How far are we from Singapore’s beauty?

first world, for whom 2

Yesterday my friend told me she felt proud of Singapore, after coming back from overseas. I was not very comfortable with that expression, as the vibe in me to cast the ruling party out anytime possible, prevents me from feeling anything too positive about this island state controlled monopolistically by the very PAP we abhor.

But then, when I took a step back, I realised I cannot deny the beauty of this island, the prosperity we have gained, the achievements we have won, the prestige we have earned, the times we have fought, the hard work we have put in to make this little red dot a success. Now I realise we have, apart from being one of the richest in the world, a great CBD landscape, clean roads (although also ‘cleaned’ roads the work of an army of cleaners), and do we not now have beautiful parks around?

But how far is that beauty and glory from us? How far is that wealth, that economy, that full-force military, away from us? Do we really feel they belong to us? I mean, LHL can go on and on about how Singapore belongs to everyone, and how CPF money is your money, but is that how you feel? And are you not right to feel otherwise?

I mean we went from total control + welfare in the LKY era, to more liberal approach + more free market in the GCT era, and then now I don’t even know how to describe LHL’s leadership.

Yes, feel the love for your country these 50 years, thank the PAP if you want, but fear also for the next 50 years if we continue to ride with the now less-than-competent and more-uncaring-than-ever administration. As a Chinese saying goes, ‘Even in dying, a worm with a hundred legs still would not be motionless’, meaning even in death and demise, because of the richness, things still run temporarily for a while before perhaps going into full-fledged shutdown, also meaning we might not be able to see and sense the demise because the thing is still moving. Which is a very dangerous situation! How do we know if Singapore is already dead, but still moving?

But luckily, a country is not an animal. It can still be revived. But how long and how bad do we want to wait and see it for ourselves before we start nudging ourselves to change? Remember even North Korea looks like a paradise to its citizens, and the USA the marvel of the world notwithstanding its ultra-high national debt and threatening finances. Do we want to continue pumping steroids into our Singapore Inc. for the sake of a beautiful façade, or do we want something more, something more “homely”, more “heartfelt”, more “by us”, for the Singapore island that we love?

Albert Tay


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