A little piece of my mind

Monday, May 6, 2013



So here is a little something from me...

I live in one of the world's top 50 smallest country (Singapore is ranked at 42) and I share this limited amount of land with another 5.3 million people. My government tells me that they have plans to increase the human population in my nation to 6.9 million. Everyday I have to squeeze my way on to the train just so that I can get to school in time, and if I am dismissed from school during peak hours, I have to once again squeeze my way into the train just so that I can get home in time to join the rest of my family for dinner.


I used to love this little piece of land so much, and I was proud to live here. Starting from a very young age, I would often ask myself: "If I had a choice of where I would like my home to be at, where would it be?"

My answer used to ALWAYS be, "Right here, in Singapore." However I'm not sure as to when my answer started to change.. and the country was never again Singapore.

I don't mind the limited amount of land. I don't mind that I don't have many choices as to where I can go during my breaks. I don't mind that unlike my other fellow mates who live on this wonderful planet, I don't get to take a vacation in some other parts of my country because my country is so darn small that I can travel to the other side of the country within 90 minutes. I don't mind that my country does not have 4 seasons - it only has 2, sunny days or rainy days (when the monsoon season arrives).

I remember that during my art class in Primary school, one of the "usual" assignments given to us would be to draw the people living in my homeland. It was a pretty "duh!" assignment, and everyone would draw the same 4 people - 1 Chinese, 1 Eurasian, 1 Indian, 1 Malay.

A sample of an art work, which obviously isn't mine.
Stole it off google! Credits to whomever it may belong to!

These were the main bulk of people living in Singapore back then. However times have changed and honestly... if I were to be given that art assignment right now, I wouldn't know what to draw. We have so many foreigners in my country that I don't know who I should draw.

Should I draw the people who work in the constructions sites and are helping us to build our infrastructures and high-rise buildings?

Or should I draw the people who are helping us to clean our homes and keep it neat and tidy?

Or should I draw the people who are multi-talented? They are the ones who work in eateries, who cooks and serves our daily need of food. They are the ones who grab the mop or the broom or the vacuum cleaner or the cloth, and clean our public areas (eg. shopping malls, roads, office buildings). In other words, you name it, they do it! They can do EVERYTHING!

Also, should I draw the people who are studying alongside us in school? They are wonderful friends, diligent in their work and very helpful too!

Now tell me.. who should I draw? Should I draw the ones who have been staying here their whole lives and so have their family but have been over-populated others? By "others", I mean those who have crossed the borders and left a place that they are familiar with, so as to seek for a means of life with us in this piece of land.. should I be drawing these people instead since they seem to make up the majority of the people living here now?

I used the word 'seem' because when I take the public transport nowadays, I see more people of other nationalities than those of my own.

I have no intentions to be a racist or to seem like a mean, nasty, horrible and unwelcoming Singapore citizen. I just don't like the fact that my country has lost the very thing that made it unique to me. When I was young, I was always taught in class that what made Singapore unique was the ability for 4 different kinds of culture to co-exist and to live together as one in this tiny land. However there are too many cultures in Singapore right now that I can barely see the existence of these 4 cultures anymore... I feel as though I have been overwhelmed with the cultures that have been brought over by "others".

Haven't you heard? Too much is never good. Just right is perfect. Hence, the challenge is always at getting "just right". What's happening in Singapore is just.. too much.

What makes a country strong is not the value of its currency or the power of its military defence, but rather the hearts of its people being united as one. When I was younger, I used to love watching the telecast of my country's National Day (a day when all Singaporeans would be patriots and immerse in our love for our country). That love I had for my country.. it was over-whelming. However I can't say that it is the same for now. That love that I once had.. it began to dwindle without my realisation, and when I did finally realise it, I was surprised for a moment and then I was not. I mean, c'mon... with everything that is happening, how can my love not dwindle? I don't feel close to my own country anymore, and that is IRONICAL, because the more I learn about it as I grow up, the more I should love it. Yet it is the complete opposite because the more I learn about what is happening to it now and what would happen to it in the future, I feel more and more distanced from this place that I once loved. This place that I once wouldn't hesitate to house my home at.

My country is strong in terms of its economy, its currency value, its military defence, its infrastructure development and etc. However, before all of these factors became strong, I personally felt that my country was stronger than it is right now because it had the hearts of its people which it has now lost.

Why do I say that it has lost the hearts of its people? Because I see protests and rallies being held lately.. something which didn't exist in the past as everyone was happy with how our country was. Why are these protests and
rallies being held? Only because the locals want the country to be theirs again, because the locals want to feel at home, because the locals want back that 'X' factor that made their country unique and in turn, made them feel unique.

We just want our home back. This place doesn't feel like home anymore, even though it ironically is...

Nonetheless I want to add one last thing to this little piece of my mind.. At the end of the day, no matter how much or how little love I possess for this country.. this place will always be home to me, because this is where I grew up and where I once felt love for a piece of land and more. I just wish that as much as I think of it as home, it would actually really be my choice of housing of my future home.