16.6.05

Toto and the Beanstalk

It seems apt that we used to call ourselves, and still live under the legacy of the phrase "Garden City". In another act of decisive nation building, the Garden City plan was invoked to counter those middling years of Singapore's rapid industrialisation and the risk of becoming a "concrete jungle".

Unattractive as a "concrete jungle" may be, the idea of a jungle - organic in its growth - holds nonetheless a strange appeal for the garden variety (oops, bad pun)/coffeeshop dreamer in Singapore. But we are wrong to pitch one against the other. Both the jungle and the garden develop according to rules and uphold an order, however different the nature of those rules and order.

But I was given a different take on this by the "Magic Bean Stalk". My brother, always game for a cheap thrill, bought one of these "Magic Bean Stalks" last weekend - pop the can, add some water, leave it under the sun and *magic* happens. It has grown since to reveal "Golden 6 Lucky Numbers", or so the can touts. These numbers were lasered into the bean and becomes visible once it sprouts. The product appears to be imported from Hong Kong.

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In another attempt to stake our claim on nature, tame it a little, tease it a little, the Hong Kongers were not quite as ambitious as to come up with a whole garden city. Only this singular beanstalk, seeded in a tin can, its growth secure and certain. Even lucky numbers can be ordered and pre-lasered. But while lucky numbers can be pre-determined, luck can't be. Perhaps acknowledging the limits of human design, the Hong Kong beanstalk maintains that risk is inevitable and individual volition is necessary. So will you, after parting with $6, stake another dollar or 2 on a toto ticket? Our island, meanwhile, places one casino (I mean, "integrated resort") next to a Botanics Garden and another on our constructed offshore Shangri-La.

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By the way, the numbers are "02, 08, 12, 14, 20, 45".

[p/s Ampulets does not encourage gambling.]

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