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S'pore perfect for sci-fi future
Publication Date : 26-08-2013
Imagine being in a perfect place where the greenery is lush, the water sparkling clear, the people beautiful and everybody's so wealthy they hand out Central Provident Fund (CPF) money as tips for the waiters.
And if somebody falls sick, well, actually nobody stays sick since they just lie down in a miracle chamber like Michael Jackson's oxygen snooze-tube and every illness - from a pimple on the face to being an angry Arsenal supporter - is eradicated with the touch of a button.
Nope, I'm not talking about Singapore's Sentosa Cove and universal healthcare.
Okay, you're right, they are actually the same difference.
I am referring to the new science fiction film, Elysium. In it, Jodie Foster runs an idyllic paradise for super-rich people at a space station floating off Earth.
Down below, Matt Damon slaves at a dead-end job for itsy-bitsy scraps on the dirt-poor, ravaged planet which looks like a war zone.
All the time, as I was watching that luxurious resort drifting high up in space totally oblivious to the squalor left behind, I kept thinking, man, this must be what lazing on an empty beach with a tequila and a bikini babe looking away from the crowded Housing and Development Board (flats) mainland of Singapore feels like.
It suddenly dawned on me right there, watching that wonderful vision of Elysium, that Singapore is becoming the perfect place for sci-fi and that every scenario for our Brave New World has - would you believe it - actually been made into a movie.
Notwithstanding the fact that Damon goes on to basically destroy the paradise in Elysium in some kind of revenge-of-the-masses rampage, our future, I believe, should be somewhat brighter because, as you surely know, a movie's just a movie.
In fact, our future's so bright, as the 1980s hit song goes, you've got to wear shades because I'm already bedazzled by the "Jewel" coming up in a majestically blinding flash at our airport.
The glass and steel complex, by world-renowned Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, connects the airport's three terminals and is expected to offer international travellers a stunning welcome.
The Americans, in their great patriotic song, America The Beautiful, sing: "From sea to shining sea."
We'll be singing in our shimmering sci-fi future: "From sea to shining mall."
I don't know about you but I'm so excited a shopper I just can't wait for Jewel herself, my fave singer-poet from Alaska, to do the grand opening of our Jewel, ideally with her hit single, Who Will Save Your Soul.
Now, sci-fi is not to be confused with wi-fi or hi-fi or Fi-fi your pet poodle, because while all that stuff have generally occurred and sci-fi is about things which haven't happened yet.
It's something for the future.
Like being in Phase 2C in primary school registration before you get kicked out to Phase 2Z.
Coincidentally, there's another sci-fi flick for this situation because Brad Pitt's zombie epic, World War Z, is an actual scenario for our own World War 2Z. Know what that is?
Like Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, it's something terrible, as distraught parents wander about like zombies after their children just missed getting into the schools they want to get into.
Oh, relax, it isn't real, it's just a movie.
I have the perfect solution for this infernal, incessant problem.
Why don't we just name every school in Singapore "Raffles Girls' Primary School"?
We'll work out the psychological fallout of boys wearing little sissy frocks later, but there, problem solved.
I got that idea from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, another sci-fi classic where everybody has been cloned by aliens into becoming more or less the same zonked-out person.
By the way, Aliens, another amazing futuristic movie franchise, has nothing to do with immigration.
But it's something for us to consider because Sigourney Weaver kicking the c**p out of, say, Hello Kitty queue-jumpers from the Planet Of The Apes, another very relevant sci-fi classic, is the kind of foreign talent we definitely need.
Anyway, I know the next iPod isn't going to come from those alien pods in Invasion and our economy is going to tank due to a severe lack of creativity, but hey, at least, everybody's happy at school, right?
Oh, chill, it's only a movie.
Just like my vision of a spic-and-span clean Future Singapore is already pictured with Tom Cruise as our Ultimate Garbage Man.
In Oblivion, he's the last handyman on Earth who repairs security drones and I know that he would be perfect to empty our dustbins too because in our sci-fi future, while we won't be short of dustbins, I'm pretty sure, New Age wage-wise, we would still be short of dustbin cleaners.
At this point, it's totally pertinent to ask why we even resemble a science fiction film.
I put it down to three factors.
One, we're always looking ahead. Two, we love gadgets more than Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Three, nowhere in the world do people, things, places and matters change as fast as they do here.
Actually, four if you count the way we are collectively so restless-itchy we just can't sit still except in a packed train.
I mean, say you take a nap like Captain America who's stuck in deep freeze in the ice for decades.
When you wake up, everything's changed completely.
Captain America gets a shield. We get Medishield Life. I think, though, we're getting a better deal. Cap has to fight baddies who seriously damage his health.
We, on the other hand, will be getting medical coverage even if we're older than Father Time himself. It's true.
And no. This time, it's not a sci-fi movie.