There's a smart new saying in Singapore: “When you drink sparkling water, remember what’s in the bubbles.”
The Lion City has been fizzing along successfully for half a century now, but an awful lot of its sparkle suddenly appears to be tainted with flatulent air.
There have been many embarrassing incidents over the past year, but the one that really dented Singapore’s image was the revelation of extensive corruption within senior levels of the civil service.
Only a handful of cases have so far come to light, but as the adage goes: If you see one cockroach in the kitchen you know there are lots more around.
In January, the head of the Central Narcotics Bureau, Peter Lim Sin Peng, and the director of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Ng Boon Gay, were dismissed for alleged corruption.
That staggering news came just two months after senior officials at the Singapore Land Authority were given hefty jail terms for their involvement in a US$10 million fraud.
The sheer magnitude of that incident severely shook public confidence in the internal controls of Singapore’s government agencies and ministries.
Then, astonishingly, it was reported that a Home Affairs Ministry senior official had been convicted of forgery and thrown in the slammer.
Most recently, it has been revealed that other civil servants, including a school principal, are being probed for using their positions to procure the services of online hookers.