June 15, 2004
Ok, reading the Life! section of the Straits Times today really ticked me off. Apparently, there were a bunch of students who were allowed to go for a concert and only succeeded in making a complete fool of themselves and a mockery of the image of Singaporeans. No, seriously I've had enough. Far too long have I stood by and watched Singaporeans giving foreigners such a dreary and disgusting image of ourselves. I do not feel proud to be Singaporean at all and this is perhaps the reason why. Let me give you a few examples in which Singaporeans make themselves look really stupid.
When getting off and on MRT trains, there is often a huge crowd that gathers at the main boarding points. I constantly find myself in situations where I am pushed from behind just because of some old 'auntie' who is adamant that she get on board this particular train. It's as if the train is leaving some disaster area and to fail to catch it means certain death. In a way, it's amusing because I don't mind sitting back and getting onto the next train but in a way, it irks me because I have seen tourists from other countries being pushed around and I wonder, what do they tell their friends and family back home? That Singapore consists of a bunch of uncouth, uncourteous individuals who only care about themselves and no one else? I think of this and I honestly feel disheartened.
Have you ever stood at the crossing between the East-West MRT line and the North-South MRT line? Well, if you haven't, you should set aside half an hour to sit between these two train lines and watch the Daily Olympics being conducted everyday. Isn't the Olympics in a few months time in Greece? No. For Singaporeans, we are so 'health conscious' that despite our busy schedules, we still find time to work out at the MRT stations. I find myself smiling and constantly sniggering to myself when I see some old 'ah-soh' with a thousand and one shopping bags dashing across from one train to the other. It's as if she found some untapped strength to dash across the platform with about 5kg worth of clothes and accessories pulling her down. But seriously, why the rush?
Perhaps this is it. Perhaps the Government has drilled into our mindset the need for speed and efficiency in the workplace so much, this spills over into our daily lives. Whether it means pushing the guy next to you to get onto the bus or cutting the queue to get something on offer, it doesn't matter whether someone else got there first. All that matters is you. Selfish thought. That's how Singapore has thrived in a hostile neighbourhood. Don't scoff at me and say I'm wrong because I know I'm not. And it's because of this mentality that has been cultivated that Singaporeans are unable to stop and smell the roses. To appreciate the finer things in life. To enjoy an Arts recital or a musical performance. And that is why, to the question asked whether Singaporeans are ready for the Arts culture I reply a resounding 'no'.
Because as long as we continue to let our lives be ruled by cynicism and selfish emotions, we will never be able to truly appreciate anything else.
P.S. Happy Birthday Ben! And thanks for the treat yesterday!
Traveller fell apart at 1:59 PM