Monday, March 10, 2008

What is Singaporean?

Too often I hear my non Singaporean friends say… “You Singaporeans this this this… You Singaporean that that that…” but what is Singaporean?

Being kiasu and kiasee is Singaporean? Joining the queue regardless what is that the pple are queuing for is Singaporean? Being insensitive is Singaporean? Being too sympathetic and overly generous to the unfortunate who are fortunate enough to have their story published on the papers is Singaporean? Complaining about anything and everything is Singaporean? Crowding at the MRT door, preventing passengers alighting from the train is Singaporean? Putting tissue paper on the tables or chairs to reserve seats at hawker centres is Singaporean? Just what is Singaporean?

Just because a foreigner dun agree to what they witness happening in the country i.e. Singapore; makes it a unique Singaporean problem?

I appreciate having grown up in this country but I’m not patriotic. I mean I’m not against the foreigners in my country but those statements thrown at me does not do justices to Singaporean. The country has welcomed so many foreigners that more than 50% of my surrounding friends are non Singaporean. And more importantly, how the hell you know that those pple who you think have done something disgusting are truly Singaporean? I mean we dun hang our pink ICs around our neck and we dun have distinct Singaporean features that one can easily identify.

I normally throw it back to them - “How do you know that that person is a Singaporean?” and even if that person is indeed a Singaporean; does that mean he represents the rest of the citizens?

My non Singaporean friends tell me that they have become localized, influenced by Singaporeans to be behaving like Singaporeans after being a PR for decade. I wonder is that really the case? Foreigners influenced by Singaporean or Singaporean influenced by foreigners?

Foreigners leaving their country to live in a foreign land will tend to bring along their culture. One may not make any difference, but hundreds and thousands of them? This is a universal problem but being a hospitable country, we accommodate. And when foreigners give birth here… their kids are naturally Singaporeans. So, what is Singaporean?

I feel that I’m losing my identity as a Singaporean. I feel more like a foreigner in my own country. More than once, pple have taken me to be a Chinese national, some say Malaysian and even Korean. I’m a true blue Singaporean, born and brought up here. Am I not behaving like how a Singaporean should behave? Than again, what is Singaporean?

Long and short, we are quick to pin point other people’s behavior and forget the position we are in. I’m not perfect but I’m learning to look at myself first before judging others.