrastructure as well as a cleaner and safer environment - so why the hell don't they want to become us?
It could be something to do with our personality and our values. For example, you get the likes of the former PGFNB (I got sacked as her PBFNC while on holiday ;) who is not officially a prostitute (goes to Church) but has a shap eye for other people's credit card, car and condo and can't stop talking about the barrow boys who want to poke them. I suppose this type of behaviour is charming if you're a barrow boy living of someone elses money.
By contrast you have the girls in the massage parlours who have the decency not to look through the contents of your wallet after you've paid for one round and don't jabber on about how talented they are.
Thanks to the former PGFNB, I understand why the third world does not always want to ape paradise. What our neighbours have are basically problems that can be solved with money. By contrast, Singaporeans seem to have psychological issues - it could be the inbreeding but more likely it's the way we live our lives. We're a curious lot. The chosen elite a protected from real life as long as they can string a sentence together. When you don't get the thrill and hunger - you get bored and that's a form of stress. The rest of the mice are kept on a treadmill and pushed to get bigger and better things that they can't really afford but need otherwise they're sex organs shrink (though occasionally you get the odd balls who twig that the size of their sex organs are not connected to owning things - but these are highly discouraged)
Being supposedly supperior makes us forget that we're not the centre of the earth. I love the creature comforts of being in Singapore but from time-to-time, a trip across the Causeway helps bring one back down to reality. Sure, it's not as swanky as what we have but somehow people get by and are quite happy. It's especially noticeable when you see the chicks cross over. Suddenly they look prettier - they smile - you'd be surprised how much a smile can do for a woman.