As the nation revels in its 47th birthday and the progress that we have achieved, it is important for Singaporeans to reflect introspectively and ask ourselves a very important question. Who are we?
We are a people who even as we decry foreign talent, we tear down our own simply because of a setback. “Singapore has no talent is a mantra.” that has been repeated so much that even outsiders have started to repeat it. We froth at the mouth like an ice cold beer when we are slapped with this label, so impotent in our rage that we are robbed of our sense of defiance to excel and prove our critics wrong. All we do is talk big like a shyster but rarely step up to the plate to prove our mettle.
We are a people who are so unpatriotic that we despise and call for the lynching of foreigners who express their own patriotism within our own borders (link). We grumble about acts of patriotism by others and yet aside from national service, few of us actually do anything to contribute towards the progressive advancement of our society. We expect others to take up our battles while hiding at home in front of our keyboards. We are so devoid of self respect is there wonder why outsiders show us no regard?
We have become so disillusioned with the fabric of our nation that even a victory at the Olympics feels more like a pyrrhic victory (link). Whatever happened to appreciating the many hours of training and personal sacrifice they put in? Or the fact that these athletes also call our little red dot home? We scream that we have recruited mercenaries to represent us on the global arena but are we so blinded by our own umbrage that we forget that we are represented by the very thing that comprise a nation of immigrants?
We are a people who complain that everything in our city is so boring and passé, yet we stick to what we know and rarely venture out of our comfort zone. We constantly feed ourselves excuses to chain ourselves down within an abyss of our own making. We are ever the metaphorical frog in the well, lacking that one leap of faith that will liberate our minds, and more importantly our souls.
We are a people who lament the lack of trailblazers, but few among us want to do anything that is not popular or approved. We have become so afraid to fail that even when one of us soars closer towards the sun and falls, be it because of hubris or resolve (link); we gleefully wallow in schadenfreude like the proverbial hog in his filth encrusted pig sty.
We are the people who claim brainwashing and being forced into certain lines of thinking, but we do not set out to have our own train of thought. We are the people who ridicule and crucify those that we deem to deviate from our hive like consciousness. Anyone with the audacity to present a contrary point of view is deemed an aberration that must brought back into line or shamed into oblivion (link). The fake outrage machinery literally has us jumping at shadows.
Our nation was born on a hot August day 47 years ago. Back then we were a young sapling in a forest, sprouting out of the soil, hungry for new heights as we grew into a mighty flame of the forest. 47 years on, we have come through dark periods in our history with our roots more firmly entrenched within our soil. We now collectively face many great challenges ahead of us. Many of them by our own hand as pointed out above. If we are to soldier on as a society we need to take a hard good look at ourselves and ask ourselves: who are we? Are we going to allow petty nuances to rot us from within and remain a fallen leaf, decaying on the forest floor? Or do we want to be the majestic flame of the forest that we are and have our brilliant red shine through out the world as a beacon? The choice is ours. Happy Birthday Singapore!