Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Singaporeans, defend thyselves for goodness sake !

Seems that Malaysiakini.com has a number of anti-Singapore articles out on the Internet. One problem I see on the web is that many Singaporeans hate the PAP so much, they fail to distinguish an attack on the country from an attack on our style of governance. As such, articles on Malaysiakini are greeted not so much as outrage by our own citizens but its saddening to see that Singaporeans are cheering Malaysians on when they write nasty articles about our country.

Today, I would not dispute the facts behind these recent articles because its possible that they are true but I would rather challenge the conclusion that came out of it, these articles attempt to demonstrate that Singapore must be quite a terrible place to be because of the plight of our poor. But to be fair, we have to ask ourselves if a society without poverty exists and whether the author of the article chose to examine his own society before casting that rock against ours.

When positioning ourselves in front of criticism, sometimes its helpful to look at recent studies from neutral parties to assess how good or bad a society can be. One example I would like to quote is a recent study done by the folks here :

http://www.happyplanetindex.org/learn/download-report.html.

The Happy Planet Index is broken down into three components.

In the first component, life satisfaction, a survey which measures how satisfied Singaporeans are, Singapore scored 7.1. The only place in South Asia or East Asia which did better was Hong Kong at 7.2. Malaysia was behind us at 6.6. Another words, based on a survey done by a third party, Singaporeans are generally more satisfied than Malaysians.

The second component, life expectancy, Singapore scored 79.4 versus Malaysia's 73.7. So in such a case, not only are we more satisfied with our lives, we live longer as well.

Of course, many netizens will remind us that Singapore lost to Malaysia in the third component which measures our ecological footprint. It would take a lot more resources to sustain Singapore than Malaysia per unit acre - a fair result given that we're five million people crammed on a little red dot. Singapore's score of 4.2, while larger than Malaysia's 2.4, is much smaller than the US which is at 9.4 or even Hong Kong.

I welcome netizens to go through the website and share with us more findings and expose more biases in the study but I urge Singaporeans to remind ourselves that we're much bigger than our government. Criticising the PAP and Singapore is our job and I might even say that its our duty. But when foreigners criticise us, we should react in a measured and objective manner that preserves respect between two neighbours.

When our nation is attacked or criticised, it's up to us and not PAP to defend us but our own fellow countrymen.

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