Tuesday, September 12, 2006

City of 4 million smiles

The World Bank/IMF Meetings taking place between 11/9 and 20/9 cannot go unmentioned in this blog. It has been touted as the most important event in the Singapore calendar in 2006, so much so that it has been given a name - S2006 and includes several websites, each for a different purpose:

Indeed, Singapore seems to have got itself into a disagreeable situation with its guests, the World Bank/IMF over its strict enforcement of Singapore's laws on open air demonstrations and the banning of certain civil organisation activists. I don't know if the WB/IMF does not see any irony in their stance of allowing these civil organisations to hold demonstrations in the streets in the name of democracy and open-ness virtually all over the world where it has had its annual meetings, but have yet to address these organisation's issues and complaints enough all these years to make these demonstrations unnecessary. Does the WB/IMF see these demonstrations as validating its meetings and lending a high profile and newsworthy angle to the whole event, gaining it a self-generated importance without which these meetings will be a bore?

Well, they don't need to worry about that. Singapore is sparing no expense (last reported to be S$100m) to make this event the most secure, the most conducive, the most comfortable, the most beautiful and the most convenient for all the expected 16,000 delegates who will descend on the island this week. It has even gone to the extent of engaging almost free labour in the form of students from the Polytechnics, whose mid-semester vacations are in full swing this September, to man various posts such as the kitchens, the e-kiosks and even the tour buses so that the delegates have the best meeting experience of their lives. Indeed, the WB/IMF delegates will be treated like kings and queens this week, going by the importance and attention to detail that the Singapore government has thrown into the meet.

But by far the greatest contribution that Singapore has made, beyond all the smiles and rooms and facilities must be the utter security that the government has blanketed the venue with. This is not coincidental as this week, the world remembers 9/11.

1 comment :

The Void Deck said...

It is slowly changing to City of No-Protest tho, for better or worse, if the media and NGOs had its way. World Bank of coz stoking it so that all can quietly enjoy their shopping and dining here while the heat is on the Spore govt rather than them. LOL but that is my conspiracy theory part talking.