January 16, 2000 |
Artists were told to flourish, kids to think more independently, and citizens to relax and have more fun. The official messages were to herald a new era of openness in Singapore, eager to improve its authoritarian image and draw talent from abroad. The purported shift was much touted in Western media. Time magazine extolled "swinging Singapore" in a cover story last year.
October 20, 2002 |
The first thing I noticed when I rode into downtown Singapore at 3 a.m. was the garbage-strewn field -- cans, cigarette butts, gutted cartons of take-away food. Could this be Singapore? Squeaky-clean, litter-at-your-peril Singapore, where even chewing gum is outlawed? The answer would come soon enough, and like much about Singapore over the next five years, it would surprise me.
September 26, 1986 |
At last month's National Day rally, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew held forth for more than two hours, detailing past successes and demanding continued diligence of Singapore's 2.6 million people. As always, he made no apologies for his quarter-century of tough rule. "Whatever I do I am prepared to justify publicly," he declared. "Whatever I cannot justify, I never do."
December 1, 1991 |
A shiny green mat, cut from a broad banana leaf, was placed in front of me at the small restaurant in Singapore's Indian quarter. Then came lunch: a robust curry feast of tantalizing aromas--served without plates or utensils or napkins. A waiter moved around the table, plopping spoonfuls of white rice in the middle of each leaf. Others dished out mounds of okra, corn, pink prawns, curried mutton and golden tandoori chicken. Stacks of Indian bread came next, and cold mugs of Tiger beer.
August 29, 1993 |
Former Deputy Prime Minister Ong Teng Cheong became Singapore's first elected president Saturday despite a strong showing by a reluctant opponent who had barely campaigned. Backed by the ruling People's Action Party and the nation's labor unions, the 57-year-old Ong was heavily favored to win a six-year term in the newly strengthened post. He faced token opposition from Chua Kim Yeow, 67, a retired civil servant and banker who said he was urged to run in order to provide a contest.
January 31, 1988 |
Seven of a group of nine Singaporeans who received kidneys in transplant operations in China last November have died, the Straits Times said Friday. Relatives of the victims complained of "appallingly unhygienic" conditions in the hospital where the operations were performed, the newspaper said. "They also spoke about having to offer doctors money or gifts after each operation," it said.