In Singapore, everyone wants to be seen, and everyone is seen. People see people who see people in Gucci and Prada and Zegna, because all that glitters is shopping. Patriotic duty, no less; the Lion City was built on commerce. This ancient heartbeat pulsates deep in the Singaporean psyche, although transplanted from the comatose, balloon-filled River to the vibrant, psychedelic Orchard, which now plays temple to the island’s timeless soul. It wasn’t always like that. The Museum commemorates a “great success”: at the press of an easy button, the smelly markets and riverfolk and twakows disappeared to make way for the gleaming, plastic Quays! A miracle.
If one is not seen, one camwhores. But this is not necessary, because Singaporeans are special, and are always seen. Photographers already take pictures every five steps one takes — so to smile or not to smile, that is the question. Singaporeans are all superstars. Happy ones at that, for they have the best paparazzi in the world: no blinding flashes, no mobs, no interviews! What more can you ask for? Singaporeans deserve perpetual attention because Singapore is a celebrity on the world stage. Tis’ a small (not to mention invisible) price to pay for “unprecedented, breakneck success in a volatile ethnic mix while enveloped by rabid enemies,” yet another miracle. An overdose of limelight? Drown your worries at the malls, for consumption is the best painkiller.
These are the miracles of Singapore: a yin-yang complex of shopping and surveillance that has summoned success after success against all odds. The Dao of Singapore stands tall for all to see. See and gape and wonder, for life is not nasty, brutish, and short — it is clean, air-conditioned, and sterile. Welcome to Singabore.