Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I am ready for 2007!

Hi Friends,

A short break from Singapore and blogging has given me a fresh perspective and new impetus for the coming 12 months.

New Year-Fresh Perspectives

Leaving the little red dot for the land of the Free, let me realize that although there is much more that Singapore can strive for, we should not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Before I go on, let me admit that I am prone to wearing blinkers and at looking at other countries through “rose-tinted” glasses ( and I am not completely coherent on account of jet-lag).

Singapore- still one of places I like but…

Singapore has come very far. It still remains one of my favourite places to live and raise kids in.

Efficiency and safety are under-rated qualities that all of us take for granted.

Education has been one achievement that we can be rightly proud of. One of the secrets (which the government would surely want to keep from us) is that the average 17-year old with the “O” levels ( not “A” level) , would be able to get admitted into many excellent colleges/universities in the West. Of course,they would need advice on SAT/admission essays etc.

We are so cosmopolitan that any average Singaporean would be able to fit “hand in glove” into any 1st world city.

Before detractors start to sharpen their knives to castigate me, let me also say here, that all these had been bought at a high price.

Our achievements don’t come cheap

Social engineering, through the schools and national service, aided in great measure by the mass media monopoly of the Singapore Press Holdings, has made us one of the most docile peoples in the world. We have learnt to look to the government ( or PAP- some say it is the same entity) for everything.

How long to wear one’s hair, how many children to have etc are just some of the levers of micro-management that my generation had to live through. My parents and uncles had to live through worse.

More than one generation had learnt that taking individual initiatives is not expected and sometimes not rewarded.

More good things to come?

A new year brings with it fresh opportunities for change. The government of PM Lee Hsien Loong, has shown itself adept to change.

2006 might well be remembered for Mr.Brown’s sacking as columnist from Today newspaper, but to me what is even more significant was that the authorities showed great tolerance for the “Mee Siam Mai Hum” podcast and follow-on skit at the Indignation 2006.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were LHL, I would have been just as tolerant.But can you imagine the reaction if the subject was not LHL but his relative? ( I can!)

I am cautiously optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and that we are slowly reclaiming the freedoms and liberties which were ours in the first place ( anyway, better than not having these).

I know that bloggers would be keeping their eyes wide open to ensure that the process of "reclaiming our freedom" continues unabated.

So what’s the break done for me?

America has never claimed to be perfect nor without blemish. The endless TV adverts for anything from "ambulance chasing" lawyers to health insurance that promises you get the "benefit you deserve" made “Law and Order” almost the only program worth watching ( and we watched both the "Special Victims Unit" and "Criminal Intent" versions-marathon sessions of them).

Americans treasure personal freedom and liberty. No one is expected to conform to any given template and most don't. Patriotism is innate and palpable. One can be a Bush-hater and yet not be accused of anti-Americanism or lack of loyalty.

Driving (even in Chicago) is a pleasure due to courtesy that drivers show each other.

After-Christmas “sales” is out of the world at Gurnee Mills and Prime Outlets. I won’t mention the prices of the items I bought, lest I be accused of lying and exaggeration.

And, spending time with my kids is even better than blogging!

Happy New Year Singapore and America!

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan
No Fear Singapore


Anonymous said...

Many of your observations are spot on, though you give less credit than the Singapore government deserves for the effects that social engineering has caused!

I, for one, have decided not to remain subject to Singapore's father knows best and mandarins rule governance and have made the US my new home. I am so happy!

nofearSingapore said...

Hi anon,
I do try to be optimistic.
After all, this is the dawn of a new year!
I can understand why you want to move.
But do keep engaged to the goings-on here. We need all the help we can get to try to make the "mandarins" see a different point of view. They can be so stubborn!
Best wishes!


Anonymous said...

Welcome back doctor. Like you, I have 3 boys in Singapore, and I also look towards a better age in Singapore. Cheers!


takchek said...

Dr Huang,

The Sg males still have to serve their NS first before they can start their university studies...

Anonymous said...

yeah - a friend intends to let his son stop at sec 4 - do NS and then continue studies at Australia. Which will probably mean bye bye to that boy - NSF is a sure way to help increase foreign talent in Singapore - Singaporeans becoming Aussies...


nofearSingapore said...

anon 1034:we are dreamers aren't we? best of luck
TakChek: Ya. Imagine if Sg males left after O levels, the status quo will really be in disarray. So the conventional wisdom ( after the Pianist Melvin? Tan saga) would be to only allow the boys out into the rest of the world only after the NS. There are pros and cons to this.
anon 5.29: if the people are unhappy or are unconvinced that there is a stake here for them, they will eventually leave, sooner or later. Hence I think the govt knows this. Maybe they are already resigned to losing S'pore-born S'poreans and are now targetting foreign-born S'poreans.


Exodus said...

Dr H: if the people are unhappy or are unconvinced that there is a stake here for them, they will eventually leave, sooner or later


I am a different person from anon 5.29. My 2 cents to the above.

I grew up loving Singapore in all it's multi-lingual, multi-racial naturally occuring inter-community interactions and was proud of it. Possibly I've grown cynical with age, but it does seem that since the 2nd generation pappies appeared with their ivory-towers-based number-crunching policies, my observation is that Singaporeans become less and less gracious over the years (a direct opposite of GCT's urging for gracious nation) and a growing blame-culture (even practised by our elite MPs).

After ignoring hints, suggestions and warnings for almost 10 years from well-meaning friends (who had biz connections and saw the trends earlier and exited), I am finally a convert. I loved Singapore, but when it comes to the crunch I believe in doing what our forefathers did... leave their homeland to seek better soils for their future generations.