Yes, Singaporeans have often been labeled materialistic, egoistic or kiasu. And now an episode of Galileo, a German TV variety show, dedicated to making fun of Singapore has concluded that Singaporeans are truly bonkers.
YouTube videos of the episode showed the show’s correspondent traveling to Singapore to unveil its ‘oddities’.
The 15-minute clip opens with the host saying Singaporeans are "strange human beings that enjoy smiling, getting their temperature checked and eating disgusting food."
The correspondent tries to enter a building only to be stopped by a woman who takes his temperature before allowing him to enter. He mocks the health precaution and says, "Imagine if you had to be checked for a fever every time before you entered a shop. Sounds strange, but it is an everyday occurrence in Singapore."
He then visits Nirvana Memorial Garden, Asia’s largest 6-star columbarium. Nirvana is the most luxurious and modern columbarium in Singapore.
At Nirvana Memorial the TV host meets a monk who gets a salary. He says that in normal temples, monks receive alms from devotees, but in Singapore, they have money sent to their bank accounts.
He likens the columbarium to a discotheque that offers a laser show for the dead.
Unlike most traditional Buddhist funeral ceremonies that follow cremation, there is no incense and no monks offering prayers at the Nirvana Memorial Garden columbarium, where the urns holding the remains of the dead are stored.
Instead, curtains draw automatically to reveal the deceased’s urn which is placed atop a pedestal, machine-generated smoke fills the prayer hall and a booming recorded voice, accompanied by chants, speaks words of comfort and talks about death.
The columbarium boasts a $2million sound and light system. Its resident Buddha statue pulsates gently with LED lights and, as a final touch, a ray of bright white light shines on the urn of the deceased symbolizing the ascent to heaven.
The reporter then follows the sound of chirping to check out Singaporeans' fascination with songbirds and their willingness to part with thousands of dollars for a bird and its cage.
He also joins the Singapore Paranormal Investigators on a fruitless hunt for ghosts.
"Ghosts: 0, Crazy Singaporeans: a few," he quipped at the end of the session.
After a tongue-in-cheek examination of several facets of Singaporean life, the host comes to this conclusion: "Singaporeans are not just crazy, they are tremendously crazy."