Monday, April 27, 2009

Hating Singapore, isnt it a bit overdone?

Another eye catching, thought provoking recent news article on the now infamous "I hate Singapore" facebook group. Accordingly to the news snippet, most of the members are unsurprisingly our citizens, which in turn encouraged other expats to give in to their numerous rant and complaints about my country.
(news source: http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,4136,199816-1240610340,00.html )

"The Facebook page says the creator is one Mr Wils Cheng . When The New Paper e-mailed to ask him why he set up the group, he simply referred us to the write-up on the group's Facebook page. He would not say if he is Singaporean. On whether he felt his group's stand was too harsh, Mr Cheng replied: 'I do regret that the name of the group may be 'harsh and unfair', but the things we advocate - free speech, free blogging, less restriction on art and expression, and cultural progress - are all positive.'"

Firstly what does he has to hide whether he is a singaporean? Afraid of repercusions? Is he a a true reformer at heart or coward in disguise?

Freedom of speech doesnt always equate to objective nor constructive airing of opinions. However, how many of those ranting out there are truly unbiased?Sure, in many ways Singapore is lacking and requires areas of improvement, but hey, which country is perfect? Is it really necessary to bash your own country and being so shamelesly unnationalistic? To set up a group to publicly humiliate your own birth place, really, does it make you a better qualified person to think that you have all sides of the stories especially when I suspect a good portion of the people may not even have experience residence in other continents before they shot off their mouth without regards.

I found it ironical at how China which has more human rights restrictions imposed on its citizens produced more nationalistic citizens than us. The chinese are profusingly genuinely proud of their own nation in comparsion. In face of any criticsims in the political or media arena, many times, China citizens from many parts would band together and stick it out defending their country, lashing at the negativity. Yet for Singaporeans who had it better in many aspects, often had nothing but disdain and public outcry against their own land, much eager to embrace the "renegade" badge as if it is some perverse honor. It is this public group of "thoughtless" people that I really loathe that makes others like us having to suffer the mockery by people of other nations, and having to defend ourselves in the face of slapping our own cheek by our own people.

Everyone in life shares different priorities of what is important to them, hence its up to a person how much one is willing to forgo in acceptance of the values that is dearest to their own heart. I have many expat friends living in Singapore and loving it because they can never imagine return to their own country may it Australia, London or New York. They would rather put up with bad English than return to the inconveniences they grow up in, or the unsafe environment where walking alone at night is unsafe, an underground tube that constantly breaks down, or the wet and gloomy expensive life that surrounds them. Overly passionate ciztiens aside, for those foreigners who had unreservedly shared their candid negative views, I hold nothing against them because they have every right to reject what was offered to them and return to their homeland which in turn have its own vices and flaws. However, the question that I wonder is how many of them have even truly tried to adapt or blend in with the locals without that "I am an expat attitude?"

As to the gripes of Ms Laila Allen from Australia, English may be our first working language medium but regardless how much our govt may try to promote it, it is not our NATIVE language (mother tongue) that is if you havent come to realise in your stay in Singapore. Due to our diverse cultural ethnicity, we need a non offensive neutral common language to communicate - hence English. Yet to many, most of all revert to the language which we are most comfortable with in either Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka, Tamil, or Malay etc when we aint working. Yes it is no excuse for bad pronunciation nor grammatical errors when it comes to service industry, however it is apparent that many of our service staff are not highly educated people. They may not necessary have all had the fortune of a good education and what's more, they most probably come from families where English may not be the main medium at home, nor least of all gone to a top school where one could mouth off English perfectly without your so call bad accent. Plus I do resent the fact that the person you are criticising could jolly well be someone Else's mother, brother or sister who does not have the luxury of a proper education. Rather than be judgemental, think about all those poor old aunties and uncle who have to pick up another working language just to find work in this modern society before one starts to pass a sweeping condemnation on all working staff.

I fail to believe all Singaporeans speak badly. Sure there are many where even I would cringe hearing them but I certainly can vouch for numerous Singaporeans who had fantastic spoken English. And as for accent, does one personally think that the thick Australian Queensland English or the Ireland's slang is anything easier nor understandable to other foreigners?

Perhaps Australia is luckier in the sense that their ancestors are of prisoner stock from London, combined with working class migrants from other European countries, hence inheriting the mixture of Cockney, Irish and Welsh, Germany accent. Singapore on the other hand are descendants from of migrants from different part of China, India and Asia states and hence English has never been part of our heritage until we were colonised, which even then, still was a language for the rich and not the common folks. Hence having a weird varied form of accent differing from many other western countries where English is deeply entrenched for centuries is thus comprehensible. We may not have perfect crisp Queens English, nor the nasal American accent for most of the lot but for the last 44 years since English was introduced to our curriculum, and moving on I believe we are getting there, through the evolution of generations combined with the influx of more westerners to taking up residency. However, one has to bear in mind that our society will always be formed by different tier of classes and those who are perfect in English would unlikely be found to be serving in a restaurant, supermarket, receptionist or fronting the desk of a customer service (with exception to citibank customer service perhaps) unless it is a part time job.

On the other matter, just because one asked a question in English in foreign land, one shouldn't arrogantly presume and expect everyone to reply in English, least of all perfect English. If someone continued to speak mandarin or any other foreign language to you, it doesnt mean they do not care about your existence. At times, they are trying to help and hoping in a tiny chance you can make sense of their conversation. When I was in Japan and once asked a (5 star) hotel staff a question in English, he started out feebly in grammatically incorrect English and started to talk in Japanese to himself, to his colleague and to me, desperately hoping hope against hope I may be able to make sense. I am not offended just because he is speaking Japanese to me when I had asked in English. And neither am i critical at the fact that he wasnt able to speak English fluently in a 5 start hotel. In Hong Kong, you can speak English but when you meet someone who doesnt or not quite fluently, they too would also quickly revert back to speaking in Cantonese and fretting about how to convey a point. In Paris, I got misdirected and people tried to point me back in French even though I know they can speak English. Yet I was never offended. Hence the point is, if you dont understand what other people are saying to you, dont point the fingers at others expecting people to accommodate your language. Instead, while in ROME, do what the ROMANS do, go pick up another language, at least basic speech to get you by. If you succeed in acclimatising yourself to the host country, you will in turn be richly rewarded with warmer service and an easier time. When I went back to Japan with the ability to speak their language, the already impeccable service was raised several levels especially by service staff who are not fluent in English and appreciating the simple gesture. The point is , Dont just rave and rant and expect other people to give in to your language medium. If you can speak their language, you would bound to discover how much easier your life will be in a foreign land. I have seen many expats living overseas turn their nose up at the locals and congregate associating amongst themselves, bitching and complaining about matters that would have easily resolve / dissolve if they would learn to integrate with the locals, which obviously was too much to ask from them.

Singapore never professed to be a western country, our national anthem isnt even English. At heart, we are a mix lot, mixed heritage living together. English is only but our common business language. So if one comes across another person on the street, I personally feel that the person is NOT obliged to reply you in English or even be fluent in it. This is NOT to excuse poor linguistic skills in the general public and especially the service industry (which I do concur requires huge improvement but who is going to pay for their British council courses?) but to pin the blame on the whole nation, I think is a little too much. Unless ALL our educational teachers are native English speakers, or had gone through British council course (would parents like to pick up a more expensive school fee tab?) to improve their speech, this situation of weird Singapore accents will always remain a cyclical challenge. What's more, should the huge influx of continuous tourists from China pumping so much cash into western countries expect them to be fluent in Mandarin in the service industry as well if that is the argument to go by? Hong Kong is a good example of a country doing that and no one is faulting their less than perfect Mandarin accent. Hong Kong is colonised by the Brits far longer than Singapore and yet Cantonese remained their main language medium and English is horridly indecent by far and large, situation not helped by the teaching medium swapped to Mandarin in schools years back since the reunification with China. So why is Singapore beating ourselves up so badly in comparison?
There is a difference between airing the gaps and pushing for improvements vs downright negating and turning your back on your own nationality.

I have lived in Australia myself and the English of many people there are neither perfect nor always pristine grammatically correct even if it's their first and ONLY language. And yes, while I readily agree that the Australian staff are friendlier, and warmer, however that does not equate to competency either. I too have my endless fair share of rants about service in Sydney to the point that I often wonder if one should abolish the "welfare allowance" or that the unions are not wielding too much power to the point that the staff doesnt care about what is "customer oriented service", nor do they care about what is call after sales service. Such complacency to me is much more deplorable than an "incompetent singapore staff" who may not know how to handle a question but had the decency to rope in their manager to address any complaints of the staff. In David Jones Sydney, I had the fortunate experience of a male staff who served us halfway but decided that it was time for his smoking break, and no qualms to leave us waitin for good 30-45mins while he scooted out without a word. When we enquired for the followup, no one had a clue, and no one bothered to locate any floor manager if there was even one. When the staff returned, no apologies, no concerns. Whatever we asked, he had no idea and couldnt care less. In another instance, the female staff were just chatting and chatting and couldnt care less that I was in a hurry to pay and go. In another instance where I was promised white goods delivery, and only to have the guys dumping it on my doorstep saying that carrying it into the apartment or assembly is NOT their job, not giving a damn if a single woman could even carry the heavy goods in that require 3 big blokes to handle. So how is Sydney any better when it comes to service quality? Perfect English alone doesnt redeem bad service either nor gain any affections in my books. I rather have someone who is half arsed in English but get the job done without me fretting or getting annoyed with the blatant "couldnt care less" attitude. Hence I think it is a bit rich for any Australians to complain about service in Singapore or any other Asia countries for a fact.

A good portion of westerners may have learned a 2nd / 3rd language but that good portion has never master it well either. I take Kevin Rudd as an outstanding exception. However, even with a chinese son-in-law, how many in his family are able to speak mandarin well? We take a look at a good portion of Australians, which many are not able to speak another language apart from English, not even when they have Aboriginal people in their own backyard and a substantial number of Asians in their community. What is worse is they are still fighting discrimination of the locals against the aboriginals the land they had cruelly stolen from. A good portion of American likewise in a similar position, where English is the only dominant language despite the fact they are a melting pot of other ethnic races like the Hispanic etc. The point I am trying to make here is that there are many groups of people out there who felt so discriminated against to a point that it was a cheering fact that a non-white president has been elected. Hence. shouldnt there be more hate group out there from other countries then to rant about the inequality, discriminating and judgemental society they live in compared to the peeving, trival matters that had been raised in this "I hate singapore" group?

While it is natural and almost 2nd nature to have tons of grievances, contentions about nagging issues,and exasperation's over flaws of a country, however it is childish and petty, even bordering on ingrate for any citizens to declare an open hatred for your own country over such inane matters (unless someone has a political agenda to it which makes it a separate matter). People who constantly gripe about Singapore laws, I often throw back a question, why should strict laws offend anyone who doesnt seek to act out a crime? Incidentally to the ignorant foreigner, personal consumption of gum is not an offence, the sale of it is.

Living in other countries, one also has to pay (different) taxes, abide by another set of laws, work, sleep, eat, watch TV, hang out at cinema cafes malls and beach. What's the big difference? For those complaining of the lack of fun and scenery, go get a great job, and that's what paid holidays and travelling are for. Dont just take for a week or two and gleam only the surface of pretty things, try roughing it out and perhaps some exposure of other people's way of lives in another country would do you a little good and widen your shallow narrow horizon. I had a friend who once told me the difficulty she had locating a rental apartment because no one wanted to rent to a non Japanese, regardless how good her track records may be. Or doesn anyone know the sort of "social" class a working woman at work has in Japan a well civilised country?I was shocked by such a given alienation. People in Sg doesnt know how good they have it despite our country's imperfections.

As for those who carelessly and unreservedly stamp their disapproval and hatred towards Singapore so much, one has to rem there are always 2 sides to a coin and rem the old saying, where the pasture is always greener on the other side but isnt necessary so when you actually do step across.

sidetrack: It's always sad to have a bunch of born and bred people doing their own country bashing without needing some other people to do it... and also to be the only country consisting of a handful of ethically chinese citizens turning their back against their own mandarin mother tongue, finding it a chore to master it... it is at this point where I often envy other countries that produces generations of nationalistics of citizens, even if their logic is at times out of whack.

15 comments:

WhiteDuskRed said...

Losers complain. Winners do. All those people complain and whine but what have they done to change matters? Some of them have never left the country.

With 400 or so members, even if all of them are Singaporeans it is also just a small small percentage (0.01%). Just kids and idiots without a look on the other side.

As for the Australians... I guess most Singaporeans give them a blank stare because they cannot believe an ang moh can speak such rotten English! Ha!

As for Kevin Rudd, he did stay in Beijing for many years and spent the effort to learn the language. Cannot say the same for all those expats on Singapore shores~

I bet they can't even pronounce Ang Ku Kueh properly!

littlecartnoodles said...

I had presumed that most of the members in the "I Hate Singapore" group are Malaysians, hahaha ...

WhiteDuskRed said...

Malaysians never came to my mind. At least for the Chinese race in Malaysia. They get an equal chance of getting an education and job, unlike back in Malaysia whereby most positions are reserved for the Malays.

It's best to send those ingrateful Singaporeans to stay in another country like Malaysia for some time. Who knows, maybe they will like it there so much that they will migrate to the other side of the causeway!

Anonymous said...

There are so many people who hate Americans and hate America. There are a lot more hate America sites than hate Singapore sites. But Americans don't seem to be bitter about it. Just get over it. Trust me, you'll feel better. We're all citizens of the world anyhow. Who cares about nationalism...pride is one of the seven deadly sins you know!

Starbucks said...

History is written by the victors. PAP has won, and all the gerrymandering election tactics will ensure their kind will rule for perpetuity. But what of the older generation who supported Lee Kuan Yew in the overthrow of the colonoal Brits, and later the communists? They are condemned to die in old folks homes which are cheaper across the causeway. Meanwhile "retired" cabinet ministers are given high paying chairman posts in corporations they have no industry experience in. They even go to the idea of desecrating the English language by amending the law to state that one man constitutes an assembly which requires a police permit. Is it any wonder a member of parliament was punched in the face in one instance, and set on fire the next (too bad it happened to the same guy). When the citizenry is pushed to the limit, and left nothing to lose, then civil society can only collapse. Just be thankful they are still complaining and not torching the premises.

Brisbanite said...

to start off, china's present nationalistic streak mainly stems from its historical oppression by the western powers. since theyve managed to claw back a bit of face in the past century of so, its understandable they would want to make a song and dance about it.

i feel you have a very limited ability to empathize with the perspectives of others. your categorizing of people into "losers" and "winners" says it all.

people's personal viewpoints are shaped by our individual experiences. you may have been born a winner, or made it good by your own merits, but that doesn't allow you to be condescending towards others who did not succeed, esp since the environment here makes it intensely difficult to break out of the poverty trap.

just because you dont understand their reasons for hating singapore, does not mean their opinions are worthless.

for example, if you have ever served your national service and gone out into the working world, i seriously doubt you would have written this post.

consider this. even when faced with discrimination and ambivalence overseas, why do people still leave?

if we really have so much to be proud about, why do we even have this facebook group in the first place?

perhaps its time to take a leaf from your own book and get "some exposure of other people's lives" in order to "widen your shallow narrow horizon", except only this time in singapore.

Brisbanite said...

we both agree on the need for a shared national identity.

unfortunately, singaporean society has been castrated to the point that this identity is unlikely to ever emerge - simply because it would represent a power greater than our government.

australians have their australian value statements, americans their amendments in the constitution. their citizens share a commitment to these values; this makes them proud of their country.

admittedly sometimes these exist only in name, but the key point is these principles are enshrined and serve as the catalyst for future change. in these countries the constitution is not changed on a government's whims and fancies.

a great example - aboriginals in australia and last year's apology to the stolen generation. the first step to reconciliation.

and obama did get elected eventually, didn't he?

would that have ever happened here? other peoples actually have something to be proud about. what do we have?

littlecartnoodles said...

Some of your commenters seem to be paid by the word. Individual sentences make sense, but entire passages collapse into heaps of incoherence.

Nomad said...

To Brisbanite

1. No where in my post did I categorise people into categories of winner and losers, that is if you are already not overly consumed by your own shaped perspective and judgement just because I disagree with the hate singapore group.

2. Yes I agree with WHY china would stoically remain nationalistic being the under dog for so long. WHAT my point is that despite all the CURRENT govt restrictions and policies, they remain dogmatically PROUD of their country and would band together to ward off negative comments, rather than airing petty critisms under I hate singapore instead of things I hate about singapore. There is a fundamental difference to me.

3. and YES, I have worked locally and overseas for over a decade to qualify to write this post. and it is PRECISELY i have lived abroad as well to measure the merits of the pros and cons and the trade off about singapore that I find it disappointing about this anti singapore bashing. I never once quantify if these people are losers, I merely question how many of those commented had actually lived overseas to compare BOTH SIDES of the PASTURES before being so definitive that SINGAPORE is such an obnoxious society to live in, whereas in comparison, MANY expats that I personally know, including my foreign BORN AND BRED partner liked living in singapore. They concur with some of the highlighted issues but it puzzles many about this scorching hatred because to many who HAVE been exposed to other societies, some of these grieveances are not some of the biggest issues.

4. Yes, people still leave, and many others come to take their place. Some left not because they hate it, some left because like me, we have other obligations. Like i said in my blog, DIFFERENT PEOPLE have DIFFERENT values and wants, and are willing to accept the trade off. If you hate it and it conflicts with your fundamental beliefs, then you can choose to leave. However, if others who may view safety and family raising in stable safe environment are happy to come live here.

5. I dont think my blog is intended to be presented aiming to undermine any opposing views, which you have evidently on the other hand done so.

My question was raised that other countries have BIGGER problems, such as aboringals being discriminated. Yes saying sorry is the first step, and giving back land is the next. HOWEVER, many aboriginals are still bullied and the laws are remains unfair to them. Woman are raped by whites and all the rapists gotten was a slap on the wrist penalty. Hence activists had to protest in media to garner attention at the inequality. And yes, I mentioned there are such raicial and colour issue that when Obama was elected, there were cheers all around because these are REAL ISSUES THAT WARRANT deep running emotions but YET their pride of being the national citizen runs deep. That was the difference I am trying to highlight.

6. We can go on and on forever to discuss our opposing views but I think the issue with most people is that they tend to add fury and negative emotions (and inability to withhold sacarsms) that mars any potential to hold any constructive discussions.

I never once said SIngapore is perfect. In fact, I said NO COUNTRY is perfect. I concede there are flaws and weakness from the start. However, acknowledging those flaws and agreeing with them requiring changes constitues a desire to progress my country to the next stage.

My point to make is that "Mere stone throwing and cave man shouting doesnt do anyone any good." Actions speaks louder than words. If one sees something that is not right, then work towards changing it. If the legislation is a joke, then work towards being involve to change it or shape it. What i cannot stand is people ranting and ranting but when it comes to the crutch to express their views, they choose to hide behind annoymity.

When I see an issue that I dont agree with may it policy or process, I do my part to send in my queries and questions to the relevant department. As a person, I can only do this much to encourage change in this society. However collectively, we can do something. However Mere ranting and public bashing does no one any good, but comes across like a child throwin tantrum fighting against the boundaries set by a parent..

Nomad said...

To Annoymous and Starbucks.

There is a difference between being proud and having pride. Hence Pride is not always a sin.

As for the views that our older generations who voted for PAP are living in "homes" across the causeway. >> Well, voting a party doesnt constitue a barter trade that you will be look after for life. Even in nuclear familes, your parents are not obliged to care for you for life, least of all the state govt. In addition, even if any opposing party had been voted in, one cannot say for certainty if it will bring us here today in such a short time. Perhaps we might, perhaps not. But if u ask me outright if I favor a welfare state, my answer is NO. It ruins the country economy and be nothing but liabilty. However, I concur there can there be MORE to be done to care for the elderly and family unit. However, how many young people nowadays even want to stay with their own folks to begin with resulting in much abandonment. Isnt that more of our social problem than the fault of a state governance?

And yes, I agree that there are many issues that reflects the disregard to the older generation, language for one. However, how many of those are not the brillant ideas of OUR YOUNGER generation, holding office post,that have lost the connection with the older generations. What had resulted in this catch 22 situation? The parents neglect of incalcuting family values, the societal pursuit of progress or the govt wrong again? The point is, we all have our part to play, pointing fingers doesnt solve anything.

"When the citizenry is pushed to the limit, and left nothing to lose.." Push to limit? What limit that is so dire straits that is supposedly rendering sg starking mad and furious that is yet to deprive the citizens from having a good time, taking hols, checking out condos, and deciding which starbucks cafe to head to for leisure office tea break.

Nomad said...

If one asked me what singapore has to be proud of, yes we do not have historical oppression to come out from to say we have made it.

We may not have our value statements, nor amendments like the americans their amendments in the constitution. Even if we do, will our citizens even BE committed to it or treat it as another joke?

What do we have to be proud of? Ideas from the past that many others have not thought of. many things to appreciate for.

For one, I enjoy the education I was given a priviledge to. I was certainly not shortchanged compared to my cousins living in msia and california. It may not be a perfect scheme, but I applaud the foresight of getting us bilingually trained to begin with. Every where I go even till this day, may it Vietnam, HK, Japan, States, UK or even China, many, and I mean MANY people esp the older generation praise our country for such a pratical move and many of us benefit from it, whether one does well or not is another matter as to how we can improve that ideal.

Secondly, I am thankful again for the foresight of our govt learning from the New zealand policy of getting dental care kicked in from early school years in the 70s. Thus for my gleaming white healthy teeth. It may sounds trival and a joke but comparing to many HK people I have met even today with bad teeth because there is no such program, I feel lucky that such importance factor though seemed marginal was placed into the thoughts of building this country.

Thirdly, we didnt have beautiful natural resources like our Asia neighbors or western counterparts. So I am thankful that someone thought that human resource was a good foundation to build on in those early seperation years from Malaya..

Fourthly, the HDB housing program is a success for a land scarce country like us which many developing countries soon learn to emulate or make their variations versions upon. The idea provided the basic fundamental needs for every family, a roof over their head.

Fifthly, I constantly appreciate the stable and safe environment we have come to live in and taken for granted for some. This safety does comes at expense of freedom and proves stiffling for some, but yet heavenly for others. For exmaple, in SG, I never have to fear when I walk on the streets late at night, as compared to those nights in L.A where i felt compelled to look over my shoulders every now and then, I am fearful for my own safety when a shooting just occured blocks away.

Six. I was raised in an environment and country to see people only as male and female, and the thought of colours never even crossed my mind. Colours of people was what the great americans taught me - that people there are divided into black, white and yellow.

Not many things are quantifiable nor measureable so that one can be proud of. AT the end of the day, It is WHAT MATTERS most to one. I certainly am not deficient nor confused about my priorities nor any doubts about the width of my horizon. It certainly can be expanded further but it surely aint not shallow.

WhiteDuskRed said...

I graduated from polytechnic, spent 2.5 years in NS, worked in Singapore for 3 years and going to reach 4 years in HK. I financed my own degree studies on my own. I've also worked/stayed short stints in Thailand, China and Japan. This coming September I will be studying for my MSc in HKUST.

I voted for the PAP because they brought us HDB, education and food without any natural resources. I work in HK because there are only so many jobs in Singapore. My education gave me a headstart with English and Mandarin. Now I also speak Cantonese and Japanese. So indebted am I towards my country? Seriously

I know there are many Singaporeans who have an agenda against PAP. Some have studied overseas and seen the sort of freedom which Jackie Chan would have called excessive.

I have friends in the States who are pondering the option of sending their children to Singapore for studies because they feel that they have too much freedom in America. Or they will get shot even before they turn 21. I have people telling me not to bring the kids to study in HK. But at the end of the day those same people love their country.

Those Singaporeans that join that Facebook group? They probably won't even know how to startup a computer if not for Singapore. Those foreigners in the group? Well, I've met quite enough foreigners who still think that Singapore is a prefecture in China...

I can tell you many things that Singapore is worse off than other countries but then again to be fair to Singapore, the little red dot doesn't have the natural resources. Guess where Brunei or Saudi Arabia will be now without the oil? Their people will probably be clearing our streets like other foreign workers. The government didn't do everything right but we are not sweeping streets, are we?

I don't get the "Obama did get elected eventually" part... He's an American. What's wrong with him getting elected? Unless Americans are racists... And apologies to the aborigines doesn't mean a thing. It's like stabbing someone and saying "aye sorry ah, I slipped"

Brisbanite said...

To Nomad

to avoid my incoherence, allow me to address your points in order.

1. my apologies for the misunderstanding. the end of your post was close to the first comment, i read beyond the post, and it was "WhiteDuskRed"'s comment which mentioned losers and winners. if so that comment would be directed at him/her.

once again, apologies.

2. it is true tt singaporeans whine a lot.

however, i prefer to see the whining as a symptom rather than the disease. people do not whine for no reason, or just because "they are losers" as some others posters here would believe.

i understand your exasperation with these people; however don't you think your observation delves only skin deep?

the issue does delve deeper than that, and you are free to explore this avenue if so inclined.

3. yes, many of these people might not have lived overseas to gain first-hand experience. undoubtedly the grass is always greener on the other side.

just one interesting point : the expat experience vs the local experience in singapore are worlds apart, wouldn't you agree? i don't think that is a fair basis for comparison.

4. definitely. which is exactly the same thing i am saying, albeit maybe in a different way.

5. my purpose here isn't to indulge in disruptive behaviour, rather to challenge your views. if i have been too argumentative i apologize.

i feel you have observed on the surface level, but do not question the root causes behind your observations. e.g. singaporeans are not proud of their country, but WHY?

one thing to note is that in australia and the US, at least we have awareness amongst the community about these issues. citizens feel engaged at a personal level to lobby for issues they feel strongly about.

when i studied in brisbane, my university was just next to parliament house - therefore i had the opportunity to observe many demonstrations. (you probably know where i studied now, heh).

this would probably explain your observation why singaporeans don't feel proud of their country - this connection simply does not exist.

6. point taken and noted.

i think the frustration stems from the fact that in singapore, very often one thing is being said but another is being done.

which is, ironically enough, a characteristic shared by the QLD state labor govt.

Brisbanite said...

To Nomad :

its evident you have many things to be grateful to this country for, and i don't challenge that.

however, i feel its important to realize that for every individual like you, there is someone out there who has been disfranchised.

these are the people who "have their agendas" against singapore, simply because they were the ones who SUFFERED from the roughshod policies of this government. they didn't have a choice, with the "one size fits all" way we do things.

not everyone out there is "having a good time, taking hols, checking out condos, and deciding which starbucks cafe to head to for leisure office tea break". that is what i take offence at.

you may be enjoying that lifestyle, but there are many invisible individuals who are not, and not all of them can be categorized as "losers".

i merely seek to show you the other side of the coin.

1. have you ever had a relative or friend who suffered from the streaming policy? or poly late bloomers who were denied entry to NUS? or were you ever denied entry to the NUS medical faculty on the basis of your gender?

you talk about the bilingual policy - what about the destruction of nantah? the dialect policy? till this day i am ashamed i am unable to communicate with my grandparents in dialect.

2. white healthy teeth are good. we all love white healthy smiles. =)

3. consider this : if not for one person's unbridled ambition, we might still be part of malaysia today. we could have avoided the whole strife and turmoil bit of things.

we wouldn't have needed to harness manpower as our "only natural resource" had we been a little more humble towards working with our neighbours.

which, if you consider the whole economic hinterland thing, might possibly mean we would not be as exposed to the global financial crisis as we are now.

funny to see how history has repeated itself exactly in thailand over the whole thaksin affair, too.

ironically enough, the DAP (which was the malaysian branch of the PAP) is doing some very good work in penang right now.

4. i've quite a personal interest in this as i am a newlywed and have been house-hunting recently, both in australia and singapore.

i'm sorry, i do not think taking out a 25 or 30 year loan for an "asset" with forced depreciation of 1%/year is in anyway "affordable".

a house should not cost more than 3 or 4 times the median yearly income.

there are some good essays out there explaining why hdb prices must inevitably continue to rise. do remember that our children will be the ones paying these inflated prices in the future - and only god knows if wages will increase in tandem.

all this is of course debatable - which is the point of the internet - but consider this; as a leasehold owner, there are many ways to evict you from your flat should it become convenient to do so.

have you ever had relatives who were forced to continue paying their HDB loans well into their 60s? i have - the impact on their family life is devastating.

5. safety is a very personal choice, therefore each to his own.

6. we don't feel prejudiced in singapore simply because we are the majority race. the malays and indians have been complaining for a long time about this issue. job advertisements for "mandarin speaking only", for example.

i sincerely do appreciate your perspective on things. undoubtedly at the end of the day, it is what matters most to the individual and what place is the best fit.

i just hope you can see that some of these "whiners" do really have something substantial to get off their chests and not simply dismiss their experiences.

Brisbanite said...

To WhiteDuskRed :

i guess everyone is an idiot except for you. nice to see that you aren't biting the hand which fed you! do stay where you belong, and keep away from my part of the world.

by the way, malaysia isn't such a bad place to live. thinking that way is what got us all into trouble with the tengku back in the 60s anyway. penang is a pretty nice retirement spot if you buy in ringgit.