Tuesday, August 14, 2012




















































Singapore: Stalinist housing blocs & feng shui


After spending a rather unique night trying to sleep on glorified lawn chairs at the Doha airport, I finally arrived in Singapore -- blurry-eyed and confused. And that's not a good condition to be in when trying to navigate through the Singapore airport -- because this airport is HUGE. Imagine the Great Mall of America, Rodeo Drive and a mini-Disney Adventureland combined with more restaurants than you could eat at in a month, an elaborate system of people-movers and thousands of happy tourists and shoppers, all tacked onto miles and miles of terminals, departure gates and runways -- and you pretty much get the picture. The Singapore airport is HUGE.

"Where is the closest transit hotel?" I bleated piteously.

"After Terminal 3, get on the tramway, turn right at Cartier, walk a half-mile past the third food court, it's next to the butterfly garden." Found it!

For approximately $60, I was able to rent a sweet teeny-tiny little hotel room in miniature for six hours -- and promptly fell asleep. It was like they had shrunk a hotel room at the Hilton to fit into your closet. I loved it.

And what's not to like about the Singapore airport -- if you are a Material Girl. Everything you can imagine is on sale here. WHAT will this place ever do if people ever wise up and discover that material goods can't buy you happiness -- and also when the world runs out of raw materials? Then the Singapore airport will be screwed. But until then, the place is like a freaking MUSEUM for material goods, the ultimate wet-dream for Material Girls.

The airport also offers a two-hour free tour of the city of Singapore. My plane doesn't leave for Jakarta for another seven hours. I'm on this!

"The island of Singapore consists mainly of parklands and highrises," said our guide. And it did. So many lovely parks. Hand-groomed parks very much like Central Park in New York -- only miles and miles and miles more of them.

"Why do you have so many parks?" I asked.

"It's good feng shui," said our guide. Oh. Okay. "The ancient art of feng shui tells us that the way your home or business is laid out can strongly affect your fortune. And having good feng shui brings you good luck and having lots of greenery around brings you even more good luck."
http://video.about.com/fengshui/Color-and-Feng-Shui.htm

Well, it does look like all those miles and miles of parklands and trees and manicured flower beds and well-trimmed lawns really are bringing Singapore lots of good luck. America should try that!

And springing up like gigantic mushrooms from all of these parks were many many tall skyscrapers and housing blocs. The total effect here reminded me of Pyongyang, up in North Korea. After Americans had leveled the city flat with thousands of bombs back in the 1950s, Pyongyang was rebuilt on a grid of parklands, skyscraper hotels for tourists and Stalinist housing blocs.

Of course the parklands in Singapore are hecka lot nicer and the housing blocs here are far more luxurious than in Pyongyang -- but the effect is the same: The good feng shui of parks to offset the bad feng shui of housing blocs and skyscrapers.

Back home in Berkeley, our current mayor and most of our city council appear to be trying to Manhattanize Berkeley just as fast as humanly possible. But. They are leaving out that other highly important ingredient of good feng shui -- the parks. If our current mayor wants to cram Berkeley full of Stalinist housing blocs, fine with me. But where are the parks? So next election I'm going to vote for Kriss Worthington for mayor instead. http://www.krissworthington.com/home/

That is, if I ever get out of the Singapore airport alive. One could live here comfortably forever -- except that there are no parks (unless you count runways).

PS: Mitt Romney has named Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. Paul Ryan! Electing those two would be like electing the Beagle Boys to guard Uncle Scrooge's bank vault. With Romney and Ryan in charge of our treasury, we can almost count on being burgled for every last red cent that we own.

A vote for these Beagle Boys may be a really great idea -- but only if you yourself are a Beagle Boy too. Most of us are not.

According to Robert Reich, "Republicans want to obliterate any trace of the [Bush] administration that told America there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and led us into a devastating war; turned a $5 trillion projected budget surplus into a $6 trillion deficit; gave the largest tax cut in a generation to the richest Americans in history; handed out a mountain of corporate welfare to the oil and gas industry, pharmaceutical companies, and military contractors like Halliburton (uniquely benefiting the vice president); whose officials turned a blind eye to Wall Street shenanigans that led to the worst financial calamity since the Great Crash of 1929 and then persuaded Congress to bail out the Street with the largest taxpayer-funded giveaway of all time." http://www.nationofchange.org/erasing-w-1344692189

Bush was the ultimate Beagle Boy. And now we are supposed to forget all that and let them force the Romney-Ryan Beagle Boy team on us too? Exactly how dumb do they think that we are?

What would Unca Scrooge do?

Maybe I should just stay here in Singapore after all -- because it has such good feng shui. But no. My flight leaves for Jakarta in two hours and there are no backsies on my plane ticket.

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