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Subject: Singapore #77 - Tightly knotted ties
(Posted on Mar 5, 2014 at 05:33PM ) Tags:
What is it about Singapore (SIN) and a reference to a tie feeling a little tight?

The original mention comes from the (in)famous autumn 1993 piece by William Gibson in Wired Magazine [1.04], entitled "Disneyland with the Death Penalty."

He ends his review of the place and trip there with…“I loosened my tie, clearing Singapore airspace.”

Happy to be out of there, on his way to Hong Kong, he was, at the time, feeling perhaps a bit like these two cats.


Paying homage to the close of Gibson’s piece, this Singapore-set wedding chapter in my book signs off with the nod "My tightly knotted tie felt loose."

My own first SIN trip was three years before Gibson’s, and not that his viewpoint wasn’t valid, (although some criticized it), but I still had a good enough time there in September 1990, even when I was not some typical "shopper on steroids" tourist. Maybe that was because I was living and working in India at the time, but that's a story for another day.

Despite any restrictions and curtailed personal freedoms in that Asian city state, when you are hanging out at a wedding with other single guys like Edward Pickett and Edwin M. Terry, aka Dr. LoveSexy, you can still have a lot of fun there (or pretty much anywhere on the planet for that matter with those two). If Gibson had been in tow with our trio that September 2004 day and through the evening into the wee hours, he may have come away with a somewhat softened opinion. Otherwise, he may have found SIN a tad more interesting back in the heyday of Bugis Street and when it was an international “spot” to hit until the early 80s. It sure seems like the place really knew how to play and get its groove on back then. 

Wedding Chronicles might eventually be banned in Singapore (if not for this particular chapter, then for some other goings on throughout the book), if word gets out, giving it an air of some infamy and added Singaporean street-cred and edge. If so, it would be in good company with Wired Magazine (at the time after Gibson's piece) and local punk rock outfit The Boredphucks (for being cast a little too far out from the normal Singapore mold) and their album Banned in da Singapura.


I still like the place, for a few days at a time anyway, and the food's great, so that is always a good start, at least for me. A few expat friends have lived there, liked it, and I still have some there to this day. But I can see how it may not be for everybody, especially if you are a creative type wanting to push the boundaries of your craft, lifestyle and/or general cultural environment. This short Techinasia piece with Steven Wozniak touches on the general aspect of creativitah there, 

Then again, this whole very recent YouTube spin (embedding was disallowed) on the place and its pluses and minues is also kinda kool, including the angle of creativitah and thinking out of the box. In all tit for tat fairness, this YouTube rebuttal comes back to defend being a proud Singaporean.
 
This Wired opinion piece from 2012 by Kenneth Jeyaretnam revisits the Gibson take nearly 20 years later, but from an insider's perspective. You can be the judge of what’s changed, or not. It’s a certainly better job and closer to the core of the place than I could ever pen. What with all the stuff going on in the world today in many places, and Big Brother watching over all we do anyway, maybe it ain’t so bad after all.

Hey, if  Robert Mugabe is there to hang out, have fun, and shop until you drop by the container load per the 2012 take (partly cuz, uhm, he ain’t allowed in Euroland and the USA) and this more recent health-driven reason, that is saying something too, if not also attesting to the state of medical care there.

Eduardo Saverin moved there in 2009 and renounced his US citizenship in 2011. He seems to like the life there per this local articleI suppose it can’t be all that bad, apart from any purely coincidental favorable taxation advantages that may have factored into his decision making process along the way. Like, the dude musta done some research and tested the waters before diving in. However, this roaming single guy remains unconvinced as to a personal potential long term play there, but to each his or her own. However, I'd be open to consider it though if circumstances offered a move there. 

Maybe they all hang out at Orchard Towers (per my other post on this item) and some of the erhm, uhm, higher-end “health spas” around town. 

In parting, I slapped a few shots of the place together on this Pinterest Board if you want to take a look at the place for yourself.