Monthly Archives: March 2010

Commentary: Of Things Which Are Different, Both Little and Large

Posted by on March 9, 2010

The first time I ever visited Canada I was fascinated by all the things which were different. The road signs, the occasional sign in French, the metric system, and the different products in the stores. The reason why those things stuck out is because, as much as Canadians hate to admit it, America and Canada are pretty much the same. The things I found different were aberrations (to me) on what was otherwise a very familiar background.

I point this out because humans are pattern seeking animals. We evolved to notice patters in the weather, the environment, migrations of animals, and the stars. When I went to Canada I noticed trivial things because they broke up the patterns I was used to seeing. You can notice similar things as you go from state to state as well. I assume the same would be true of Canadians visiting the US or Germans visiting Austria or people from Beijing visiting Shanghai. What very few differences exist between people from Wisconsin and Minnesota are exaggerated and amplified whenever they get together. (duck duck goose vs duck duck grey duck) (more…)

Once More in Singapore

Posted by on March 2, 2010

I’ve been in Singapore for a few days now, marking my third time in the city. I was first here in 1999 and was last here during the 2008 Olympics. (Read my previous thoughts on Singapore from 2008.) When I first visited Singapore in 1999 I became fascinated with the city. I read several books on the history of Singapore and Lee Kwan Yew immediately after leaving Singapore and have always kept an eye on the news from the country.

I like writing about Singapore because it is such an oddball country. It is one of the smallest countries in the world. It is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is one of the richest countries in the world. It has a government that can only be described as….unique. (more…)