"I am a Singaporean" by Dan E, a journey of discovery about Truth and Life In Singapore all of us have taken
- --inspir3d on July 14th, 2006
For the first time, IS has an article without a "read more" link. That's because IS has received its first ever non-blog submission. You won't find an external link this time, but the entire, unedited text of a heartfelt opinion. And if you would like to voice your opinion, be the next one to write to the IS.
IS presents "I am a Singaporean" by Dan E, inspired by Mr Brown
I was born in 1970 at the KK hospital and grew up in a kampong near the old airport. My parents stopped at 2 after having my younger sibling.
I moved from my kampong to a HDB flat in the west-end of Singapore when the government exercised the Land Reclamation Act on my kampong to build new flats.
I schooled through PSLE, O-level, A-level, and took a 2.5 years Army conscription break before disrupting to return to NUS for a degree course.
I followed the Singapore dream: study hard, serve the country, work hard, listen to the government and have a good life.
I remember vividly an illustration from the National Education text in primary school where it depicted a happy family of four walking towards their car from a high-rise apartment.
I observed the property market riding waves after waves of increase and read the dosage of how "investors" harvested profits within weeks without even seeing the apartment they bought. Inspiring.
And I quietly wondered how I can afford a high-rise apartment. But I thought that the government has a plan and I went for my Reservists and IPPT.
I watched my mother fell sick, admitted for emergency treatment and ICU observation. I saw the hospitable bills piled to intimidating figures but I have one and just only one mother – priceless. I knew I had enough CPF savings to cover her.
I thought I knew, but the CPF Board knew better. I watched in horror as the clerk punched her calculator and calmly informed me that the combined CPF of my 3 family members could only pay for less than 15% of the $25,000 bill.
I wiped out my first few years of cash savings in one cheque. Little did I know, then, that this one cheque would go on to change my Singapore dream.
I researched the CPF and learned about the limited medical scheme, housing scheme, and the ever-rising minimum sum requirement. I found out that I can't access my money even if I have a dying mother requiring an operation for which I have no cash to pay.
I finally understood why some old people say, "in singapore you can die but you better don't fall sick".
And I went for my Reservists and IPPT – but I began hating it for its inflexibility and infringement on my personal life.
I started asking "why". I questioned and discovered that no one had a satisfactory answer, (or perhaps they just didn't want to answer) – except for slogans like "More Good Years", "Swiss Standard of Living", "First World nation".
No one, in fact, could tell me what constitutes a "Rainy Day" or who can decide if its going to be a rainy day. Certainly not the weatherman, I know.
I took up a job that led me away from Singapore, relocating to a few locations. Someone called me a quitter subsequently.
In Japan, I concluded that World-class transportation network is quite a bit more than just 4 lines running through the city.
In Taiwan, I realized that Singapore is really a western society that happens to speak functional Mandarin. I learned what is civic participation, media independence, and how absolute power will corrupt absolutely eventually.
I now know it is the electorate's responsibility to ensure that the government does its job – not the other way around.
I married and bought my own high-rise apartment (not a cent from the CPF) – all outside of Singapore. I found out that I don't need a car to complete the picture in order to be happy, or to support my ego.
I watched the post-911 GE and the recent Lee-junior GE. I saw Martyn See's documentary on CSJ. I observed the emergence of political forums and their haste relocation from singapore, the evolution of the "persistently non-political" blogs, not to mention the blogs' coverage of GE-2006.
I read with interest the emergence of civic awareness that are well articulated and presented on the Internet.
I am amused at the PAP's apprehension of this new media, as well as its instinctive need to "fix" this emerging trend. I wonder how the new fix will reconcile with the new slogan, "Open and Inclusive Society".
I continue to be amused by a shriveled 80+ years old man who persists in putting on his gauntlets and meeting his imaginary opponent in a cul-de-sac. And yet when the time comes for reckoning he backpeddles and calls out for judgement without trial.
I pay the government to do its job of providing governmental services to the country, including a fair, equitable and non-partisan method of upgrading older estates.
I didn't pay to be told what can or cannot be expressed as opinions, be it constructive, partisan or otherwise. I have my wife at home to discuss freedom of expression – it is not the call of a civil servant or a minister employed by my tax dollars.
I have this to tell the civil servants and ministers: create more jobs, keep prices steady and try to move singapore upwards a little more in the Happy Nation Index. And stop complaining about how you cannot cope with rising oil prices, globalization, terrorism – you need to think really hard and come out with solutions.
And you do really need to worry about losing confidence because you are already there: through non-performance.
I am a Singaporean, who now understand the separation of State and Government, and who knows government must be managed and can indeed be changed (as opposed to some misguided musings).
I am a Singaporean, and I want a democratic society based on justice and equality. And I believe we will slowly but surely dismantle the obstructions accumulated from years of apathy.
So say we all.
Categories: IS Opinion
Submitted by Dan E
RH: MY ACQUAINTANCE, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION. READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED "I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT" :