Boring is the new black, Singapore, so don’t be ashamed to embrace our boring personality.

A STOLEN wallet, a faded ID card and a racist stray dog ​​are the sum total of my interactions with the Singapore Police over four decades. They’re not material worthy of a crime thriller series, but they’re worth recapping for interesting reasons to underline a larger point about the island being magnificently boring.

The stolen wallet was ridiculous. In 1997, I left my wallet on a table in the Toa Payoh library for an hour, practically leaving a sign saying “take me.” Filling out the crime report at the police station, the officer tried hard not to laugh; Not strong enough, I hasten to add.

But the faded ID card was something else. The peeling address sticker on the back needed replacing, a routine job that a young Hougang officer mistook for the Sistine Chapel painting. He printed a new address sticker. He trimmed the edges. He pasted and re-pasted the sticker until he was satisfied. He laminated. He went back to laminating. He passed the time. The polar caps melted. The worlds are over.

When I finally expressed my admiration for his devotion to duty (a polite way of saying he was slower than a sloth and had a limp), the officer shrugged and said, “There’s nothing more to do.”

He was in charge of a small police post in Hougang. He wasn’t on The Wire.

But the most surreal encounter occurred in a dark and remote corner of Lim Chu Kang forest, where an officer was surprised to find a 1.94m tall figure. ang moh loitering with unclear intentions in a coastal area presumably popular with illegal immigrant crossings. (Because, as everyone knows, the easiest way to enter a country undetected is to swim across the Johor Strait and disembark in front of a police post.)

But the policeman was not the problem. I explained my reasons for being there (an author exploring the island ulu bits) and we talk about football. He was a Manchester United fan. Funnily enough, I was too (he wasn’t, but he had a gun).

And we chatted while waiting for my bus back to Choa Chu Kang, when I was attacked by a racist stray dog. Technically, I can’t prove that the dog was racist. But there were two pairs of testicles available for the beast and I was only interested in removing mine.

The policeman was a tower of strength, he restrained the brute, asked for calm and urged me to run towards the bus. I was a wobbling mass of jelly, yelling at the canine to leave my nether regions alone and ordering the officer to shoot the dog. None complied.

But I got on the bus, cleaned the blood stains from the back of my legs (true story), thanked the officer via text message (true story), and walked away from the rabid dog, who was barking a message that sounded like “come back.” . to your own country” (not a true story, but I still tell it anyway).

But that was really the extent of my policing commitments, spanning 28 years in Singapore. In the same period, relatives in the UK have made police reports about violent assaults, armed robberies, drug offences, domestic abuse and other more humdrum incidents such as car thefts and street robberies. Yes, such crimes also occur in Singapore. There’s always that ridiculously handsome officer, in cardboard cutout form, reminding us that low crime doesn’t mean no crime and reminding my wife that I’ll never look as good in uniform.

Just as there is a risk of parroting right-wing shock jocks and transforming the Western landscape into a prologue to Mad Max, which would be an exaggerated and unfair description, but it is a numbers game. Overall, we are safer here.

Singapore is boring and safe. There. I have said it. And you should too. Let’s enjoy our collective boredom. Setting Anonymous Boring groups in your community club and stand up and say, “I am a boring Singaporean and I am addicted to boredom. Yesterday I went to bak kuh teh in Balestier at 2 in the morning and nothing remotely interesting happened.”

For years, I denied my own addiction. I smiled politely as expats (mostly from safer, wealthier backgrounds) and atas Singaporeans (all from safer, wealthier backgrounds) ridiculed the dullness of our island and sighed for the racy character of Paris, London and New York, with their distinct colors (graffiti), unique smells (urine) and eclectic residents (unsettled souls). home in sleeping bags). and overlooked the obvious naivety and hypocrisy of such statements. They could afford to avoid, often literally, all of the above.

And then Taylor Swift happened. And performers, artists and comedians skipped neighboring countries or were prohibited from posting video clips made in the previous decade. Or they simply did the math and realized that playing for a week in calm, quiet Singapore was better than playing in volatile destinations elsewhere, where the risks of being lit, canceled or threatened were not worth the entry fee.

And then the terrorist attack on the Johor police station happened, an unspeakable tragedy for our neighbors and a terrible reminder of what happens when unbridled populism transforms into extremist ideology. It’s boring to talk about radicalization, but Singapore will continue to do it anyway. There is nothing tedious about preserving national security.

Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has said much the same thing, but that’s not very exciting, is it? Political leaders are no longer supposed to be boring. The comments address concerns that the new leadership is appearing too confident to voters who demand much more these days than national security. Never mind the speeches about the threat of radicalization and heartfelt messages to those affected by the horrific incident on Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, perhaps Prime Minister Wong could do an acoustic version of a Taylor Swift classic, just for the What do you like and LOL?

No, you’re fine, buddy. Stick to politics for adults, rather than populism for dummies.

As the polycrisis continues to pose an existential threat, boring has never seemed more attractive. Our police officers deal mainly with minor problems and barely provide enough content to fill an episode of Crimewatch on Channel 5, let alone a prestige true crime drama on Netflix. And that’s a good thing. Why be ashamed of being such a global anomaly? Embrace stability.

Don’t shy away from safety and security stereotypes. Expand them. Take on Singapore’s reputation and say it out loud. I’m boring and I’m proud.

Don’t shy away from safety and security stereotypes. Expand them. Take on Singapore’s reputation and say it out loud. I’m boring and I’m proud.

Neil Humphreys is an award-winning football writer and best-selling author, who has covered the English Premier League since 2000 and has written 28 books.

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