When we moved to Singapore, I assumed that the country’s reputation of being crime-free meant that you could leave your purse lying out in the open and that no one would ever think a whit about security. That turns out not to be the case. People here worry about security a lot — you’ll find many “if you see something, say something” signs; women hold their purses close; and you need three distinct key swipes (front entrance, elevator, and front door) to get into our apartment. My friend Dan says that, in Asia, there is a direct relationship between how safe a country actually is and how much concern people have for their safety. So far, with a sample group of one country, I would say he’s right.

And SAS (that’s my school) has everyone else beat on the security front. When you walk up to the front entrance as a pedestrian, the first thing you might notice is barbed wire:

Then you have to swipe your security pass to get through a turnstile (and there’s usually a security guard in front):

Then you walk through a secured covered area:

And then you swipe through a second turnstile in front of another security guard:

Then you pass a security post (it’s the hut on the right in the photo below), which houses more security guys (in addition to the guards who patrol the driveway):

I’m assuming they have all sorts of video arrays in there, because there are cameras all over Singapore, but I really don’t know.

If you take the shuttle from the subway stop to the school, you swipe your ID when you get on the bus — and then a security guard boards at the school entrance and asks to see everyone’s IDs.  So in a few short days, I’ve concluded that SAS takes safety very, very seriously.  They mean it. Liz Hirsch, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re smiling (or grimacing, or both).

A few updates: first, I have pretty much moved into my office with my meager but important belongings (my toys are what really matters):

The walls are bare, which is a problem, but I’m going to look at it as an opportunity to buy art on our travels (though I really wish I’d shipped out more of my mom’s paintings).

In another piece of news, as I write, we have been at the phone store for over an hour and a half, trying to get mobile plans and buying Pres a new phone. The inefficiency at the telecom store gives the bank a run for its money. Oh, and our wifi saga continues — we now have no idea whatsoever when we might get wifi in our apartment.

Finally, I survived my first four (!) new student/family registration meetings at school today. One family with twins came in this morning (instead of tomorrow) by accident, and I suddenly found myself with three 9:00am appointments. That was exciting. But I made it work somehow. Now I need to set myself to the project of learning the registration software … It’s a real brain teaser (my mentor helpfully compared it to the logic puzzles on the LSAT).

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