Bright Lights, Big City: Singapore cranks up electric bill to show off for int’l press

Photo: Pexels

With the eyes of pretty much the whole world on us right now thanks to tomorrow’s historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has come up with a less-than-eco-friendly way to put the nation in its best light. Literally.

According to QZ reporter Isabella Steger, STB allegedly sent memos to office tenants around the Marina Bay area to encourage them to keep their lights on all night long for the duration of the summit. Screw those electricity bills — what’s more important is having a beautiful backdrop of lit-up skyscrapers for the thousands of international media outlets broadcasting the city skyline to the world.

“As this landmark summit is expected to draw millions of international viewers, the spectacular light-up of the bay area will play a big part in enhancing our city skyline that will be featured on international broadcast!” the memo noted.

The memo obtained by Steger was directed to tenants of the Income @ Raffles building, but it seems more than likely that the same thing was sent to the other high-rise premises. Tenants were advised to “join the rest of the city in this light-up” and keep the office lights on from 7pm to 6am daily till Jun 13, the day after the actual summit. We’ve already contacted STB for their comments.

Photo: @stegersaurus / Twitter

This ostentatious act of theatricality reminds us of a Straits Times op-ed that New Naratif editor-in-chief Kirsten Han rightfully labeled as “patronizing bullshit.” In case you can’t read the article, the ST opinion editor wrote a guide on how Singaporeans should behave during the summit to “put on a good show for the world.” It really does feel like talking down to Singaporeans — telling them to be more gracious, be nicer, smile more, and not chope seats.

The most ridiculous request, however, is how Singaporeans should stay away from sharing or liking articles that diss the government or Singapore.

Then, of course, there’s the legion of unnecessary summit-related food and beverages thought up by hundreds of bars and restaurants, but we’ll tackle that whole world in a piece coming up later today.

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