Where Are We Headed?

Singapore’s future is uncertain. 5 years ago, I was still very confident if someone were to ask me what I feel about Singapore’s progress as a society and country as a whole. Definitely on the right track. Our future is bright. Today, if you ask the same question, I would stop and think. Let me write my thoughts out before giving you an answer. Continue reading “Where Are We Headed?”

The Singapore Election Fever

I was chatting with my friends the other day about the General Election 2011 in Singapore. From the conversations I had with them, it made me realise one thing, and it hit hard upon me, that Singaporeans are not politically apathetic at all. In fact, Singaporeans generally have a lot to say about the government, about how everything is being run here, and the rise of the opposition parties in the country. Continue reading “The Singapore Election Fever”

Can Singapore be Seen by The West as Role Model?

Singapore is an economic miracle. Not only that, its amazing achievements in the academics has left the West green in envy. In the recent article by The Economist titled Go East, young bureaucrat, it mentioned that ‘the city-state streams pupils rigorously and is unashamedly elitist; one school claims to send more students to Ivy League universities than any other secondary schools in the world’. Continue reading “Can Singapore be Seen by The West as Role Model?”

Looking Back

I was catching an episode of Every Singaporean Son, which is a series of short clips depicting the life of an army recruit in Singapore at Pulau Tekong during our Basic Military Training ( BMT). The clips were very real, in fact they were real since they were produced when I was in BMT, and I knew they were embarking on this project to create these series. Yup, the army recruits in these videos were from my batch, and I can actually recognise some familiar faces in the videos.

These videos really gave every Singaporean a glimpse of what army is like in Tekong, especially for the younger generation of Singaporean boys who may be interested to know what their future life in army will be like. I did not have a chance of seeing this video before entering army, and I should say I could have been much better prepared mentally if I were to see these videos. Every feeling and emotion captured in the videos were so vivid and clear, I felt so connected to the recruits inside the videos, and I felt like I was suffering together with them.

One special mention would be episode 9, where they were having their fieldcamp. The tears and sweat were so natural, it made me tear as well as I recalled the tough trainings I had during my fieldcamps. I might be from Leopard, which is well-known as one of the slackest company in Tekong, because it is a warrant-officer company, but we still had our fair share of tough trainings and physical activities. Furthermore, my tough trainings in Specialist Cadet School (SCS) made me feel the pain of the soldiers digging the shellscrapes. There were some negative comments regarding the younger generation of Singaporean boys. From the crying, many had this impression that we are weak and dependent kids who will not be able to survive harsh conditions. I beg to differ, our physical fitness are shown to have improved dramatically over the past decades. This bears testament to the fact that we are in fact physically stronger than the older generation. Secondly, we have a stronger sense of belonging to our home and family. In the past, our fathers are not the only child in the family, and they may not experience family love as much as we do nowadays. Being humans, we will naturally tear when we think of our loved ones, but once we dry our tears, we are as strong as ever, being confident as to who we are fighting for, and who are worth fighting for. So to those ” Oh-I-really-hate-the-younger-generation-because-they-are-so-weak” people, think twice before commenting.

In a separate case, this NTU student who had a dialogue session with SM Goh in NTU in late October resulted in some debate over the internet. He said that he does not know ‘what he is fighting for’. Lets not care and comment about the answers given by our SM, but the fact that he asked this question shows that many other youngsters in the auditorium at that point of time actually agreed with his statement, if not he would not have dared to give such a statement. And while I do not agree with him fully, I understand what his point is and what message he is sending to our SM. That the younger generation of Singaporeans do not have a sense of belonging to our country, because either we are not satisfied with how things are running here, or we feel threatened by the influx of foreigners (which is inevitable for any small and open economy). He may mean that we have no freedom of speech and human rights, resulting in the lost of love for our country.

He may have a point here, but we do have reasons to fight for our country, and it is the very fact that our loved ones are living here, the fact that we are born here, for all the ordinary Singaporeans who need to have a peaceful night sleep and to repay for what our forefathers did to build up this tiny nation, we have the every responsibility to fight for the survival of Singapore. Thats what we are fighting for.

A week of reflections and fishing luxury goods along Orchard River

Orchard Flood
I realised Orchard Road experienced the worst floods in decades after reading the newspapers in the barber shop in camp on Thursday. Living in camp makes you deprived of news from the outside world, one thing I really hate about.
Anyway, this flood has created lots of debates over the internet whether to blame the government for neglecting the drainage systems around the city area, or to applaud them for being the first to analyse the situation and giving a quick response to the situation along our famous and only beloved shopping street. Singapore is so small that we only have one shopping and entertainment area of such scale, and now it seems nature is so jealous that it wants to destroy it. Well, simply because the litter clogged the drains…leading to the flash flood which resulted in traffic chaos across the city and inconvenience to thousands of commuters going to work that day. I think if there are any more floods coming up, lets say outside the Esplanade area, the PUB will come up with the reason that it was due to the old unwanted musical instruments thrown into the drains that resulted in the floods. Seems like it is now time for the PUB to seriously check every major monsoon drains in Singapore, and the whole drainage system in our country. Judging from the fact that flash floods are occurring more frequently, we must now look into the urban planning policies, whether we are able to sustain our infrastructures on such a tiny island.
Maybe it is time to improve these systems before planning to increase the urban density of the country. Or maybe its just the litter, so its time for us to love the environment and stop littering. In fact there is now one more reason for not littering, its not just to keep the city clean, but to prevent mega huge flash floods from occurring again. I have not heard of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district under water before, and this is a huge embarrassment for Singaporeans. This is a major shopping belt, with lots of tourists and foreigners living, working and visiting that place, what will they say? Please, I dont want to call Orchard Road Orchard River. I LOLed so much when I read news about ugly Singaporeans picking up accessories, bags, iphones, ipods etc washed away from shops by the floods. ( How I wish I was there!! ><)

Missing School days
After watching the video clip of my band juniors playing for HCI impressione 2009, I was filled with emotions as I started recalling the happy days spent practising in the band room with my band mates, learning a new instrument as well as making new friends every now and then. Those were the carefree days, where friends and happiness were abundant. Now, while I make new friends in the army, I dont feel as comfortable as I do in school. The people I meet in school somehow have the same personalities as me, so I can click well with them. Same frequency, as we say. Thus until now, I am still very close to my hwachong friends, as compared to my army friends. I learn a lot from the army, but somehow I just feel that it is not what I want. Although I got into the vocation I most badly wanted, I was rather put off by the regimentation and strict pt that we get every alternate days. Maybe I am weak in my physical fitness, but this is giving me mental torture, and I dont like the feel of it. I am missing my school days so much that I really hope I am Hiro Nakamura, and stop time, or even reverse it, so that I can spend more precious time with school work and friends. I totally wasted my two years in jc, with my disappointing Alevel results, so I really want to go back to where i began and start all over again. The orientation week, the athena fac com selection, band auditions, school activities, concerts, faculty events, school exams, class outings. I MISS YOU! 😦

Are we really living in an authoritarian city-state?

Recently, the vandalism charges made against Swiss national Oliver Fricker living in Singapore as an expat has made headlines again in Singapore as well as the European countries, particularly in his hometown in Switzerland. And the whole issue on human rights (anyone caught with vandalism offence in Singapore will be caned and sent to jail), as well as the strict rules that Singapore implements is brought up again. This time round though, it is different from the American teenager who was caned in1998 for the vandalism offence. Many Europeans gave comments that while they did not support coporal punishments in Singapore they believe that those who were caught vandalising should not be let off easily as they do not value the public property and do not understand the social values in the society. Are our rules too strict? Why does such minor cases creating such a hoo-haaaa around the globe? Personally, I feel that caning should be banned in Singapore as it is true that in such a modern age, caning is too “un-modern” to begin with. Singapore is a sophisticated and civilised city, and I believe our rules should change too. However, I do not agree with people’s belief that we are too authoritative? Where did our clean and squeaky image on the streets come from? Where did our clean and spotless MRT trains come from? Without our stiff fines Singapore’s streets and public transport will become the same state as those you see in other major cities around the world like New York or London. Unless you are a Japanese, and I agree the Japanese are really a bunch of disciplined people, really they are the most well-disciplined group of people I have ever seen. There are literally no litter on the streets, an there are no rubbish bins at all! They keep their litter in their bag until they reach home. So this leave many to wonder will Singaporeans adhere to the strict rules that the Singapore government implement, or they will become like what many spoilt childrean do when parents are too strict, they become rebellious?

To clear the mindset of foreigners, I am a Singaporean whom I believe is almost as free as any other democratic country. I have my rights to have a good home, my rights of almost-free education, rights of freedom of speech on the internet, (if not why I am writing all these). NO. We are not living in an authoritative city-state. You dont see policemen beating up people on the streets. You dont see me getting caned so easily for dropping my sweet wrapper on the floor. (I never do that. I love my country so much, it hurts to see litter on my streets). People are getting the wrong information from the western press about Singapore’s oppressive policies and authoritarian rule by the government. The only problem we have is the lack of opposition in Singapore. And the opposition parties in Singapore that are constantly silenced by the government like Chee Soon Juan deserve to be punished. They make pointless claims and remarks without evidence. I bet they themselves are useless and will not be able to serve the country in any way if they are in power. They can say anything but will never make things happen themselves.

Singapore is such a small country. If we let ourselves become Thailand or Japan, where the power struggle is clearly evident, then we are digging our own graveyards. I will never let protesters burn down Orchard Road, like what some Thai people did to their own shopping streets. They are seriously not using any brains. Thats not the way to protest.

Come on, as long as I am living in a first world country, with GDP per capita one of the highest in the world, great infrastructure, good transport system and one of the best education systems in the world, do I freaking care if I have no freedom of speech? It is just like some chocolate chips on the whole ice-cream cake. I can do without them on the cake.