Singapore’s prison system

A documentary by CNA from last year. Looks like I never posted this on my blog.

4 parts.


Singapore’s war on drugs




But if there’s one thing I remember about Sim by, it’s his criticism of the Singaporean mindset.

The No U-Turn Syndrome, or NUTS, was how Sim viewed how Singaporeans always required a rule base to get anything done.

It’s referring to how in Singapore, u-turns are not allowed unless there’s a sign that allows you to do so, which is different from how other countries do it — you can u-turn unless there’s a sign prohibiting you to do so. And to make things even more fun, there are sometimes no u-turn signs, too.

This also means that when you want to do something, you automatically seek the approval of an higher authority, and if there’s no rule, the default is “no”.

It’s terrible, and forces you to just stay in your lane without making changes.

When I started working, I saw plenty of examples of how this worked, especially in larger organisations.


With the passing of Sim, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of what he said again, and the examples he gave of how inflexible our Singaporean mindset is.

If we’re going to honour his legacy, we should honour his words, too. Because as nuts as it sounds, NUTS is still pretty relevant in our society today — if not more so than ever, with the challenges Singapore faces ahead.

Source: Yahoo News

Third Place

I guess that’s one thing that I do miss in Singapore: informal places that are affordable (almost everything here costs money) and that are not shopping malls (exactly what he mentions in the video).

Sure, there are bars, but they are usually expensive and atas, and not the place people go for an informal chitchat (more for date nights). There are the places around the hawker centres (i.e.: the food courts) with a lot of “uncles” sitting down — but that’s hardly my crowd. 😉

But maybe I’m also just in a bad neighbourhood. Chinatown has more craft beer places (somewhat affordable) right inside the food courts (i.e.: no air-conditioning, but it’s informal and easily accessible).

But I’ll admit I miss the Belgian-style pub where we’d go for a drink before dinner, or later at night for a tea. Places like Fenikshof in Grimbergen.


The pandemic is over: kill the QR menu

The QR-code menu—which you access by scanning a black-and-white square with your smartphone—has taken off ever since. It may dominate going forward. But I hope not, because I detest those digital menus. Never mind dying peacefully in my sleep; I want to go out while sitting in a restaurant on my 100th birthday, an aperitif in my left hand and a paper menu in my right. And as eager as I’ll be for heaven if I’m lucky enough to stand on its threshold, I want one last downward glance at a paramedic prying the menu from my fist. In that better future, where old-school menus endure, I’ll go to my urn happy that coming generations will still begin meals meeting one another’s eyes across a table instead of staring at a screen.

Source: The Atlantic

Every single restaurant in Singapore uses these terrible, crappy UI, QR code menus. They suck. It’s time for them to die in a fire. The pandemic is over and there’s no reason for them to be used.

I need to use my phone, I can’t easily discuss with my party on who is ordering what by showing and sharing a menu, the internet often sucks, and the page fails to load (or takes forever), the UI is broken on a tiny screen (text/ingredients are not fully shown, impossible to scan through a one-pager with 100s of items), some restaurants explicitly ask you to order only from one phone (imagine having two phones ordering food! Nuclear disaster!!) and some of those apps/sites clear the cart when going “back” in the browser, and each have their own, terrible, UI built differently taking forever to figure it out).

Even worse are those menus where you need to fill in your credit card to pre-pay (god forbid using Apple/Google Pay) that block copying and pasting numbers (out of 1password) or clear the input field every time you tab out of the browser and for example into 1password). AAAARGGHHH.

For now, we can’t escape them, but I will happily get out of my way to avoid a restaurant that uses QR codes and get into one that provides a proper menu.