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Goethe: Redux


--A Street

Jetter, Carpenter

Jetter. Hist! neighbour,--a word!

Carpenter. Go your way and be quiet.

Jetter. Only one word. Is there nothing new?

Carpenter. Nothing, except that we are anew forbidden to speak.

Jetter. How?

Carpenter. Step here, close to this house. Take heed! Immediately on his
arrival, the Duke of Alva published a decree, by which two or three, found
conversing together in the streets, are without trial, declared guilty of high

Jetter. Alas!

Carpenter. To speak of state affairs is prohibited on pain of perpetual

Jetter. Alas for our liberty!

Carpenter. And no one, on pain of death, shall censure the measures of

Jetter. Alas, for our heads!

Carpenter. Verily, it's as bad as fucking Singapore!

Apologies to Goethe. Taken from Egmont.

You have to note these things when you note them, or else they pass.

[Addendum: damn, I left out the link to the SMH! What an idiot!]



Posted by: expat@large on Jan 14, 08 | 1:17 am | Profile


I am amazed the Mr Lee of Singapore saw fit to go pay his respects to his contempory from Indonesia on his death bed.

It speaks volumes about the freedom in Singapore that Mr Lee would be on good terms with such a lovely bloke!

Posted by: sino man on Jan 14, 08 | 2:44 pm

Maybe looking to pass on some tips on immortality.

Illegal cash from Indonesia during Suharto's reign - and of course after - has propped up the "financial" (read money laundering) institutions of Singapore and helped sustain Singapore's growth and development, to Indonesia's loss. It is the pattern of Singapore to feed off its corrupt and ineffectual neighbours, as a vulture thrives on carrion.

Part of the Singapore success story is its tendency to not pay properly for labour sourced from those neighbours. Maids (who free up University educated wifey for the higher-end labour market) and indentured builders, for example get paid a pittance. (Those Philippine maids may also be university educated, but that's nether here nor there.) Now we are looking to Cambodia and Myanmar for more maids (and presumably other low cost workers) as they are more grateful to have jobs. 24 hrs 7days wiping grandmas dribbly bottom while washing the three cars two times a day and cooking six meals for the privelege of grabbing some left-overs and getting a few slaps with the hot iron - plus servicing "sir" when "madam' has a headache... don't ask me about maids and happy endings; there are none for them.

Posted by: expat@large on Jan 14, 08 | 3:20 pm

Hemlock also has kind words - some sordid details of the Suharto progeny, and nice sideswipe at the Minister Mental.

Posted by: expat@large on Jan 14, 08 | 3:26 pm

I guess Australia is one of the biggest peices of carrion for Singapore now. They officially own more of the place than the Australian government now. Time to either become a singa citizen OR a large investor in Singapore?

Posted by: sino man on Jan 15, 08 | 6:11 am

Yeah, that's right, when we decided to privatise all our Government owned utilities, we didn't think we'd be selling them to a foreign government!

Australia is an open-cut mine with a beach view.

Posted by: expat@large on Jan 15, 08 | 9:56 am

Expat, I am always interested to see if in fact governments are totally unable to run efficient services as I always felt was the case as a young right leaning business graduate.

I think on reflection from my travels that some governments actually do a fairly good good at running some businesses and also turn a profit for the society. In any case I fail to see why subsidising a private (usually foreign owned in Melbourne's case) company to run a poor public transport system is preferable to forcing the government to run a good system themselves.

Is the transport in Singapore state run or private?

Posted by: sino man on Jan 15, 08 | 12:46 pm

See Scandinavian countries for efficient Government run utilities.

It is not so much "efficient services" as equitable services that are required in the wide expanses of Australia. Private enterprise looks the opportunity to make profit, that is all. "Ineffecient" lines are therefore closed down. People in outlying areas now have to take buses or private transport, ship their good by truck rather than rail, all of which have a negative environmental impact and contribute to traffic problems and road-wear, requiring further and continual outlays on road infrastructure, funded of course by the tax-payer. What is the primary goal a rail-system? To make money or to provide transport? In Australia the concept of a "fair go" was our notion of a benign socialism, whereby profitable regions covered the loses in farflung regions. Everyone go a train ride, everyone got a fair go. "Fair go" politics has quite unfairly, gone.


Everything in Singapore is directly or indirectly state-run. Even the taxi services. The entire state of Singapore IS a business, set up in such a way as to make certain families richer. "Private" or "state" run, therefore is a homologue. The state of Singapore IS a private enterprise.

The transport system works efficiently (profitably) because of the small distances.

Posted by: expat@large on Jan 15, 08 | 1:37 pm


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