Singapore stands out like a sore thumb in this part of the world.
Cos nestled among a group of impoverished yet culturally rich countries, Singapore’s astonishing wealth creates a lot of envy.
Even so, I always enjoy a visit to Singapore. Little India. The bookshops. The benches to sit on. The tall leggy girls strutting down Orchard Road. The post office that works efficiently. The pavements. The immigration official who smiles at you, asks you if you enjoyed your stay, and then says it’s no problem at all to put the stamp on a page in your passport which is – horror of all horrors - half used.
We need more of this and not less. And Singapore thinks so as well. Cos that’s why - rather slyly it must be said – the island state has been expanding its territory for a few years now through sea reclamation. Sand is simply imported from Indonesia and added to Singapore; one huge country gets slightly smaller while one tiny country gets disproportionately larger.
In another 50 years, Singapore may even have doubled in size. Don’t quote me on that, but I don’t think such a prediction will be that off the mark!
But Indonesia’s nationalists are none too impressed of course. They don’t like progress and will do anything to stop it – even that seems if it involves blowing up a Singaporean managed quarry!
(Note granite is about twice the price of sand but can be used for similar purposes)
Four blasts hit PT Karimun Granite quarry on Friday morning, damaging two of the five conveyor systems used to transfer granite chips onto barges, confirmed Singapore-based Hong Leong Asia.
Although no one was injured in the blasts, members of Indonesia's elite counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88 have been roped in to undertake the investigation, Batam Pos reported yesterday.
The police have started questioning the workers who were present when the blasts took place.
"They have determined that the bombs used were self-made high explosives," said Batam Pos reporter Sandi Pramosinto, who is tracking the developments in Karimun.
Singapore won’t raise much of a fuss of course and will continue to treat their big brother with the kind of obsequious respect that would even make a Javanese noble cringe.
But should Indonesia really be concerned about little old Singapore anyway? I don’t think so. After all, who is buying many of the luxury properties (like these as advertised in Kompas) on the reclaimed land on the island?
Indonesians of course!