Don’t get me wrong. I love my country and I do feel a sense of pride wash over me everytime I see the flag or representatives of our country making it good somewhere. But there are just some things I can never understand.
I can never understand how our government proclaims the need for an open society (when it comes to opening Integrated Resorts) but protestors get arrested for peaceful protests, get chased away for organising their own runs and gay people aren’t allowed to have sex. (Oh and yes if you’re not gay and you want to have oral sex, please make sure it ends in intercourse or you’re screwed as well)
I can never understand how Singaporeans can complain day in day out about how this country is not fair as all opportunities go to “other people” but the moment you give them a chance, they’d be more than happy to run away to another country and be a foreign talent there.
I can never understand how the government asks for our students to be more creative and think critically when our teachers are told not to broach taboo topics and aren’t allowed to discuss anything that goes beyond your “politically correct discussions” in classes.
I can never understand why Singaporeans claim to be patrons of the Arts because when a performance is going on during a 9 course dinner, all everyone is interested in is getting that last bit of the fish or the sharks’ fin and oh yes making your toast and taking photos right smack in front of the dance performance.
I can never understand why such great efforts are made to exoticise Chingay – what was meant to be our parade for expressing ourselves and a legal substitute for firecrackers during Chinese New Year. If that’s the case, isn’t this our parade? Shouldn’t it be like Mardi Gras where everyone gets in the fun? Why the needs to make it so exotic (from the drummers who say the same local names and performing groups in “exotic tribal ways” which sound like scary shouts actually) , so controlled and mostly so much of a tourist attraction?
I can never understand why Singaporean officials feel that it is within their capacity to comment on lesser upgraded countries’ and criticise tyrannical activities of other countries when we ourselves stand at a 147th out of 160 countries in terms of freedom of speech (Reported by Reporters w/o Borders) and are in fact suspected of having links with Burma.
I can never understand why taxi prices were raised in order to help taxi drivers, who actually end up earning less now than they did before the fee hike. And oh yes then we stop them from getting passengers at CBD areas. (now wouldn’t it have made much more sense for this ruling for not picking up passengers at CBD areas just to last during peak periods so that during other times when it rains we don’t need to run to the nearest taxi stand which is bound to be really faraway that we’d probably have better luck getting to the MRT instead). And let me guess, when we start taking the trains they will hike the prices there too, then the buses…then what? Lets all walk? So who is actually benefitting from this if its not you, not me nor is it the taxi drivers?
Indeed, we live in a beautiful country, a country that is safe after 6pm, a country where your kids can go to school and come back without being held at gunpoint. A melting pot of so many different cultures, a tourist paradise and certainly a clean and green place to be .We have economic development and I’ll go so far as to say that while there is inequality and discrimination a larger group of us minorities also manage to enjoy a fair amount of comfort here. I agree that we have every right to be proud of our country but why stop here?
If we truly love our country, how can we be so complacent to assume that everything your papers report is the whole truth? That every government works with the best intentions in mind? When our brothers and sisters in Malaysia fight for their rights, why do we see them as detached from us? Why do we understand riots and protests and things that only happen in countries that do not enjoy economic comfort that we do? Why are we so certain that there are no poor people in Singapore? That the government takes care of all of them (we are no welfare state after all). Why do we assume that its no point trying to fight for our right to know and our right to express? Why are we so afraid to speak our mind simply because we feel that the very next moment someone from the government’s gonna start a conspiracy theory on us and stop our water supplies and send our kids out of school? Why do we feel that its okay that opposition parties are not given their fair share of exposure or that its okay not to know if our CPF systems are truly transparent because the government is good to use and provides us with economic comfort that you can barely dream of in other countries?
Why is there this need to have a trade-off (between economic comfort and our freedoms as humans)?
If we truly love our country, we should stop lamenting about how this is not the ideal place to live in, and instead start working on making this the ideal place to be living in. Start by first realising that wherever else you go, you will be a foreigner, a second class citizen. If you were born here, you owe this place at least that. Singapore is a land of contradictions; that is fairly established. But if we don’t correct these, who will?