Singapore Orders Its Citizens to Be Spontaneous


The International Herald Tribune reports on the city-state's attempts to cut loose:

"The future is ours to make," stated bright banners in this tightly bound city-state, which has in recent years urged its citizens to be freer, more creative and more spontaneous as part of a business model for the 21st century.

Two years ago, as a symbol of this managed abandon, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong announced the legalization of reverse bungee jumping, in which jumpers are catapulted into the sky, instead of leaping from a ledge with an elastic cord attached to them in normal bungee jumping.

"If we are to encourage a derring-do society, we must allow some risk-taking and a little excitement," he said, adding, "In fact, so changed is our mind-set that we will even allow reverse bungee."

Singapore, exhibit A for anyone arguing that economic liberalization and personal liberty are separable for the long-term, has actually been trying to push its people to loosen up for years. So is there a Spring Break Singapore in our future? It certainly sounds as if the situation is spiraling out of control:

With some grumbling from older residents, the government also announced that most nightspots could stay open 24 hours and that patrons could dance on tabletops. Even a ban on chewing gum was relaxed for people with medical prescriptions.