Saturday, February 10, 2007


There is finally a hint that Singapore, which is starved of many natural resources, may have found a solution to overcome the sand ban by its two closest neighbours.

There is a brief mention of the so-called NewSand today in a column in the pro-government The Straits Times, which analyses the current bad blood between Singapore and its neighbours:

After all, just look at how the Republic responded to the relentless Malaysian threats to curb its water supply. It came up with Newater, which some mocked or scoffed at initially, but which is now a multi-million-dollar industry, with Singapore's know-how now sought after from Australia to the Middle East.

Perhaps next will come NewSand, a synthetic equivalent which some are already talking about as the next adversity-turned-to-advantage answer to a shortage, not just in Singapore but elsewhere too, such as in China with its can't-get-enough construction boom.

Is it said in jest? Or is there really a substitute to the crucial building block of many societies? Will there be revelation of NewSand when the Singapore Parliament sits on Monday? Four MPs will ask questions on the implications of Indonesia's decision to ban sand exports last month, according to ST today. Singapore was the biggest buyer of Indonesian sand.

Whatever the real situation or solution, a line will clearly be drawn in the sand.