The second book I’m reviewing for my blog is Singapore Sucks, a collection of short stories compiled and edited by Singa Crew.

The short stories are a compilation of what both foreigners and locals feel about life in Singapore. Sadly a few of the stories by foreigners are examples of the proverbial ugly American complaining that a foreign country isn’t as American as America. The majority however are compelling, focusing on the frustration of Singapore natives regarding their Government, its propaganda, foreign workers, the lack of freedom, as well as military conscription.

Several of the short stories are allegories based on actual events. One of the most disconcerting is Sleeping Beauty, which deals with controversial subject of organ harvesting from live donors. Unlike in the US, where people sign up to become organ donors, in Singapore people have to opt out of organ donation. Family members aren’t even given the option of allowing their relative sufficient time to heal from an injury, accident or illness before the hospital harvests their organs. There is a link at the end of the short story to the case of Sim Tee Hua which the story was based on.

I found Singapore Sucks to be a good book. It conveys how so many people in Singapore are frustrated by their lack of basic freedoms that so many of us in America take for granted. The rigid uncrossable line between social strata, the dictatorial control of the media and constant reaffirming of how giving your all for the government is in one’s best interest.

The stories definitely inspire one to look deeper into what’s really going on in Singapore underneath the glittering lights of the modern cities now being built.

I recommend it.