Read the article and match the headings below to paragraphs (1-6).
1) For anyone accustomed to Asian cities choked by pollution, traffic jams and snarled communications, Singapore is an oasis. The airport is so efficient, the taxis are so numerous and the roads are so good that visitors arriving at Changi Airport, on the eastern tip of the island, twelve miles from downtown, can reach their hotel rooms thirty minutes after stepping off the plane. Those visitors can get business cards, eyeglasses or a tailor-made suit the day after placing an order, and ride a modern subway system whose underground stations as well as its trains are air-conditioned. An international phone call can be direct-dialled as quickly in Singapore as in the United States. Business can be conducted in English, because it is the language that all the schools use. Every block has trees and flowers; the island’s entire east coast is a string of parks and beaches, and only half an hour from downtown are a nature preserve and semi-rural areas with farms. No litter mars a walk through Singapore’s streets, because a litterbug must pay a fine and undergo counselling. Everything in Singapore is clean; everything in Singapore works.
2) In a nation known for efficiency, the government is most efficient of all. When someone calls to report a pothole, the Public Works Department fills it within forty-eight hours. The Telecommunications Authority will install a new phone the day after the order is received. A bribe, whether a little tip to an employee or a large payoff to a high-ranking minister, represents a ticket to jail. A civil servant who receives a present in the mail must send it to a government agency, which puts a price tag on it and then offers to sell it back to the recipient. If the employee doesn’t want to buy it, the gift is sold at an auction.
3) The government of Singapore loves to make rules. The walls of buildings are plastered with rules, telling people what they can’t do and how much they have to pay if they dare to try it. The fines represent considerably more than a slap on the wrist, and they are enforced often enough to make most potential miscreants think twice. Eating or drinking on the subway, driving without a seatbelt, smoking in a restaurant and jaywalking are all offences which are subject to hefty fines. Few proscribed activities are left to the imagination, as opposed to being posted; for example, in the Botanical Gardens, where ‘Prohibited’ signs threaten to outnumber plant-identification markers, a pictograph warns against shooting at birds with sling-shots. Nor do violations always depend for discovery on a passing policeman. Trucks and commercial vans are required to install a yellow roof light that flashes when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit. When a taxi exceeds the maximum speed on freeways, loud chimes go off inside; the chimes are so annoying that the driver is likely to slow down. At some intersections, cameras photograph the license plates of cars that pass through as the light is changing to red; the drivers receive bills for that offence in the mail.
4) The rules are frequently backed up by publicity campaigns, using advertising slogans, displays at public events, and articles in the leading newspaper, the Straits Times. There have been campaigns to be punctual and to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. In 1984, Singapore initiated an antispitting campaign, with the distribution of pamphlets, messages on radio and television, mobile exhibitions at food centres and markets, twenty thousand posters on buses and taxis, and, for children, comic strips and a colouring contest.
5) Clean public toilets at shopping malls, food centres and other public places are among the amenities that make Singapore perhaps the most liveable city in Asia. But the campaign that brought them into being might be viewed as excessive. A law requiring the flushing of toilets was enacted in 1988. The Far Eastern Economic Review explained, ‘Those who ignore the new law do so on peril of a fine of up to $1000. And how is the law being enforced? A battalion of inspectors from Singapore’s Ministry of Environment will be roving public toilets in pursuit of the aberrant nonflushers.’
6) When I interviewed Goh Chok Tong, who became Prime Minister in 1990, we discussed the rules and the fines for breaking them that are posted all over Singapore. ‘My own goal is for us to move into a position one day where we don’t need to have all those fines put up. The rules would be there, but they would not be intruding into your consciousness every day. That means a newer generation must be put through schools, to be socially educated that this is the norm of behavior.’
Task 1. Write the name of the scientist who made the discovery or achievement.
How these women changed science forever!
Some people say that advertising encourages us to buy things that we really do not need. Others say that advertisements tell us about new products that may improve our lives. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.