Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm looking for beauty that satisfies, and a camera.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RE: Singaporean v. Singapore Citizen.

IT IS time to put forth the argument that being a Singapore citizen is not the same as being Singaporean. One can be born here but one's heart is not. If the only thing linking someone who spends most of his life in another country to his birthplace is his relatives, then there is little meaning behind his national identity. People talk about 'true-blue' Singaporeans but are usually stumped for words when one asks them to define the term.

A feeling of identity is defined and nurtured by one's social affiliations, having immersed in its culture, history and people. I consider myself Singaporean for the following reasons:
- Having friends who suffered with me during national service.
- Having friends who struggled with me under the education system.
- Eating, celebrating, talking, learning, suffering, serving and being served by Singaporeans around me.

Being Singaporean is knowing how to rebut a foreigner who has nothing but praise or contempt for our nation. Being Singaporean is having the innate knack of recognising and connecting with countrymen in other countries.

It is not merely donning the red and white, being able to recite the Pledge, or attending every National Day Parade. In that sense, someone who was born elsewhere may be more Singaporean than one who was born here but makes his home overseas.

Likewise, one who has been granted fresh citizenship but the only thing connecting him to the country is taking public transport cannot, in my view, be considered a Singaporean, but a Singapore citizen. No one can define how long it takes to develop the Singaporean identity or what the criteria to pass the Singaporean test are. My point is that it's more than just a sense of loyalty or gratitude to the flag. It's more than fighting and competing for national pride. These merely skim the surface of what national identity means. Wearing Singapore colours does not, in my mind, make one any more Singaporean than one who doesn't.

We have every right to celebrate our paddlers' success in the Olympics and they duly deserve it. But despite all the controversy surrounding the origins of our players, one cannot deny that it would have been a more empathic celebration if Singaporeans brought home the medal rather than Singapore citizens.

A common argument in support of incorporating foreign-born talent is that everyone else seems to be doing it. This makes international competition a kind of spiralling arms race where one cannot afford not to field foreign-born competitors. Such an approach to international games makes our country good in a certain sport, but it does not necessarily make us a sporting nation. It would have been more meaningful to recognise the victor as someone's primary schoolmate, or old neighbour, rather than someone recognised and granted citizenship predominantly for his talent and little else.

Mark Wong
Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
Here is the solution to all my problems!
Vindicated again once more!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

RE: The Past.

Keeping in pain isn't punishing anyone. Holding onto anger doesn't do any good. But since I'm at it: You deserve each other. Now go ---- yourselves.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The Sunday Times came and went, and I was silent. Voluntarily of course, although I was itching to be heard. I itch a lot - my primary school teacher says its to compensate for the fact that I'm small. Some things don't change.

I had to decline the offer, but accepted the compliment while peppering my response with honest niceties of my own. I have found an odd conviction in approaching my relationship with home. I am Singaporean in and out, but I have accepted that since 2006, I no longer have a right to speak of such national matters, despite the fact that I've been there.

But speaking of home, I can't quite say that I'm home here because I lack purpose. Vancouver is exciting because I see direction and development. Oh well, I'm only right here right now.

My authority:

Me (at coffee shop toilet): uh... 我没有新加坡钱,你会接受加拿大钱吗? 。。。 对不起我昨晚从加拿大回来,所以没有新加坡钱。

Old Toilet Lady: 你是加拿大人还是新加坡人?

Me: 我是加拿大民人,但是我在新加坡长大。

Old Toilet Lady: 哎呀,新加坡人 lah!

She has vindicated me, and seen beyond passports and papers. As LKY once said,"Kinship and feelings for one another cannot be legislated out by a political decision".