I have left the Singapore civil service, after 12 great years. It was not an easy decision. Whether it was representing my country as a diplomat in Washington D.C. and at UN conferences, working on climate change policy, or doing government strategic planning, I found what I did not just intellectually challenging but tremendously fulfilling. I am deeply appreciative of my colleagues at MFA and MEWR and MinLaw, and am thankful to everyone I worked with in other ministries and in other organisations. I am also grateful to the Public Service Commission and the Public Service Division for the opportunity to serve my country. As for what comes next, I will be staying on in the US in Washington D.C., working as a consultant in Deloitte's Federal practice.  As always, I'm contactable on Twitter.

Getting a Mac to accept both American and British spelling

This was bugging me, so I figured it out. If you want a Mac's spell-check to accept both American and British spelling, here's how to do it: Go to System Preferences - Keyboard and choose the Text tab. Under Spelling, make sure it says "Automatic By Language", then click on "Set up:". Under English, make sure "American English" and "British English" (and Australian and Canadian English if you'd like) are al l checked/ticked. By default, only one kind of English is checked (American English in the case of my bought-in-Philly MacBook Air). That should prevent the red squiggly lines from appearing in phrases like the following: "After analysing and scrutinising the man's sizeable goitre, my judgement was that its colour might reflect anaemia.".

In Space, No One Can Hear You Mine

I wrote a piece on why Bitcoin will never work as an interplanetary currency between Earth and Mars (due to the protocol and physics). In Space, No One Can Hear You Mine: Why Bitcoin remains resolutely earthbound 

Where do Singaporeans in the US live?

So, I've been studying how to use ArcGIS and here was the fun results of one project - mapping out where all the 26754 people who claim Singapore as their birthplace live in America. Map was created using ArcGIS and county-level data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. (There's also finer census tract-level data, but it was a bit problematic to use for a bunch of reasons that I won't get into here.) While "Singapore-born" includes a number of people who were born in Singapore as the children of American expats who now live in the US, as well as a number of people who gave up their citizenship, I suspect that this data is a relatively accurate proxy for where Singaporeans live in the U.S. As the graph shows, not unsurprisingly, Singaporeans are concentrated on the East and West coasts, My analysis of the data show over 10,000 living within the Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington DC corridor, about 5000 living within 250 miles

On the paucity of posts

I recognise that people searching for my name online often stumble upon this site, and I thought I should put up this post to explain why, unfortunately, does not quite capture the entirety of me, or even the persona I wish to project. The difficult thing with maintaining this blog is that - sadly for my writing though great for my career - life as a diplomat in Washington DC is fairly demanding. Which leaves precious little time to write substantively. Meanwhile,  Twitter has taken over as my platform for spur of the moment, throwaway thoughts. I am, of course, always willing to engage either in comments below, via e-mail [daryl dot sng at g mail dot com], or on social media. If you wish to talk about foreign affairs and international relations, including US-Singapore bilateral relations, US defence and security policies in Asia, nuclear non-proliferation, and US-South Asia relations, my work e-mail address is daryl_sng [at]

The Airport Shuffle

All these stories about Thanksgiving airport crowds reminds me of how different airports used to be pre-9/11. I recall having a ticket for a morning flight to London for an intersession break during college, and having stayed up almost all night the night before (probably to finish a take-home exam). After packing my luggage, I let myself sleep, telling myself I'd only take a short nap... next thing I knew, I woke up in my dorm room about an hour before my flight. Rushed out, grabbed a cab, made it to Logan Airport with about 20 minutes before flight time - and still managed to check in and make it to the gate in time. Those were the days.