Surveillance vs security

Surveillance vs security

This poster caught my attention in the Singapore metro.

In it they are encouraging the citizens of Singapore to denounce their neighbours or as they say “help the police.” In a city full of cameras, and when I say full it means that in every corner you find yourself four that are controlling your behavior through Artificial Intelligence, they also ask that you be the one who watches over your neighbour and then denounces it.

The truth is that you feel very safe, it is difficult to get robbed, but at the same time I have to say that I felt intimidated and observed. Any behavior outside the law can be punished. At all times you are waiting to not pass any rules such as eating gum in the street or eating, drinking, having obscene behavior with your partner (kissing) or getting on with Dorians (fruit with a very strong aroma) in the metro.

Here an interesting debate opens, surveillance vs. security.

George Orwell’s book, 1984, falls short.

The Singapore National library@harbourfront

The Singapore National library@harbourfront

I went to the National library@harbourfront de Singapore  (opened in 2019) looking for technology and left excited about the humane treatment.

It is a public library located on the top floor of a mall. It may seem strange but I can assure you that it cannot have a better location than this. It has spectacular views. Imagine reading a book contemplating the sea and Sentosa Island.


What most captivated my attention were the people who ordered the books. They are all volunteers. All of them proud to collaborate in a space as pleasant as that. The message on his shirt makes it clear. Also, they know the library from top to bottom and are willing to help you in any way they can.

Also the distribution of spaces. The bookshelves are headed by an interactive plasma screen where you can check the latest news. Also, you can see how the process of returning books is through the windows. There, the returned books arrive at the volunteers through a conveyor belt like in the airports and they are placed where the books correspond. 

There is a central space where they expose the results of the workshops and also where there are some tips on internet security and fake news. Specifically, actually the results presented technological solutions to improve the lives of older people. Workshops have been designed by volunteer engineers. Behind there are rooms where activities and conferences are developed.  

Finally another space with great amplitude for the little ones and a kind of truck that they take out when the weather is good.

I liked this space, especially for its distribution. In the centre, there are two circles made with mats so that children can go with their family to read books sitting on the floor. I also observed a whole row of 3 shelves full of books about why things work and how they work.

This makes me relate it to the conversation that a boy in his 8s had today with his mother about a fan. He asked her where the air came from and how it was produced. So after seeing the bookshelf in the library and the interest of children in the way things work, my reflection is as follows: will it be because of the education they receive, that children in Singapore have such curiosity developed? It is clear that developing skills and abilities related to critical thinking, creativity, curiosity … requires a provocation by those around us and those who educate us.