I could never understand why people bought aerosol cans of pseudo "new car smell". The smell of rubber, solvents evaporating, plastics out-gassing and carpet are a combination that is far from edifying.
This is noted with some feeling as we have just brought our new car home from the showroom. The Volkswagen Polo is the 2010 car of the year in its class and while driving it is a pleasure, the smell is something else; although this will subside.
What particularly impressed me was the customer service of the Continental Car Services team and in particular our salesman Patrick, who arranged a free courtesy car for use for a fortnight while we awaited the ship carrying our vehicle.
He consummated the sale with a lovely bouquet of flowers which he presented to my wife. These appeared with a flourish when we went into the yard to collect the car - a nice touch and good service at its best.
More sobering is the news that the suicide rate amongst young people in Singapore is on the rise. Last year more than 400 Singaporeans took their own lives. This rate rises and falls in direct correlation with the effects of a recession or similar financial crisis.
The suicide rate in New Zealand has fallen in recent years but as with Singapore, the rate is highest in people aged 15–24.
The youth of Singapore are under tremendous pressure to succeed within the education system and places in the best universities are much sought after. In New Zealand the pace of life and education is more subdued.