It’s the most expensive city in the world, and it can feel a little straitlaced to an American, but if I had the means to live anywhere Singapore would be at, or near, the top of my list. Danger Girl and I spent the last two weeks in Asia taking part in the EVO Enduro from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Phuket Island, Thailand and we took a couple of decompression days at the Marina Bay Sands to wind the whole thing up. It wasn’t super-cheap, and we didn’t have any friendly automakers to foot the bill for it, but I have no regrets.
Singapore is squeaky-clean and completely safe. It’s one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which feels like a breath of fresh air after watching Jeffrey Epstein “commit suicide” in a closely-observed prison cell. Incidentally, the Epstein murder is probably an all-time low point in the history of American governance, regardless of whether you think he was killed by Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Ehud Barak. It is also a damning indictment of the media which tells us that everything is a “conspiracy theory”. This guy had a private pedophile island and somehow he was able to get Bill Clinton to dismiss his Secret Service protection so the two of them could… play Magic:The Gathering? How far-fetched does “PizzaGate” seem right now? What about the Vince Foster and Seth Rich stuff? Is there any “conspiracy theory” out there that is more outrageous than what actually happened in and around Epstein’s circle of friends?
One of the nicest things about Singapore is their unashamed sense of national pride. They have no issue being explicitly “nationalist”. They love their nation and they understand the sacrifices and struggle involved in its creation and continued existence. We could do with a little more of that here in the United States. Singapore has an open-door immigration policy — for qualified, talented, or exceptionally wealthy applicants. They’re choosy about letting you in and they’re choosy about letting you stay. Needless to say, the country that caned an American rich kid for vandalizing cars has no patience with people who overstay their visa. If you roll up to the border without papers, they will turn you around at gunpoint. I know this because it almost happened to me in 2013, courtesy of a passport that I’d lost in the seat cushion of a Renault Megane.
What’s not to like about the place? Well, they’re very serious about the speed limit. And private automobile ownership is taxed at a frankly insane rate. Are you interested in paying $190,000 for an Ecoboost Mustang? Singapore is the place for you. It’s also not a place I’d recommend doing any aggressive BMX street riding, lest you find yourself on the receiving end of a caning. Could I clean up my act and be a productive Singaporean? Stranger things have happened.
At Hagerty, I wrote about Toyota vans.
These past two weeks also saw the Hagerty debut of my good friend Matt Grayson, publisher of Rolling Heavy magazine and a mainstay of the custom van community. Check out two great stories from him.