this letter about a 20 yr old saying goodbye to Singapore has been circulating online and reconciling with many.
i never thought in a million years that i would ever want to leave Singapore. blame it on the inexperience of worldly pleasures. ive been on holidays and trips away from Singapore and mind you, that while ive had the most fun in these trips, landing back at Changi International Airport with the words, “Welcome Home” always touched base with me. “Singapore! I’m Home”
Being in Aussie land for these many months, my first away from home for such a long time, has opened my eyes to so many things. so many experiences. and the one main message i get here is, “it’s ok to be you. you dont have to blend in. you just be whatever you want to be”
i know many of us Singaporeans can relate to the idea of feeling jaded. but fact is, we’ve been conditioned to go on thinking that is the way of life, even if we feel jaded. over the last 2 yrs, ive questioned myself how my work regime is doing any justice to me living life. not that i didnt enjoy what i did. but, life cant be all about work.
she says, “In London, I can be a saint or a sinner. I can be City boy, goth girl, punk kid; I can be in with the media, in with the cool kids, I can drop rhymes in East End ghettos and I can drop cash in Mahiki on cocktails. I can be posh, poor, upmarket, downmarket, chav, toff, hippie, indie. I can be gay or straight, man or woman. I can make myself up, make myself down. And London will still embrace me, and I will always find somewhere that will take me in, and raise no eyebrows should I wear hoop skirts and pierce my lip and call myself Bettie Page.”
its like what many of my students ask me/other trs sometimes. “dont do well in exams means die meh?”
and while i would love to think that paper qualifications isnt equals to life in SG, i have to be honest. paper qualifications is definitely required in SG, in addition to being bilingual (In Sg’s terminology, that means, English and Mandarin – pun intended).
while we all have this persona of being the “Dream Citizen”, in all truth, the citizens of Singapore are “the Malay kids skipping school, hanging out at Peninsula Plaza in black jeans and trucker caps. You’re the unemployed kopitiam uncle with his songbirds. You’re the schoolgirl holding hands with her classmate, hoping the teacher doesn’t see.” and many more if i may add.
we’ve become so materialistic that people carry Gucci bags and wear heals to go to a market place. i dont see myself brand conscious. i cant see how i can pay $2000 for a Prada tote bag when i can go for a holiday and make my money well worth the time.there was that one time when i spend $900 for my Nokia N95. looking back, that $900 would have given me a posh holiday in Malaysia. since that realisation, i decided never to spend more than $250 on a phone. perhaps that budget is already a little high end for many.
perhaps this defines the evolution of a city, the dreams of our parents and forefathers. the dreams of those who slogged and toiled to give their children a chance at a better life. and better life = more money to live luxuriously. and suddenly, luxury living became the goal of life. and eventually it turned out that if you didnt have the means to a luxurious life, you havent done well enough for yourself.
i used to think that i wouldnt want to be a ‘2nd class’ citizen in another country when i can be a ‘1st class’ citizen in my own. but, while its too early to say how i feel abt home and life, i think being in aussie land has opened my eyes to a new way of life. SG doesnt have to be my entire life. its where i grew up and its where all my memories are. its where my whole life has been and Singapore will always have a place in my heart (and dont get me wrong, but i totally miss the efficiencies of SG). but, with her elitist ideologies, it is probably not where i’d want my kids to grow up. #justthinking