Friday, December 5, 2008

Singaporeans, aren't we proud of being 1st world?

In his article in Straits Times of 5 Dec 2008, 'What will you defend in S'pore?', Goh Chin Lian wrote:
With Singapore marking 25 years of Total Defence next year, a new campaign has been launched to have people post online videos in response to this question:
"What will you defend? . . . . . .

Here, I'm thankful that the rainfall comes abundantly and the tress grow to a good height, with many providing much-needed shade .
. . . . .

I was in the high court on an assignment, listening to a case of 3 men who had been charged with being in contempt of court.

They were accused of scandalising the Singapore judiciary by wearing T-shirts with an image of a kangaroo dressed in a judge's robes.

The men spoke about freedom of expression and fair criticism to justify their actions, and declined to apologise when they were offered the opportunity to do so by the judge.

The case against them was presented by the Deputy Solicitor-General from the Attorney-General's Chambers.

The men were eventually sentenced to jail terms.

The youngest among them was a 19-year-old full-time national serviceman who was represented in court by a lawyer.

In the public gallery, among the friends and supporters of the trio, I noticed that there were several who appeared just as young as the national serviceman.

It made me wonder about just how they regarded the opposing arguments put forth by the trio and the Deputy Solicitor-General, and how that would shape their view of what they will defend here in the course of their lifetime.

On other occasions, I have also met foreigners from neighbouring countries and beyond who have worked or lived here for a number of years, as well as Singaporeans who have lived abroad for just as long.

One thing that most of them spoke about was the endemic corruption and unfairness of particular systems and processes in these various countries - from traffic policemen who will cream off motorists who flout traffic rules, to not being able to find job or a place in the university because of some in-built bias.

Such experiences again weigh on and affect not just their perceptions of those countries, but also how they see Singapore . . .

So perhaps, in thinking of what it is that makes Singapore worth defending, we should go beyond factors that are in our self interest.

Though Chin Lian did not state what he would defend, he wrote that "It would be a pity to lose such beauty and places of solace" referring to trees, parks and nature reserves that are in Singapore.

Honestly, its darn hard to defend what's beyond our self interest.

Yes, like Chin Lian, I would even protect living things like the trees, the parks the nature reserves. But I must admit that I do it for my self interest as I love the shade and the sense of peace they bring me.

I think every mother's son would do whatever it takes to defend his family, friends & relatives and would even take on the terror inflicted by freedom fighters to save his loved ones.

But to protect and defend my country as a whole? That's another ball game. It's inanimate.

What's my country and who am I?

The flag of my country consists of two equal horizontal sections, red above white. In the upper left section are a white crescent moon, and five white stars forming a circle. Each feature of the flag has its own distinctive meaning and significance. Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man. White signifies pervading and everlasting purity and virtue. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the ascendant. The five stars stand for the nation's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Since 1965, as a nation, we have scored only 2 out of 5. We have relative peace and progress. Where democracy, justice and equality are concerned, we have nothing to shout about. The red symbol of universal brotherhood and equality of man depends on which side of the divide you are in. Elite or peasant?

Having been born and bred in Singapore for more than half a century, I have been a Brit subject, a Malaysian and since '65, a Singaporean. The citizenship doesn't mean squat. You simply live with it.

Being a Singaporean is a very humbling experience. Every time Singapore leaders (or journalists) open their mouths to spew forth another self-glorifying achievement or to belittle our neighbouring countries to prove a point, I feel the cringe on my skin and try not to identify my citizenship when I visit my neighbours.

I do not know what the young ones will defend when they grow up. All I know is the following may be what would I defend - in areas where my self interest is not involved:
  1. I would defend the rights of my ministers to raise the GST so that they can pay themselves obscenely well.
  2. I would defend the rights of Town Council to charge me exorbitant conservancy charges so that they can gamble some on minibonds, high notes and what have you.
  3. I would also defend the rights of the goverment to withold upgrading of HDB flats in Hougang and Potong Pasir because majority of the voters there did not vote for PAP.
  4. I would also defend the rights of homophobes to do whatever they want with gays and lesbians.
  5. I would defend the rights of GIC and Temasek to do whatever they like with Singaporeans' money, including throwing them into losers like ShinCorp, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, UBS, ABC Learning, etc.,
  6. I would defend the rights of CPF to mess around with Singaporeans' hard-earned savings by delaying payment when due with silly excuses like Medisave, Minimum Sum and members' sure-lose annuity - Longevity Insurance.
  7. I would defend the rights of men-in-white who believe that wearing white on National Day makes you virtuous, pure and above scrutiny.
  8. I would defend the rights of Elites to call peasants "stupid crackpot", belonging to "the sadder class" and tell them to "get out of my elite uncaring face.
  9. I would defend the rights of the Government to allow Singapore to be gambling dens (IR's?) and whorehouses for the sake of its 1st world econnmy.
  10. Last but not least, as the video above shows, I would defend the rights of pimps to do their business in First World Singapore even the human rights of the victims of forced prostitution are marginalized and fed to the dogs!
If you do not read this as a satire, I shall soon be fed to the dogs too.



At December 7, 2008 at 12:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

This is Zhi Yuan, Chief Editor of The Wayangparty Club.

I have been following your blog for quite some time and I find your ideals quite similar to ours.

I would like to extend an invitation to you to join our fellowship.

Basically, we are a coalition of blogs working together to increase our reach in cyberspace.

As our fellowship blog, we will publish your article on our blog with a link to yours simultaneously to increase its reach and of course your readership.

Some other blogs on our fellowship are sgpolitics, groundnotes and Singapore Enquirer.

Please email me at for a discussion if you are keen.

Your identity will be kept strictly confidential and we do not need to meet up in person.

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