Saturday, 9 August 2014

An honest reflection

Today marks the 49th year of independence for Singapore so Happy National Day! I'm not sure what compelled me to write this but I've actually been wanting to write about Singapore for a while. And since it's National Day and I feel like writing about something I guess this couldn't be a more appropriate time to do it, right?

I wouldn't consider myself to be a patriot simply because I don't think I've done anything substantial enough to be deserving of that. But as when I surreptitiously put my "Patriotism" playlist (of National Day songs that Rachel and I used to sing on the way home) on, as I return home and look at the ongoing construction, of students returning home from school, people socialising around the corridors - I think I could genuinely say that I am innately proud of my identity. Nobody would be truly satisfied with where they are at the moment, but that is only a given. This place we live in is by no means paradisaical and time and again it is with good grief that I wonder how Singaporeans could be so ungracious sometimes, so rigid and competitive, so kiasu. I complain too, about our education system, I worry about the uncertainty of where it will take me. We complain about the glorious heat, the lack of originality, the lack of talent and have great grievances with regard to incoming foreign labour. Our streets are not entirely immaculate, our manners are not exemplary. The adults worry about housing, pay, the ERP, work-life balance (or the lack thereof), but these are burdens I wouldn't have to bear yet, fortunately.

These are only abstract issues that arise out of an already developed society, a society that just needs more polishing but is in general, firm anyway. I love that our streets are alive with greenery and flora, that they are all lit up at night, that places are in some way or another interconnected, that we can walk around safely without worrying about gunfights erupting or robbery in general. You feel it too, whether consciously or not, when you are impressed when our sporting teams do well in international competitions. If there's something everyone is proud of, it is our food; chili crabs, fried hokkien mee, laksa, chicken rice - quintessential Singaporean cuisines. And what's not to love about the beautiful Marina area, a testament to how much we have achieved since 49 years ago. I wouldn't lie that given the opportunity, I wouldn't still stay put in Singapore. But then again it wouldn't be a bad idea to remain here either. While other countries are engaged in scuffles due to their ethnic differences, we have the luxury of having a peaceful and diverse mix; isn't it actually really wonderful that you can find hindu temples and churches right next to each other?

I guess people under different circumstances react differently to their environments, and it's only natural that we all have a fair share of grievances about our country. But sometimes I feel that people are too clouded in their judgments and fail to see actuality or even a hint of positivity in the light of things. Despite our obvious shortcomings, I still find pride in embracing this identity, I find pride in seeing us rise up the ranks like a work of a miracle.

I think this is a beautiful place to be living in.

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