Second Time Singapore – Say it as it is!

So I have returned to Singapore for another week after trooping about SE Asia, China and Taiwan for three weeks in between.

This time in Singapore, I didn’t come having to love it and find the positives in everything… and the cracks in Singapore FOR ME started to appear…

I don’t like to talk down countries because their culture way of life is unique and different to me and mine and if I don’t like then that is my problem viewing it from my white-Australian perspective and not being able to assimilate. It is not the country’s problem for being the way it is… Geez this is almost sounding like dropping a girlfriend!

So first of all I love Singapore for:

  • It’s gorgeous people – polite, friendly and very conscious of other peoples’ feelings and concerns – completely unselfish which I wish I had more of…
  • The food IS amazing – take your pick as to which favourite you want from each region of the world and cheeeeeap
  • An incredible mish-mash of cultures that seem to get along productively and respectfully, at least on the surface – a myriad of ethnicities sharing a very small space
  • The novelty of an Asian city being clean, not clogged with polluting traffic, graffiti free, infrastructure including footpaths and English abundant (lazy me)

    array of tofu stuff...

Now time to sink the boot in a little…

This is also a country that with my limited impressions and observations:

  • Lacks any creativity, innovation and ‘fun’
  • Scare mongering to presume everyone and everything is bad and to be protective all the time – ie. live under constant fear and threat – see the stupid branch sign and the obscene terrorist poster, there are many more, everywhere!

    better not go walking or you could die!

    • this is not acceptable

      To take this in one example… not sure if this is me, a shy boy or a society that suspects everyone is a raping terrorist but I was at the traffic lights waiting for the walk dude to go green, as you do when in Singapore. I noticed he had a magnifying glass so I asked are you a scientist or a spy (comic genius I must add on a spur of the moment comment!). The boy looked at me in absolute fear and uncomfortably waited for the light to go green and took off as fast as possible. Again this could just be a shy kid but I honestly believe that it is the society around him that gave him this reaction. My observation.

    • The conservatism is a bit scary – wonderful to live in a safe low-crime, low-danger place but what is the point when you live with constant reminders that everything is waiting to jump you at any corner? Don’t take risks for failure or that might end in fun or success like they have never known before – and this is different to the Asian ‘save-face’ attitude I know from other countries
    • In general there is no chance you will get anything from anyone without it being remembered or needing reciprocation at some time in the future (big exception the people who have housed and helped me while in Singapore!!!)
    • Generally Singaporeans seem quite naïve, one because of the education system – which I think gives them VERY little experiential or student-centred learning approaches, but more in a ‘the world is a big dark and scary place where bad things happen’ as opposed to celebrating difference, diversity and acceptance
    • Classic quote I heard a young aunt to her little 3-ish year old nephew ‘that’s not the correct way to play’ as he was playing with another little girl around play equipment – not going up the slide the wrong way maybe not playing correctly but – A. there is no correct way to play and B. if there is a 3 year old is going to be the expert!
    • It is a very judgmental society that looks upon anything different as a threat, bad or dirty
    • This is a very consumerist culture. How much do you earn? Why volunteer? Why don’t you want to own a house? Same in my own country but here it is to another level with no alternative examples for them to be exposed to – there is a path and you must follow…

I’m really sorry to say these things aboutSingaporebut it feels like the happiness scale is at one of the lowest points any place could get. The wonderful beautiful and progressive Singaporeans I have met are all overworked, undervalued, completely misunderstood, unaccepted and frustrated. These are the people however who are vital to their country and are dedicated to it, relish the positives, give to their community and probably have more fun as they aren’t as locked into the car-house-things box.

Needed to get that off my chest and let the left side run wild for a while…

All in all I have adored spending an extended time here and learnt a lot from the people and my long walks around the place. I usually say I could live in almost all places but as much as I can follow the positives of this great place it is not somewhere I can put my swag for any length of time (literally!).

While I love cultures that love the simple things in life it is one of the most complex in the biz but it does the job for the people who live here and they are of no harm to each other, because they are too scared of each other, but the old ‘the best things in life aren’t things’ has a loooong way to go here.

Seeya next timeSingapore(and thank to the amazing people who cared, shared and hosted me – I owe you!).

A camping spot on Palau Ubin island


About lunny06

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
This entry was posted in 2011 Life, 2011 Nomad Adventure. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Second Time Singapore – Say it as it is!

  1. Holger says:

    Hey d’Arcy,
    I think this is excactly the way Australia is heading. I can show you a similar collection of photos of stupid signs that I took in Oz. And honestly, we are not far away. Scaremongering all over the place. Asylum seekers that are getting locked away in detention centers because they might escape……where to? They are already where they wanted to be. Neighbourhood watch signs on every corner, but no one is sure who actually put them there. The list goes on: you can’t take photos of any kids anymore because you might be a pedophile, no cycling without helmet, if you want to use the waterslide at the public pool you have to wait until someone allows you to go up, no smoking almost anywhere, sniffer dogs at the entrance to a music festival, what the……
    I went to a public event of the Australian Climate Commision last week. As soon as somebody had asked a question to Tim Flannery they had to sign a release form…..
    I could argue that creativity is suppressed through school uniforms, but they are taken for granted in most schools in Australia.
    All the things listed under the bullet points are true for any country in South East Asia, not only Singapore. How much do you earn is a very common question asked in South East Asia. Could it be that better knowledge of English in Singapore makes it easier to communicate and understand their way of thinking?
    Have you ever tried hitch-hiking in Thailand? If anybody ever stops, they will ask you two questions: Where do you want to go? How much do you pay? Lovely people, but “In general there is no chance you will get anything from anyone without it being remembered or needing reciprocation at some time in the future”.
    My malaysian mates who were able to get a working visa and live in Singapore are relly happy about it.
    I guess there is a price everyone has to pay to overcome poverty and in the case of Singapore that could be that you have to study hard, work hard and live in a highrise government housing board flat. Not everybodies idea of total happiness, but my friends can afford to fly to Europe or anywhere else during their holidays.
    Creativity: yeah, it’s a bit hard to find in Singapore, but its there. Have you been to the Substation?
    Next time you come our way we have to continue this…..

    • lunny06 says:

      Holger I totally agree with the dictatorship being constructed here in Australia, very true, thank you. All good perspectives but I still feel I couldn’t escape the heat of this false impression of happiness that all people should have but really didn’t seem to…

      I agree a wheat beer and an Alice Springs sunset seems like the best time and place for this to be continued…

  2. Holger says:

    The wheat beer is in the fridge. When are you coming?

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