Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Benign Autocracy

The preparation for the HDB upgrade continues. In the last week, they have diverted the SingTel (phone, broadband) and StarHub (cable TV and broadband) services, both requiring trenching work. [Side note, StarHub forewarned that the broadband might be out for the whole day Friday for re-wiring but I'm pretty sure it wasn't out at all.] When they laid cable TV services in England, there were "mole tracks" along pavements for the next decade where they laid the ducts. And you know, no matter how hard they try, it never ends up exactly level.

Today, a work gang turn up with a fancy German tarmac lathe and a Bobcat sweeper to rip off the top inch off half the car park and relay it with fresh tarmac. They'll need to come back and re-paint he parking space numbers and double yellow lines but otherwise it's as new. Bear in mind, in a couple of months when the lift-shaft works start, that whole area will be a building site.

To put this in perspective, my road back in England is a lunar landscape of mole tracks and repairs. In fact, the local council cheerfully admit they have a policy of patching reported potholes within days as it's an electorate satisfier, but a proper re-laying of the whole road is "off budget".

When I mention Singapore to people they usually end up talking about either the "ban on chewing gum" (it's not banned) or that "the place is nice but a bit controlling". Well, I hate chewing gum and am starting to think a strong anti-social behavior ticket and a commitment to public infrastructure investment is a good thing. I'm confused as to where that appears on the political left-right scale but then benign autocracy is a broad church.


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