I seldom write about Singapore despite there being so many things to be said.
Mainly because everything that can be said seems to have been said already. And based on my observations, as long as you write anything anti-government, the internet will rise up with you. But if you write anything pro-government, you can be sure the internet will rise up against you.
I acknowledge the mistakes the government have made, and I loathe the same things that many other Singaporeans loathe: influx of foreigners, expensive housing, high cost of living etc. But at the same time, I appreciate the amazing feats the government have accomplished that so many of us take for granted: low crime rates, great healthcare, low unemployment rates etc.
Pros and cons weighed, Singapore just might be tolerable to live in.
But the thing that really tips the scales against its favour is its most important feature: its people.
We are a culture that stamps down on people’s dreams before they can even bud. We take photos of tired students, who sleep 5 hours a night, sitting on the train’s reserved seats and post them on the net just to shame them. We send our kids for tuition classes from as young as 5 years old.
Ever heard the term ugly Singaporeans?
Yeah. You just need to take a fleeting glance at our forums to know how single-minded, judgemental, bitter and ugly we can be.
Not to mention the fact that we find every way possible to blame our government for our sufferings. Of course, some of them are true (hell no, I am not paying a million bucks and waiting four years for a freaking 4-room apartment), but I can, at the very least, tolerate all of PAP’s idiocy and detachment from its people. I can. What I cannot tolerate, is how unforgiving and blatantly ignorant we Singaporeans can be.
I have heard people blame the bad weather on the PAP’s decision to raise the population and build more houses(huh?). People have blamed the government when the prices for Singapore Airline tickets went up. And people, or rather, one person on my feed once tweeted in all earnestness that all Singaporeans will die if PAP wins the next election. Okay then.
Yes I unfollowed that moron.
But once in a while, something comes up that really gives me hope for Singapore.
Working on a communications strategies campaign for Hope Dog Rescue was one. Because it was from my research for the project that I learnt how more and more Singaporeans have grown to care about animal welfare. Yeah, I am a big animal lover, if you didn’t already know heh. But if people could care about animals, then maybe people do care for each other – more than we give them credit for.
Wahbanana was another. Because for once, people weren’t just commenting nasty, judgemental things at each other. It wasn’t all about “PAP scum” or “Foreigners suck!” They were happy, constructive and actually funny comments that showed a lighter side to Singaporeans. And yes, Singaporeans really can laugh at themselves. Maybe they just needed an outlet to show it.
In recent weeks, however, I came across two things that really made me go, “hey. we’re not such bad people.”
Both showed how much love Singaporeans were capable of.
When asked what made them happy, so many pointed to their parents, husbands, wives, loved ones, children, and for one, the baby in her womb.
At the end of day, you could have money, high flying careers, huge houses, big cars, but the thing that makes you happiest is your loved ones. And I was so blown away knowing that so many Singaporeans actually felt that way.
And then I realised, Singaporeans aren’t ugly, not really.
More of them just need to open their eyes and think about what makes them happy. To stop focusing on the things that made them envious, angry or bitter, and focus on the things that made all their “suffering” worth it.
So what if your old schoolmate earns twice as much as you, or your brother just got married to a perfect woman while you only have your 20 cats for company, or your cousin just got a promotion and your aunt can’t stop frikkin’ bragging about it? You’ve got your loved ones and that’s all that matters.
Money, it’s just bits of paper or numbers on a screen, isn’t it really?
Okay I just quoted Chris from Skins HA. But it’s true. I didn’t get it then. But I get it now.
Forget envy. Focus on loving. Treasure the people around you.
And maybe life would be a little bit better.