Km 12 181 – Denpasar, Indonesia
The population of Singapore is mostly Chinese, but there are many other people as well, like from Malaysia, India and other countries (offical languages: Chinese, English, Malay, Tamil). Apparently 1.2 Million guest workers live in Singapore (amongst a population of 5.6 Million!), the smallest state of South East Asia.
In Singapore a lot of things are available and reliable. It is true, that it is very clean. The subway is fast and punctual. There is little crime. This is the narrow view from the surface. Beneath you find the same absurdities of the Western world. Greed for money, greed for more.
The city state is managed by a family clan, who controls everything. Some like it, because a lot of things work well in Singapore. A lot of decisions are realised within a very short time. Plus there is nearly no corruption in everyday life. Some others are more critical and would like to have more rights to participate (and bicycle lanes). 😉
The culture of capitalism was promoted radically in the beginnings of the 90s. Everybody should achieve the 5 Cs: Cash, Credit Card, Condominium (=Apartment), Car, Club (e.g. Golf Club). This is the good life, real happiness. End of irony! Funny, that people with a Buddhist-Taoist tradition buy this story and if you look around, people bought it massively.
An example? A local newspaper wants to write about us and sends a „journalist“. When we talk about Central Asia, she asks: „What? They don’t have shopping malls – What do they do in their freetime?“ She bought the story as well. She, as well, believes that personal happiness can be achieved by fulfilling artificially created needs. Nothing than a big lie, which leads to a mass of consumers dragged through life by marketing departments. And along the way our planet got destroyed with this „way of life“.
Nobody learned how to be more open, more smart, more alive with the five Cs. Nobody got more inner balance, tranquility, warmth or compassion. Nobody is less afraid (of changes, of the unknown, of life or death). People are rather more afraid (e.g. loosing everything).
In Singapore, there is another thing. A behaviour which is named „Kiasu“. Our host Patricia explains it to us as the fear to miss out, to be the looser. Thus, to be the one who has only three or four Cs. Or the one who is different compared to all the others. Kiasu leads to extreme social adaptation and shyness.
This is certainly not true for all members of the society and we met many open-minded people. The ten days went by very quickly. We did some administrative stuff (e.g. Indonesian visa) and bought some new equipment (yes, shopping malls!), while in the meantime Patricia (Germany) and her husband Hakim (Bangladesh) cared for us very lovely. After finishing the Vipassana-course in Malaysia we met Patricia and she invited us to her home in Singapore. Both of them looked after us so generously (bread, cheese, coffee (=daily German breakfeast), traditional German food, lasagne, organisational help etc) that we said goodbye feeling very thankful and at ease.
Plus we spend a couple of nights with Xinhan (China) and Emilien (France) from the warmshowers network. They took us to play beach volley ball with their friends, showed us the architectural oddities of the city and told us about their two years long bicycle journey on a tandem from North- to Southamerica and then via Antarctica (!) to Africa (Here is their blog). This is exactly the other half of the world. Just wonderful. Same, same, but different! 😉