Friday, October 14, 2005

Asia Dispatch Week: Explaining the Caning

Filed Thursday, 10/13/2005, 9:51 PM by Kirin Sapporo
Location: Singapore

Everyone back in the U.S. tells me the same things about this place: don't litter and don't chew gum, or you're going to get caned.

Mention caning to anyone here and their eyes roll and they say, "Michael Fay." He is Singapore's Rodney King, albeit a more obviously guilty one.

"You know why he got punished? Because cars are SOOO expensive here, and he vandalized many of them one night, for what?" said a local. "If some kid did that to your BMW and your neighbor's, you would probably cane him too!"

He did have a point.

Since Singapore was in the spotlight, it looks like many of the rules have been relaxed. It's a clean city, but to say that there's no litter is simply not true. I was having a smoke with someone next to their car the other night when I asked what I should do with the cigarette butt.

"Don't throw it in the street," she said.

She then proceeded to toss her butt into the grass next to the road.

"Throwing it into the grass, on the other hand, is ok," she smiled. "Like anything, just don't get caught."

Have yet to see any gum here, though. I'm dying for a stick.


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