Signs & Sights Around Town

There’s always something new around the corner in Singapore. For example, while Mom, Prescott, and I were away in Vietnam, a wild boar attacked a man in our neighborhood. The attack was a little too close for comfort: it took place about twenty yards from the spot where we wait for the bus to go to work every morning. (If you like narrative resolution, I can tell you that the man’s legs were injured, that the boar was chased off by another man who leapt out of his car and beat the boar off into the street with a cane, and that the boar was then hit and killed by a passing bus.)

In good Singaporean fashion, the government responded with a meeting:


We chose not to attend, but I have read up on what to do if a wild boar happens to show up while you’re waiting for the bus. Among other helpful bits of advice from the Singapore government: don’t feed it.

In other unexpected findings, I saw this poster hanging on the door of a nightclub when I was out walking yesterday:


You just don’t see many references to the LGBTQ community when you’re out and about on the streets here. While Singapore prides itself on being an advanced society, it is remarkably old-fashioned when it comes to same-sex relationships. Sexual relations between men continue to be outlawed (though the ban is not really enforced), and there are no legal protections (or even allowances) for same-sex couples. The government says that the country is not yet ready to consider same-sex marriage because the population is too conservative. So while we do have some openly gay individuals and couples working at Singapore American School, and while one of my friends says that the gay scene here is actually fun, I continue to be amazed that this country still has these human rights limitations.

On the subject on laws, I found this public service announcement at a bus stop:


What surprises me here isn’t the warning itself — it’s the fact that the punishment is spelled out at the bottom. I’m not used to seeing criminal consequences outlined in public view. As a side note, if you prepare to cause “death or hurt” to commit theft in Singapore, you can get up to 10 years plus “not less than 3 strokes of the cane.”

Interestingly, while everyone in the US seems to know about caning as a form of punishment in Singapore, it’s not much of a topic of conversation here. But over 1,300 people were caned as part of their criminal sentences in 2016, so I’m surprised that people don’t talk or write about it. Also, it’s worth noting that kids — but only the boys — can be caned in Singaporean schools. That appears to be an inheritance from the Brits.

On the lighter side, members of the Thoughtful Bunch keep popping up with new messages. Here’s Give-Way Glenda showing us how to let people off of the trains in the MRT (if you’d prefer to return to the darker side of Singapore, note the ever-present surveillance cameras at the top):


And here’s Bags-Down Benny, encouraging us to make more space for our fellow passengers (and driving me crazy with his terrible grammar):


If you like the Thoughtfulness Bunch and want to rock out with them, this video has been playing on some of our MRT screens.

In other sights, Singapore continues to have some beautiful cloud formations. I saw this on the bus on the way home from work:

And while we don’t have a lot of stunning sunsets, I was lucky enough to catch this one as I was working out at my gym downstairs…IMG_5653

… and this one from my balcony:


The last finding of recent note has been of a book written by my friend Laura Amy Schlitz, the Lower School librarian (and Newberry Medal winner) from Park School. It’s right here on the bookshelves in Singapore!


I found this on a visit to Littered With Books, a wonderful bookstore in an old shophouse. It’s probably my favorite bookstore in Singapore. Here’s their staircase to nowhere:


I didn’t buy any books — I continue to slake my thirst for words at the SAS library — but I would love to pass on a recommendation for a book that Laura recommended to me: A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. It’s wonderful.

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