Pre-Election Polls: Singapore Media Asks the Questions

Today (Source: Yawning Bread)

… but does it interpret the answers?

Recently, government-owned tabloid Today published the results of a survey of Singapore “heartland voters” and their reactions to a set of yes/no questions about key issues the country is facing as it prepares to go to the ballot box in May. Today opens its analysis with the following:

As the drumbeats of the General Election get louder by the day, a survey of 618 voters commissioned by Today has found that the rising cost of living here is more likely to influence how the voters cast their ballot than supposedly hot-button issues such as the influx of foreigners or housing. – Today

View the full article and write-up of the results from the Today poll. Continue reading

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Practicing in Singapore

 

Singapore as it turned out was a great stop.  Good food, good fun and good practice.

I arrived in Singapore on a Friday night planning to spend Saturday checking out the three studios with Mysore programs and then trying each of them during the week I was in town.  Part of the Ashtanga “explosion” in East Asia, there are three studios in Singapore with morning Mysore classes – Pure Yoga (on Orchard Rd.), Ashtanga Singapore (on Club Street in Chinatown) and Ashtanga Yoga Singapore (then in Little India, now on Mosque Street in Chinatown).  I ended up staying in Little India at the Perak Hotel (great value and location), I went to Ashtanga Yoga Singapore first since it was a quick walk at 6 am and I had heard good things about the teacher Stanley Alim and he had just been authorized to teach.

The studio was on the second floor of a community arts building on Kerbau Street, near the Little India MRT station.  An old building it faces a little green space which in the evening turned into a beer/tea garden where south Indians gather to watch Chennai movies and Tamil TV.  You enter the main door and then climb a set of stairs to the second floor where the practice room appears right at the top of the stairs.  There is no reception, no sign-in, nothing other than Stanley who either knows you or doesn’t and then asks where you practice, how long you have practiced and do you have any injuries that he should know about.  We went through our introductions and I took a place on the floor with about 4 or 5 other people.

The studio is not air-conditioned which required some pretty careful maneuvers to keep from slipping into Hanumanasana by accident.  I got some good advice from Stanley and slowly began to get used to practicing in Singapore’s hot, humid climate.  By the end of the week, I had actually grown to love the heat and humidity, but had to tell myself every morning to take it easy and to remember that things stretch much more when they are heated than they may normally….

Anyway, Stanley’s helpful instruction, the convenience of the location and the almost storefront nature of the practice space left me so comfortable that I never ventured to the other two studios.  Pure I have used in Hong Kong.  They are a group of studios, well-run and very swank.  I have no information on the other studio in Chinatown, other than it is also on the ground floor of a traditional shop building and has a regular program.  When I stopped by they were already closed and I could only check out the building and pick up a schedule.

For what it is worth, I would highly recommend Stanley Lim’s practice group, if you are in Singapore for business or passing through from Australia or the west coast of the US on your way to Mysore it is a great first stop.

As an aside, Stanley has given up the location in Little India and found a permanent space in Chinatown, which is actually more convenient if you are traveling for business.  The new address is 36A Mosque Street, 2nd floor. Look him up, if you are passing through.

Since I was such a slug about checking out the other studios, if anyone has any specific information, please feel free to post it to the comments section.

Reflections on Singapore

So, as promised a this is the first of a few catch-up posts to get everyone up-to-date on travels thus far.

Singapore is unique in many ways I had not expected.  I had last visited Singapore when I was an associate at AT Kearney.  I had been living in Hong Kong and working on a couple of international projects that required someone in China.  Well at that time, Hong Kongers all shared a certain disdain for Singapore’s overly planned society.  This was back in the late 80’s well before the Chinese took control of the SAR.  Singapore didn’t like people with long hair, no chewing gum, no ear rings on men…

Well, that Singapore has given way to something a little less planned and a lot more fun.  But at the same time, the country/city struggles with how to keep the citizenry engaged in the issues of government without getting into the sound-bite politics of the US and the UK.  I watched their PM – Li Xianlong give the Singapore equivalent of the State of the Union address. He talked about the need to be competitive, the role of scale in building a vibrant global economy, the need to embrace new technologies like mobile messaging and blogs – yes this leader actually knows what blogs are.  Now I realize that there are MANY issues in Singapore politics, but at least the PM expects the citizens to engage in the issues that are important to the country as opposed to those that are required to get votes in the next election.

Other reflections of Singapore.  It is a country that loves to eat, noodles in particular.  If I lived here I would need to get strict about a diet quick.  Every meal I ate turned out to be noodles.  The heat would really impact my ability to exercise – though I did notice several gyms around town.

Another thing is the conflict between all of the new construction and the vestiges of the earlier eras in Singapore.  The quaint rowhouses up above Orchard off of Emerald and Cairnhill.  The Black and Whites – old homes built in the first half of the century for expats and colonial bureaucrats.  I would stumble on these neighborhoods usually by accident and would relish seeing something in Singapore that wasn’t in a shopping mall.

The last thing I would mention about Singapore is the mix of cultures does appear to be working.  Now that could be appearances only.  But the government sponsored support and encouragement of a multi-racial/multi-linguistic society was interesting. And for someone who loves new languages having four languages around all of the time – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil – was always interesting.

The other thing that I couldn’t help but notice is the different perspective on world affairs.  I think I will need to write a longer post on this later, because it continues to strike me here in Australia.  But in Singapore, America’s role in the world is not about promoting democracy in the world, it is about America’s economy and its role in driving the economy of the world.  The wars in the Middle East are about oil; not about democracy.  In Singapore the papers report on regional issues in SE Asia, opinion columns worry over the place of the SE Asian nations when China to the east and India to the west are becoming huge trading partners.  While in the US we sometimes touch on these issues, we don’t talk about them nearly enough.  We seem to be oblivious to the changing configuration of players.  I guess no actor likes to be reminded that they are going to need to share the stage or maybe move from “Superstar” billing to one of many character actors in an ensemble cast.  The implications for employment and training, individual lifestyle expectations in the US are things that leaders with more vision than the current crop will need to discuss with a public willing to listen – not sure either the leaders or the public are ready for this conversation.  Sobering.