Government by Fear in Singapore too…

I’ve been in Singapore for an annual meeting the last couple of days. Got my Starbucks, went to the office tower, went up the escalator on autopilot and found a set of pass card entry barriers blocking the way to the lifts. So a staff member directed me to where I could exchange some sort of ID for a passcard. No questions asked. I could then proceed through the barriers and up to the office I wanted to go to. On the way out retrieve your ID in exchange for the passcard.

Now I can see absolutely no purpose being served by this whatsoever, except to employ a few people to exchange IDs for passcards. To me it just seems to be something designed to remind people that they should in some undefined sense be afraid of something. WHY?

There was no check of my bags, there was no record of where I was going within the building (it’s 50+ floors with probably 100+ companies), and frankly they would probably accept anything with my photo on it as ID (what they got was my HKID card). So they weren’t checking whether I was equipped to blow the place up, they weren’t keeping records of where visitors go for security purposes (they had no idea where I went within the building), and they weren’t checking my identity. And if I had blown the building up the records of who was in it at the time were apparently being stored onsite.

I feel there needs to be some sort of effort by rational people to push back against these totally nonsensical things that are being done in the name of “security”. But I’m really struggling to work out how to do it.

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5 Responses to Government by Fear in Singapore too…

  1. Juno Watt says:

    You need to go here, smog, and start reading: http://www.no2id.net

  2. smog says:

    Been there and done that. When I came to HK I was, for the first time, required to have and carry an ID card. Initially I was very uncomfortable about this, but, to be honest, over time I’ve become much more relaxed about the principle – having a straightforward ID system does make life more convenient in many little ways. To me this is a different issue from the “government by fear” problem that we have at the moment.

    I don’t have a big problem these days with carrying an ID. What I do have a major problem with is all the completely irrational stuff which is done in the name of “security”. As far as I know, no recent major terrorist attack was in any way facilitated by anyone pretending to be someone else. The whole “taking ID as a necessary component of “security”” thing is a complete red herring.

  3. Juno Watt says:

    That’s why I said ‘start reading’ i.e. follow the links from there.

    I also don’t have a problem carrying a HK ID card. What I do have a problem with is the surveillance society which is a growing menace in the UK, and the UK ID card which is a very nasty extension of that. It is not the same as the HK version.

  4. LT says:

    I wonder how much of the ‘security’ issue is companies having to comply with insurance companies adding terms that insist on certain security procedures being in place? There’s the ‘fear’ thing which is a load of bollocks and then the ‘opportunity to make some money out of it’ thing which is double bollocks.

  5. AUSMOB says:

    Building security in Melbourne Australia has been like this with large corporates like Telstra. No access to lifts unless you have either an employee electronic lift / dept door access card placed on a main lift foyer door activator, and again on the lifts floor console to activate the floor numbered buttons.

    Alll visitors to these buildings must fill out a form providing photo id, usually a drivers licence, upon that you’re issued a temporary lift access card for the floor they are visiting. Nobody is given access to the lift unless they have prior invitation to do so.

    It’s pretty standard procedure, with large telco and tech companies and been going on well before sept 11. Singapore has just followed on with what other branch offices are doing elsewhere, and if anything its an area that HR depts are behind. Possibly a little to much power given to that lot. lol

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