The clouds hung low as I left the National University of Singapore’s campus residence along with 48 other students from seven universities. As participants of the ETH-Singapore month on urban society, we were scheduled to visit a Chinese macro-engineering real estate project called "Forest City" off the Malaysian jungle, some 45 minutes from Singapore.
As soon as we arrived, our driver parked the van and disappeared into the rain where he treated himself to an extensive smoke-break. Vices like smoking and alcohol consumption are “frowned” upon in Singaporean society. Taxes on both products are so high that even a jug of the blandest variety of local beer, sold in the hawker market, can make Swiss prices seem reasonable.