What do you think of when you think of Singapore? Rules? Clean? No chewing gum? Crazy-ass buildings? Yep, yep, yep...We had so many expectations for what Singapore was going to be like and I have to say, it sort of met them all. We watched Anthony Bourdain's episode on Singapore just to see what sort of things he discovered about the city and marveled at his incredulousness about how well the city works given the perceived lack of freedoms for its citizens. Why would the success of this city be so astonishing to him? What we found was a well run place where people seem happy. No, not Thai happy, but happy nonetheless. Maybe happy isn't the right word, maybe comfortable is better. We found everything so clean and orderly but not anymore so than in South Korea. But things did feel different. Maybe it was us. Maybe we brought our perceived ideas about how they handle punishment and illegality here and saw things through this lens (e.g. seeing signs saying that riding one's electric scooter in the streets would garner a $10,000 fine and six months in prison and thinking well, that's a bit harsh). Maybe we thought about the fact that people can't exactly say what they want or that the media can't do so either as a problem. But while we were here we started to rethink these notions as we looked around and wandered around and didn't see any homeless people or anyone who seemed truly destitute in fact anywhere. We didn't see anyone who seemed really angry or frustrated with their jobs. Maybe they are and maybe they have to keep it bottled up. Or maybe, just maybe, feeling like you are taken care of and garnering a living wage, a sense of equality and the respect of others keeps you content and not feeling like you have much to complain about anyway. Who knows? What we experienced was a busy, vibrant city full of life and a safety that is not present in the U.S. anywhere. So, go to Singapore and challenge what you think you know about this place. And what you think you know about governance.

helpful Tidbits About Singapore

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Details on our visit

Read, see and hear more about what we experienced in Singapore.