Singapore will now permit bungee jumping. Also, people can dance
on the bar in saloons allowed to stay open 24 hours. And theater
performances can use explicit language.
"In fact, so changed is our mind-set that we will even allow
reverse bungee," Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said Saturday,
in launching a "Remake Singapore" program designed to
shake up the dull image of this famously uptight city-state.
at least try.
While being catapulted into the sky at the end of a giant rubber
band is now allowed, jaywalking at bus stations is forbidden.
So Singapore's government remains in strict control, even in
its efforts to loosen up and market itself as a media and arts
Among the committee's more than 100 proposals to remodel society
is an "Audience Development Fund" to "educate"
citizens about art and encourage flea markets with no government
Earlier, the prime minister also said his administration would
begin employing openly gay people, a surprising development in
Singapore, where homosexuality is thought to violate conservative
Asian social norms.
"Not every room needs to be furnished to the same taste,"
Goh said. "Some may like their room to have cool colors,
while others may prefer to decorate it with pinups."
Permitting bar-top dancing - once a legal offense - also was
announced, along with the longer bar hours.
"If we want our people to make more decisions for themselves,
and if we are to encourage a derring-do society, we must allow
some risk taking and a little excitement," Goh said.
Singaporeans enjoy one of Asia's highest standards of living
under some of the world's strictest laws. The government regularly
fines people for spitting and not flushing public toilets and
only recently allowed the sale of chewing gum.
Critics have long argued that there is not enough room for dissent
and that the pace of liberalization in this Southeast Asian island
republic of 4 million is glacially slow.
The government censors movies and television shows it considers
too racy, such as the HBO series "Six Feet Under," deemed
too explicit and out of line with Singaporean society.
Cosmopolitan magazine and HBO's "Sex and the City "