It has been almost 2 full months into 2013, and this is my very first post.
We had a historic moment early this year. We have a female opposition party candidate winning a SMC seat in the Punggol East by-election. Hurray! History was created on 26 Jan!
Last 2 weeks we were busy celebrating Chinese New Year. Not that busy for me actually. Not that I had a lot to do for the festive period, except more than a week of grating pineapples for pineapple tarts, and trying frantically in vain to buy new clothes. I can’t believe how much prices in department stores have gone up, and why do so many dresses now look like rags with poor material and holes all over??! I ended up wearing my old clothes which I very much prefer. Brands that were selling dresses at $50-$80 a few years back had their dresses starting from double those prices, with quality that isn’t any better than before. I kept saying to Mr D that I would feel more emotionally balanced if I spent those money buying pots and pans or whatever tools for my kitchen instead. Those few hours of trying to shop left me thinking whether I had been hurling up in a hole these years, or has my thinking been drifting away from that of the masses? To think that at one time, I was a shopaholic??
Even though we had some
idiot guy banging into our car from behind on the first day of Chinese New Year (luckily no one was hurt and no major damage done), CNY generally went along better than I had expected, and before we knew it, 24 Feb was the last day of it.
But I want to pen it down, that 16 Feb should be another significant day.
Prior to that day, the government released a White Paper on population. That drove a lot of us nuts. With many issues that are emerging or accumulating (if they have already emerged), we are hearing things that our little island is going to have 6.9M population in 2030, and that Singaporeans are not a big group in that figure.
I honestly really miss those days when we do not feel squeezed for space every where we went. Those days where we do not have so many traffic jams and there roads were much more empty. Now, I feel claustrophobic and reluctant to go out as much as I did, because I do not enjoy jostling that much, and those traffic congestion even late at night at 11pm drive me nuts. The thought of your country being made up not mainly by foreigners also makes it hard to digest for many people. It feels as if we are being squeezed out from our own homes and those at the top can’t feel a single thing. Then the newspaper was filled with letters from the public, with lots of voices and opinions.
But on 16 Feb, there was
a protest a demonstration held at Speakers’ Corner. The turnout was huge. About 5000 people turned up despite the rain, with their umbrellas, wanting to have their voices heard. The turnout had far exceeded my expectation. In my entire life, I do not recall seeing anything like this. I had expected people to make noises behind their computer screens, but remain at home when it comes to events like this. This has got to be a day in history. I felt hopeful. I felt proud. I felt protective. I felt happy that people are taking actions to make themselves heard (even though there are several people around me who do not even bother to know what is going on around us and I think they ought to feel ashamed of themselves).
There was a video going being shared around, which showed the event ended with the people singing our National Anthem. As soon as the singing started, the hair on my hand stood. I even had the urge to stand up and sing as I watched. It was that instinctive and emotional. Never felt like that before.
That night, I kept thinking about it and smiled..
There has been a comment which had been making its rounds on Facebook lately. Apparently, it was from a couple who had just gotten married. The new wife was said to have sent a message to one of their guests after the dinner, and said that they could not find the red packet (or “love offering” as they so nicely chose to call it) from the guest. The message also blatantly asked the guest whether he did write his name on the red packet, or did he give it at all. It said something like “in the event you are unable to give an offering due to unforeseen circumstances, it is only basic courtesy to let us know…”
My only reaction – S.P.E.E.C.H.L.E.S.S.
I am not sure who should be asking for the basic courtesy in this case.
But I do have my take on Chinese wedding dinners in recent years.
This year, our Prime Minister covered a whole range of topics in his National Day Rally. I am quite glad he brought up topics on how we can improve our behaviour. It sounds a little like a parent telling kids how they should behave, remind what is good and what is bad, but really, Singaporeans are like a bunch of kids sometimes.
As I am growing older, I am more and more disappointed and dismayed at the behaviour of Singaporeans in many areas. Lack of tolerance, impatience, self-centredness and selfishness. That sums it up quite well. I am sure when something big happens, perhaps at a national level, we will stand together as one. But during peacetime on a daily basis, many just think about “me, me and me”
People say you can build a senior citizen’s day care centre, but not in my backyard. Drivers drive in very aggressive and impatient ways. Parents sending their children to school (or more than 1 school!) as young as 3 and doing all they can to ensure that children excel in exams and other academic area, but not spending time to teach them values and acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of every child. Parents are so afraid their children will lose out, that the Prime Minister, in his National Day Rally, had to remind people to let their children play and have their childhood. That alone sounds like something is really wrong with us and our system.
A few weeks ago, I was listening to the radio and it happened to be the week of PSLE exams. This is a major exam all students take when they are 12. Results of that exam determine what secondary school you can gain entry to. Naturally, the top schools require a higher score for entry. Since everyone wants to get into a top school, this exam becomes very very important. It’s too bad if you happen to be a late developer.
What was on the radio that week, during the lunchtime song request program was many parents calling in, saying that they were feeling very stressed up because their children were having the PSLE exams that week. Many of them had took leave from work to be with their children during that week. I felt puzzled.
My mother had never taken leave from work for our school exams. I mean, what could she have done even if she had taken leave for that few days? Sit beside us and force us to study 12 hours a day? Brew herbal soup for us and hoping those made us smarter at the last minute? Honestly, none of that would not have made any difference. It’s fair to say exams in those days are less difficult than these days, but why do I get the feeling that the parents these days are more stressed than their children about the exams? And do they not know the anxiety gets passed on to the kids?
I did pretty well in my PSLE and my score got me into one of the top secondary schools. My sister’s grades were quite a big gap from mine. Did that matter now? Not at all. We both got into university eventually, and she is doing well in her career while I am now choosing a route away from the corporate world, which some might say is a waste of my degree.
Our country has progressed and come a long way since we were independent. Our country, and our people are no longer worrying about basic needs like food, shelter, basic education. We have a lot of complains and “first world” issues. But I think we have reached a stage when our people have to develop as human beings. We want to be better people inside, with real hearts, cultivate good values and where we really respect others and think for others. The government is trying hard to get people to get married and to have children. Have more children, because our population is not going to replace ourselves if we continue this low birth rate. They give monetary rewards and what-nots. Doesn’t work with me.
And lately, we have been hearing so many sex-related crimes – female teachers having sex with students(!), teacher who takes videos of girls in toilet, sex-for-contracts case, sex-for-grades case and a high profile case of many men having sex with an underaged girl. What’s wrong with everyone!?? Too stressed up?? Are we all giving ourselves all these stress?