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i legit don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this imaginary black market for gum. SG’s population is 7m. More people than that can’t afford insulin in the US, and there’s definitely a blavk market for that.
black*, damnit. it's been 19 hours and i'm still thinking about chewing gum so here's a thread, i guess.
i get it- ${COUNTRY} BANS CHEWING GUM sounds fucking stupid. i can see why that might make headlines around the world. but people thinking you get caned for chewing gum are also fucking stupid. so here's some context- the chewing gum ban has been in place since 1992.
import and sale is illegal, consumption is NOT - the mouth police just wasn't a feasible idea.

in the late 1980s, singapore's a smol, young country, with a population under 3mil, figuring out infrastructure for a fast-growing population.
with high-rise public housing, one asshole sticking gum on lift buttons inconveniences a few hundred people. and there are so many places to stick gum! mailboxes! in keyholes! of course, gum littering is a gross problem everywhere, and most people just deal with it.
when a ban was first suggested in 1983, LKY thought it was much too drastic a measure.

howeverrrrr. in 1987, this smol baby country started running trains for the first time. this was huge! the govt had been planning this since the country was 2 years old 😂
after decades of study, the govt finally gave the go-ahead. the MRT system was the largest public works project ever undertaken, and cost 5 billion dollars. for context- the country's GDP in 1980 was 25 billion dollars. it was a Big Deal.
and then fuckers starting putting chewing gum on door sensors, preventing train doors from working properly and causing disruption to train services. doesn't really sound like a big deal yet right?
but singapore is so smol, u guise. idk how many other ways there are to say this. so, so smol.

look at this map of london's train service in 1985. look at singapore not even reaching central london. NYC 1985. just do this with any city in 1985 - tokyo, DC.
a service disruption on a train network with only TWO lines basically means you don't have a train network. it's not a minor delay, with a few trainloads of people finding alternatives. it's an entire country being late for work, and Singapore Inc cannot have this happening.
these incidents were rare, but costly... and culprits were hard to catch. so in 1992, new Prime Minister GCT decided on a ban. Some bitching, some moaning, the country moved on.
sidenote - between 2004 - 2010, there were about 8 suicides at train stations. death bad, service disruption worse, all train stations had platform doors by 2012.
i could be wrong about this, but i believe the international community only started paying attention to this after the Michael Fay case in 1994. A dumb American teen came to Singapore and did a dumb thing, and then Bill Clinton and two dozen senators got involved.
Five years later, Singapore and the US (under Clinton) initiate talks for an FTA. By the final phase of negotiations in '03 (under GWB), there were only 2 unresolved issues - the Iraq War... and fucking chewing gum.
Wrigley's had enlisted the help of a DC lobbyist and a congressman to get chewing gum on the agenda of the FTA. Just... how mad is this country??? over 100 people died in mass shootings over the last decade and your lobbyists are concerned that 3m people don't have gum???
i do sometimes appreciate the SG govt's spine lol - we agreed to legalise 'therapeutic gum'. thanks to the US, you can now buy nicotine and teeth-whitening gum from pharmacies, with ID 😂
to reiterate- no one gives a shit. there's no demand for gum here. if you really want gum, it's a twenty minute cab ride to Malaysia, and you can bring it back. in contrast, 25-30 million Americans live in food deserts.
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