Singapore, Sanscrit for “Lion City,” (formerly “Temasek,” or “Sea Town”) is a city-state roughly three times the size of Washington, D.C. It is governed (autocratically) by the People’s Action Party, which has been in power since 1959, and regularly subdues its political opponents through indefinite detention without charge or trial, on the grounds that the potential fragility of Singapore’s multi-ethnic, pan-religious society requires a steady and systematic repression of politically active and aggressive citizenry. This has been carried out so effectively that today Singaporeans describe their country as an administrative state in which politics is a matter of management. In a generation the PAP transformed Singapore from a Third World colony with no natural resources into a competitive, technologically innovative nation with a high rate of economic growth, and stability for the majority of its people.
Coastline: 193 km.
Land Boundaries: 0 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive fishing zone within and beyond territorial sea, as defined in treaties and practice.
Territorial Sea: 3 nm.
Weather: thunderstorms occur on 40% of all days.
John Travolta, whose last name is Italian for “Between Time,” quit school at 16 to pursue acting, and made it big with his television role as Vinni Barbarino in Welcome Back, Kotter, a 1975 sitcom set in an inner city school. He then made a break to film, first playing a hoodlum in Carrie, then starring in Saturday Night Fever.
Birthdate: February 18, 1954
Birthplace: Englewood, NJ
Wife: Kelly Preston, actress; married September 5, 1991
Father: Salvatore Travolta, semi-professional football player and co-owner of tire shop; died May 26, 1995
Mother: Helen Travolta, former actor; died of cancer in 1979
Sisters: Ellen and Margaret
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Staying Alive (1983)
In the early 1980s J. B. Jeyaretnam, a lawyer, now 75 years old, becomes the first Opposition candidate elected to parliament since independence from the British, in 1965.
In the mid ’80s Jeyaretnam is re-elected with an increased majority.
Then, in the late ‘80s, Jeyaretnam is removed from parliament and barred from practicing law. He appeals to the Privy Council in London, then Singapore’s court of final appeal, which rules that he and a co-defendant have been, “publicly disgraced for offenses of which they were not guilty.”
A talented young dancer struggles to get a part in a Broadway musical. He also becomes involved with two attractive young women.
Look Who’s Talking (1989)
The National University of Singapore’s microsurgery team successfully transplants a noodle-maker’s toe onto his damaged hand to replace a severed thumb.
A single mother in her mid-30s sets out to find a proper father for her baby, Mikey, who wants her to marry a whimsical cab driver turned baby sitter. It does not seem likely that she will wind up with the cab driver, but she does.
Look Who’s Talking, Too (1990)
The first airline to land at Singapore’s ultra-modern Changi Airport, on November 22, 1990, at 7:40 AM, is Singapore Airlines’ Flight SQ23 from Amsterdam and Zurich, carrying 317 passengers. The first piece of baggage is delivered in nine minutes—well within the 12-minute limit the airport sets for itself.
Mikey, now a toddler, is being potty trained, and, adding insult to injury, he must also share his mother’s and the cab driver’s attention with a new baby sister.
Chains Of Gold (1992)
In Singapore citizens are required to set aside a percentage of their monthly income against the possibility of future illness. These accounts are called “Medisaves,” and since the mid 1980s people under the age of 35 have invested about 3% of their income in Medisaves.
Furthermore, every Singaporean citizen contributes fifteen to twenty percent of their monthly income (which must be matched by their employer) to a governmenal fund that will support them upon their retirement from the workforce.
[In one way it’s a good thing. You’re taken care of for life. It’s kind of ideal. In Singapore you would be sent to jail if you were a communist.]
A good-hearted social worker infiltrates a crack gang that uses kids as dealers.
Look Who’s Talking Now (1993)
The first notice that stray dogs in Singapore are liable to be destroyed appears in April 1833. One hundred and fifty-six years later—when the government sets the maximum number of dogs per household at three—Kathy Strong, president of the Singapore Animal Lovers League, stops sharing her residence with ten dogs.
Talking dogs try to stop a conniving woman from stealing the cab driver away from the family
“I bit a cop.”
“Can’t we work out a deal? I’ve got bones buried everywhere.”
“Take me, I’m neutered. I’ve humped my last leg.”
Get Shorty (1995)
We won’t even say anything about Get Shorty. We won’t even honor it.
A Civil Action (1998)
In the late ’90s a new case comes against J. B. Jeyaretnam when he is interrupted during a speech by a fellow parliamentary candidate who places some documents on the podium in front of him. Jeyaretnam looks them over and remarks, “Mr. Tang Liang Hong has just placed before me two reports he has made to the police against, you know, [Prime Minister] Mr. Goh Chok Tong and his people”
As a result of this almost absent-minded comment the Prime Minister demands S$200,000 (about US$120,000) in damages from Jeyaretnam for alleged grave injuries to his “reputation, moral authority and leadership standing both locally and internationally.”
A Judge rejects Prime Minister Goh’s claim that Jeyaretnam was liable for that particular defamation, but then goes on to find him liable for a different one.
Amnesty International’s statement on the matter reads, in part:
A defendant must know in advance of a trial the case he has to meet. The defendant was not given the opportunity to defend himself against an argument which was developed almost entirely by the Judge.
A personal-injury lawyer sues industrial conglomerates for polluting of a town’s drinking water.
Battlefield: Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)
Under the Undesirable Publications Act the Singaporean government imprisons a 72-year-old grandmother for possession of Jehovah’s Witnesses literature. Other Jehovah’s Witnesses are persecuted on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.
L. Ron Hubbard’s futuristic Earth is ruled by giant, gas-breathing invaders from the planet Psychlo, among them Travolta. But it is also the home of Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, one of the few remaining humans, who decides to leave his redoubt in the Rocky Mountains in order to challenge the invaders.
In Closing_Agence France Presse
October 3, 2002
_VETERAN Singapore opposition politician J.B. Jeyaretnam got a rare tribute from the city-state’s number two leader who praised him for fighting for his beliefs instead of running away from the country, a report said Thursday, Oct 3.
Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cited Jeyaretnam as an example of a Singaporean who stayed and fought for his beliefs despite frequent run-ins with the government and the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), the Straits Times said.
The colorful opposition politician, who first broke the PAP’s stranglehold of local politics, lost his seat in parliament last year when he was declared bankrupt because of mounting debts resulting from defamation suits brought on by PAP stalwarts.
Lee, the son of Jeyaretnam’s nemesis Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, was speaking in parliament during a debate about Singaporeans who remain loyal to the nation, or the “stayers”, and those who flee abroad because of pressures at home, or the “quitters.”_
Is there anything more disappointing than a person who cannot be convinced of another point of view?