Thursday, December 22, 2005

Traces of control

There have been moments this week that remind me of the tight hold Singapore has on its systems and people.

The first came on Tuesday when I was out to lunch with some friends. I ordered the set lunch, which had a choice of appetizer, main dish and drinks. The drink choices were some kind of barley wheat drink, and ice lemon tea. I don't like either of them. At first I asked the server if I could get something else. Of course the answer was "no" because there just isn't life outside the box.
Our ensuing conversation went like this:
Me: That's fine. I'll just have water then. I don't want either of them.
Her: (deer in the headlights look) But you need to pick one of them.
Me: No, it's fine. I don't want either one. I'll just have water.
Her: Can you please just pick one?! (bordering on panic)
Me: How about this - don't worry about it. Just keep the drinks, I'll just have water.
Her: But you still have to pay the $9.99 . . .
Me: That's ok (I feel like I'm talking a cat out of a tree)

The second thing happened a friend of mine. She went to one of the Christian bookstores here to buy the book Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias. This is not a controversial book. Ravi Zacharias is a theologically sound man. However, when she asked about it, they sheepishly admitted that this book is not allowed in Singapore. What?! There is no explanation.

Sometimes you fight it, other times you just sit back and scratch your head.

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