What is the government structure of Singapore? What makes it unique among other governments?

By June 3, 2020Current

TL;DR -Thai man educates me on things about Singapore that I’ve always taken for granted!

People who are familiar would know that I love following and reading Bill Chen on Quora. He takes on quite a lot of questions on Singapore and also on China as well as China-US issues.

Another rather prolific writer on questions related to Singapore is Arkaneh Urairat. A Thai architect, Arkaneh is very familiar with Singapore as he has been traveling here very often over the years. Mostly for work, it seems. So his experience with Singapore is less touristy, as his work would have exposed him to more and different parts of Singapore and also to the workings of the Singapore system, especially relating to buildings and facilities.

Arkaneh’s style cannot be more different from Bill’s. Bill’s writing is very no-nonsense, serious and very crisp. Arkaneh’s writing is much softer. Guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Bill’s writing mirrors what Singapore is known for – efficiency and effectiveness – whereas Arkaneh’s style pretty much encapsulates the essence of The Land of A Thousand Smiles. I kid you not, I can almost sense Arkaneh’s smile in his writing!

I’m a fan of both men, go follow them on Quora which, incidentally, is my favourite waste of time, keke.

Anyway, I digress. Was doing my daily scans of interesting things to read when I stumbled upon one of Arkaneh’s latest contributions. This time, he took on the question,

What is the government structure of Singapore? What makes it unique among other governments?

Arkaneh’s answer offers a rather fresh perspective since many of us may take certain things here for granted. The other two answers approached the question from the perspective of real structure, as in British, Commonwealth system, Parliamentary seats, you know, the very important but super-boring stuff, LOL!

So let me share Arkaneh’s answer here:

Singapore government is not divine, but it’s just like any other government in this world. It’s how they work, the efficiency that makes it unique.

“It was hell on earth each time Bangkok’s roads and drains went under repair works.” It was one of my friends who said to me and every Thai hates it.

Every single pedestrian plays tic-tac-toe, hops, and hops at the mercy of road workers who may sympathize and provide a direction so that the pedestrians do not fall off into the filthy open-drain… Not ONE warning sign and not enough barricade or traffic cones, let alone a traffic control man.

Why has doing road work in Bangkok lacked safety factors for the public?

It’s how they work. Many loopholes in the procedure during the selection of contractors, thus make provision of safety for pedestrians have become an” Unnecessary item” and omitted from the contract to save costs… that is the norm.

During major upgrades work on drainage along Bukit Timah Road in Singapore, including roadside drains, to prevent frequent flooding. Public inconveniences are a priority and were kept to a minimum, although disruption and detours were unavoidable. After a year or more of the construction, the people get their life back living without the flood ever since.

(Top) An average roadwork with temporary traffic signs and directional arrow signs.

(Bottom) A signal-man on the job.

E-scooter: Singapore only needs ONE person to get killed by a reckless e-scooter rider. That it is… A ban on e-scooters on the sidewalk with immediate effect. It’s as good as the end of the sale of e- scooters in the country… No such a thing like a business mafia will try to block the ban order.

The Urban Heat Island and Cooling Singapore project has been mapping temperatures across the island, which the public may not even know.

It’s alarming that the heat from the road surfaces, the sidewalks and from concrete flat roofs of the building are visible to other a view from the taller buildings. That includes heat from air conditioning systems.

They set up a task force to come up with a solution.

They passed the instructions on to the Ministry and to practicing architects and Engineers. Today, Singaporeans see all the concrete roofs of recent buildings across the country must be a roof garden… No building‘s owners would shout that it’s unfair to spend more money for people in the taller buildings to see.

Singapore has gone ahead of any country in Southeast Asia in many aspects and Singapore accomplishes what appeared to be impossible, thanks to being a small city-state with everyone hardworking, with strict rules of laws, never mind about the ministers having the highest pay than anyone else.

Credit goes to the people of Singapore, too, as there are more civic-minded people than elsewhere.

Check out the comments to Arkaneh’s answer too! Pretty interesting sharing from Thais and Singaporeans alike.

And oh, Arkaneh also answered another interesting question on “How does Singapore deal with looters”, so you can also go read that if you’ve time!


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Qiqi Wong

Author Qiqi Wong

Insert pretentious crap about myself here.

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