How I Majulah Singapura

My reflections on this year’s National Day, first published on YouSayISayWhoConfirm.SG as a joint post with mrbrown’s National Day Song.

I used to think that I was Singaporean because of the way I spoke and how I could code-switch from standard English to Singlish even within a sentence. I used to think it was because I could understand why people would use packets of tissue, newspapers and umbrellas to “chope” seats at hawker centres when all it takes is a rule where you’re not allowed to sit at a table if you don’t have a tray of food with you.

But the fabric of society is changing. Close to 40% of the country’s population is non-Singaporean, and I think a sizeable chunk of Singapore citizens are made up of new migrants. You know those “emerging fault lines” the PM keeps talking about? They’re here, and they’re pretty disruptive.

Suddenly we have many Singaporeans we don’t feel the bond of kinship with. More than once I read on Twitter and Facebook that people or their parents didn’t feel proud that a “China-born” table-tennis player won another medal for Singapore. I’ve seen young people tweet things like “Argh! This bus is full of Pinoys!” without stopping to think for once whether what they were saying was racist.

Read more at YouSayISayWhoConfirm.SG

Seriously Hossan

My best friend Hossan is going to perform at the Esplanade (again) on the 27th and 28th (and extra show on the 29th because of popular demand) of this month. So, even if you’ve something better to do (which I doubt, because it’s Hossan performing at the Esplanade), get your tickets fast, and book yourself in for a treat.

late-nite-hossan.gif

Since the morning that we came

Pensive Mac
Mac’s settled in easiest – as long as he’s got his cushion, he’s sweet

As with any new premises, there are things to get used to. But to call them teething problems would mean this apartment has more teeth than it was supposed to.

There are however, nicer things.

In the carpark, between the parking lots, are fruit trees. Mangoes and rambutans, and the other day, an Indonesian maid from an apartment spirited a ripe pineapple back to her employer’s apartment. (I knew she was Indonesian because she yelled “Mum, ada pineapple” as she cradled the pineapple up the block.)

Walking Mac the Dog has been a good way to acquaint ourselves with our new neighbourhood, and we now know that we have a cleaner who knows everything and everyone in the compound, and we have the best security guard the landlord’s maintenance fees can buy.

In the best martial traditions of a Gurkha, he sits, unmoved by anything and I mean anything, in the guardhouse, all day, except during lunch hours. The night guard is even better. He’s a sorta stealth operator, and we haven’t seen him since we’ve moved in. Intruders, be warned.

The cleaner, now he’s a character, has been really helpful, telling me things (in Hokkien) like, “Wah, you damn suay, your apartment on the top floor on that side of the building, furthest from the refuse point, you didn’t know there wasn’t a refuse chute did you? Raining you die”.

On our second morning here, we had a reasonably long conversation in Hokkien, halfway through which he said, “You know, It is a pity not many people will know how to speak Hokkien in a generation or two. A real pity”.

Then a Caucasian woman walked past us, and he yelled, “Bonjour!”

As she tripped and responded with not as much gusto, he turned to me and said, “There are a lot of Frenchies here, so I learned a bit”.

At that point, both Mac and I felt like breaking into song.

Secret blog of a P65 MP: Part 6

P65 - It's Where We Talk
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Dear Blog,

Yes, it is time to move on to other things, put things in perspective and focus on the big picture. There have been so much negative news lately that I imagine Singaporeans would be quite disheartened if they were to continue talking about them.

So kudos to my colleagues for taking the lead and posting their musings on other things that make us Singaporean.

There are so many unique things about Singapore that we tend to forget and overlook, and we should be proud of our culture and heritage, and remember what makes us attractive to foreigners. Do not forget that other countries are also developing fast, and taking in more than their fair share of talented foreigners. We must not lose out.

In order to do that, we must embrace the global economy and various global cultures, but within limits, of course. And foreigners who want to embrace our own economy and culture must also understand and accept these limits.

It is time to repair our reputation, and I hope every Singaporean will join me in doing so.

More later. I have to check on our security guard and make sure he is not sleeping. We backbenchers don’t have Gurkhas from the GC. Those guys never fall asleep on the job.

-P65 Roxx!