Friday, June 15, 2007


Last year I received a visit from an old friend who came to Melbourne for a holiday. I realised after a few days that she,like so many other Singaporeans, are pretty much stuck.

I see that even in people who study here or have been living here for a few years. Everything in Singapore is "better", ie. the people are nicer , the food is cheaper/better/tastier, the weather is nice and warm as opposed to freezing in winter and hot in summer and the ang mohs here are racist, the people at home are not racist (!!!). (Ironic, because the term "ang moh" which they bandy about freely, is in essence a racist slur. ) They are confused even by Chinatown, because the dialect of choice here, as in so many other Chinatowns, is Cantonese and not Hokkien. They realise that their accent, so accepted in Singapore, sounds harsh and out of place here.

Basically, they cannot and will not adapt to life overseas. They must have things they way they were used to at home. And at the end of the day, I am sad for them. It is not that life is better here or worse in Singapore. Mostly, it's about the ability to embrace new things, to adapt to new living environs, cultures and mindsets and this seems severely lacking in quite a few Singaporeans I've met.

It's a worrying trend, because unless they are very sharp and very able, staying in Singapore generally means one is pretty reliant on the government. They, like so many Singaporeans I know, have an almost child like faith in the "gahmen", and this worries me because I have absolutely no reason at all to trust the Singaporean governmentl. Just read this, this, this or this.

Be globalized, friends. If one ship sinks, you must have the ability to clamber aboard another and survive. Life is a rat race and we like rats, must know when to leave a sinking ship.

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