Turning Nepal into Singapore

During the Panchayat, Nepal’s absolute rulers promised to lift the country to ‘Asian Standards’. What they forgot to spell out was whether they meant the GDP per capita of Afghans or Singaporeans.

After the rustication of democracy, a prime minister who shall remain nameless promised to turn Nepal into Singapore. The PM must be congratulated for overshooting his target. Nepal’s average per capita income is now three times higher than Singhapur (population: 738) in Udaypur district.

Now, if anyone can turn Kathmandu into a ‘fine’ city like Singapore, it will be Mayor Balen.

Having once had to nearly pay a fine for trying to hide a glob of chewing gum under a bench on Orchard Road (SG$500 for chewing contraband and SG$1,000 for littering, making a total of SG$1,500 plus 10% GST), The Ass has on all subsequent trips to the Pearl of the Orient made it a point to look out for any hidden CCTV cameras before committing a similar heinous crime. And, I'm proud to say, I've never since been caught.

The other thing hygiene-challenged Nepalis heading to the City State must peruse is the Singapore government's booklet: ‘Rules and Regulations for Those Attending To Calls of Nature in Our Fine City’.

I have no idea how the Singaporean authorities ever find out people who have not flushed toilets, but they can present evidence of perpetrators of this felony and slap SG$100 fines. Not to put too fine a point on it, but keeping our collective asses clean is, in hindsight, a sign of civilisational progress. If we are serious about one day being filthy crazy rich Asians, too, we need to give sanitation a bottoms-up priority.

Mayor Balen is off to a glorious start: he is emulating the Singapore model by instituting stiff fines for all major and minor misdemeanours, and turning Kathmandu into a penal colony.

Let’s be realistic, though, do we have enough CCTV cameras in working order at the Ministry of Finance to check if any unauthorised person is sneaking in to take a dump? Also, we in Turd World countries like Nepal will never become a Singapore because there is no water in our flush tanks.

While we must not underestimate the power of deterrence to instill good behaviour in citizens, we may also need to use positive reinforcement by rewarding those who do things right. Instead of taking money away from those who litter, maybe give money to those who don't. Prizes work better than penalties. For example:

  • Cash prize of Rs 2,000 for the only pedestrian who actually used the overhead walkway at Jamal in the last fiscal year.
  • The Honest Cop Award in Cash or Kind for police at the metal-free x-ray in Tribhuvan Intercontinental Ballistic Airport who refuses to ‘confiscate’ your whiskey.
  • A cash bribe to the officer at the Land Transportation Office who turns down aback-sheesh to expedite your driving license.
  • The columnist adhering to highest standard of personal hygiene by not grooming nostrils in full view of staff while writing above column.

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