You Do The Maths

Given our diminutive size (Singapore – the nation that’s proud to be a Size Zero), we can hardly be expected to compete in the world export market. Yet it turns out certain ideas of ours are more popular overseas than you might think. A story in the New York Times reports that Singapore Maths remains remarkably popular as a teaching method in US schools—even though early editions of the textbooks had to be reprinted with the references to curry puffs and rambutans taken out. True story.Still, we can’t help thinking that we’re not tapping our true potential. Singapore Maths plays to every preconception the rest of the world might have of us: Efficient, nerdy and—whisper it—frankly a little dull. A rebranding exercise is long overdue. Hell, if Apple can make humble pods and tablets sexy through a little creative marketing, surely we can do likewise. Time to start slinging the Singapore brand around and see what sticks. What other cherished Singaporean concepts do we think might catch on abroad?sChat A form of communication that depends on the mechanical repetition of mundane statements as a means of mutual reassurance for a cohesive society. Stock phrases include “Gosh, nice and clean, isn’t it?” and “So safe, lah. Cannot complain.” sChat 2.0 allows participants to share the same platitudes with complete strangers via the internet.Cash Rich, Time ’Pore A marketing demographic consisting of people living in luxury condos and complaining about twenty minute commutes. A peculiar feature of this group is its willingness to spend excessive sums on timekeeping devices worn on the wrist to remind them how pressed for time they think they are.SINGle File A method of crowd control first perfected in the 1970s. Close inspection of control groups reveals elevated cortisone levels and general disgust at the adjacent individuals’ behavior. But with repeat practice, test subjects fall in line despite the lack of any incentive for doing so, and ultimately display disproportionate pride in their ability to queue up well.Business A corporate strategy involving a gathering of people in a room, all of whom are engaged in private phone conversations with people not in the room. For any company looking to reduce the time it spends doing anything productive, the model is a godsend; and is especially acclaimed for its self-replicating properties: Despite the obvious inefficiencies, such gatherings usually conclude with a suggestion to hold another one very soon.