Liveable or not?

Channel NewsAsia dutifully informed the world yesterday that Singapore is the most liveable city in Asia, according to the Global Liveable Cities Index. This is a new index created by the Centre for Liveable Cities, which was established in Singapore by the Ministry of National Development and Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Regardless of what you make of that, Singapore was also named Asia's most liveable city by Mercer Consulting in May this year. Last week, it placed #21 on Monocle's 2010 list of the world's 25 most liveable cities, pipped in Asia only by Tokyo and Fukuoka.

Leaving aside the matter of what "liveability" is (and I hope it doesn't merely come down to how many Starbucks and Zara outlets a city has), I found myself a little discombobulated by the following sequence in which I read the respective news:

Sunday, 27 June
"Tuna's End" in the New York Times Magazine, which focuses on what might be the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna. To wit:
By some estimates, there may be only 9,000 of the most ecologically vital megabreeders left in the fish’s North American stock, enough for the entire population of New York to have a final bite (or two) of high-grade otoro sushi.
Monday, 28 June
"Restaurant dishes out giant garoupa" on Channel NewsAsia, excitedly reporting that Johnny Tan, the owner of 2nd Kitchen restaurant in Singapore, had landed a 150-kg, 2-metre long garoupa and planned to feed 600 customers with it. In case you were wondering about the math:
... every 200-gramme serving will be sold at S$20. That could amount to a S$15,000 profit for the restaurant! Over a hundred customers have made reservations for a share of this deep sea wonder. [emphasis mine]
Miyagi points out that the news report fails to mention that the giant garoupa has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species since 2006.

Tuesday, 29 June
"S'pore emerges as most liveable Asian city in new Global Liveable Cities Index" on Channel NewsAsia. See above.

I don't know about "liveability", but I know we'll be a nicer place to live when there's more responsible news reporting on even non-political matters and when people are not encouraged to fetishise the consumption of something just because it came from the biggest/fattest/most expensive/rarest/most unlikely source.



At 6/30/2010 1:05 pm , Blogger jussi said...

Funny! It just so happens that Global Huggable Swedish People Index (coincidentally made up just of myself) has just named me the most Huggable Swedish Person in Asia 2010. Who'd have thought!

BRB, preparing some panda sashimi while writing to the government for funding.


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