Tuesday, August 10, 2010

National Day Rant : No one is out to ruin your Singaporean Dream, lah !

I don't really feel like blogging these days. But occasionally some things occur in the blogosphere and I suddenly find that I can't really help myself.

This National Day, a lot of bloggers have taken this opportunity to talk about the Singaporean Dream and of course partake in the tradition of PAP-bashing. A lot of what the Internet has been for the last few days can be summarized by something said by a famous blogger called Kitana who wrote this classic :

" In Singapore, it is difficult to dream. Difficult to dream of anything beyond the material. I don’t wish for a future where I am stuck in my dead end job wondering what the fuck I want in my life. I don’t want a future where I die to myself, murder my idealism and my dreams of being different, simply because ‘different’ is a bad word in Singapore. "

If Kitana is reading this, I'm really sorry.

I don't buy your message.

Sure, I had my share of failures and disappointment in Singapore and I was certainly not part of the scholar-mandarin caste in Singapore. Note that I will probably also vote opposition next election too.

This is my opinion, and I welcome you to challenge them here:

a) No society is obligated to make your dreams come true.

Sure, liberals want welfare and minimum wages. That is the Singapore Dream for them. With a welfare society, a liberal can spend his days drawing pictures of the Singapore River or compose poems about his dead cat. But welfare comes with taxes and wages come from the businessmen creates the jobs. Do we want some dreams to be funded from the nightmares of other people? Too much of the gripes are disguised as attacks on the PAP but they are actually thinly disguised attacks on fellow Singaporeans. Yes, fellow Singaporeans who work hard on their jobs and enjoy low taxes or work hard to CREATE jobs for other Singaporeans.

b) No society is out there to stop the pursuit of your dreams.

While Singapore is not obligated to realize the dreams of everybody, Singapore can never stop you from pursuing your dreams. You cannot be stopped from chasing your dreams. You might be stopped from actually attaining it but that happens to the best of us.

The ultimate power of a citizen is that he can give up his citizenship and take his productivity elsewhere, that's if he refuses to vote in the next election. Singapore has to fight for global talent too. Don't like MM Lee, no problem ! Pauline Hanson will welcome you with open arms down under.

c) Materialist dreams are not spared in this society.

The truth is that my own dream is a fairly materialist one. My dream is to live on dividend pay-outs generated from my earned income. When i shared my dream with readers, all I got was 21 pages of hate-filled postings on Channel News Asia. I don't believe that materialist dreams will be spared from the wrath of the disgruntled fellow citizen. People will attack you if potentially what you are doing is interesting and will make them look stupid.

d) If disapproval from fellow Singaporeans is preventing you from dreaming your dream, you must be quite a sad person.

One of my formative years which made me like this way was at the age of 10, my ACS kid neighbors decided that my ET BMX bike which my dad got for me was not cool enough. They said it was fake and I spent a large part of my youth dodging 7mm plastic pellets from their Thunderboy handguns.
The RI kids were'nt any better, they made fun of me because I went to a neighbourhood school.

If I'm going to gripe about the years where I was a geek kid getting wedgies, developing complicated neuroses about branded secondary schools, I would miss out making friends with many ACS and RI alumni today, many have become my best friends and they can count on me if they need help.

I'm just using this story because like many of you unhappy Singaporeans, I was too poor to qualify for ACS and too dumb to qualify for RI. ( Too Ang-moh to enter Chinese High )

I worked on my academic credentials in university and now I'm going through the journey on financial independence bit. I'm confident I'll get there before I'm 40.

The fundamentals of success does not vary from society to society. It certainly would not vary whether RP or PAP is in power.

Work your butt out, strive to be likeable and don't take things for granted. Look after your family and everything will take care of itself.

As a bonus, you'll earn the respect of your most vicious critics.

That is my Singapore Dream.


  1. haha mr ng.

    glad to see you write something.

    how are you doing sir

  2. Thank you for sharing your blog.
    Read with interest your comments about ACS,RI and Chinese High. Am encouraged by your desire to achieve financial independence by 40 years.
    Although I went to the said school, I can't say much for myself, except that I'm out-of-work, aimless and wasting my life away.

  3. Thanks Inspired !

    And I must say that it was your retro posting of Kitara's posting that got me started.

  4. Sorry Mr Ng,

    You don't seem to understand what Kitana was upset about.

    She wasn't griping that Singapore did not help her realize her dreams.

    She was upset that Singapore society was not inclusive enough, not mature enough, to accept that she had different dreams, and to allow her the freedom to pursue them BY HERSELF.

    Therein lies the (subtle but huge) difference, between pushing a worldview and not excluding those of others.

    She was actually feeling sad for Singaporean society, because no one really wants to leave.

    It's about not alienating fellow citizens who happen to think differently, Mr Ng. Making them feel that they belong, that they are Singaporeans too. I'm sorry, but your article didn't seem to convey that message.

    You sound like someone who holds a very black-and-white worldview. I hope I am wrong.

    So if I've paraphrased you correctly...

    What you're saying is, tough luck if you have different dreams, accept that this society is like that and doesn't have to change whatsoever notwithstanding you are a part of it; but even though you'll have to ensure all sorts of societal pressures and be mocked relentlessly, you're a sad person if you choose not to put up with the deficiencies of Singaporean society.

    Would that sound about right, Mr Ng?

    We live in a day and age where people are empowered. People have choices now which they exercise.

    BTW no need for the Hanson cheap shot. That's news from the previous century. Everyone's favorite redhead has gone back to Britain. Australia was apparently too multicultural and inclusive for her =).

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  6. Melbourne,

    Well I don't think the reader should accept Singapore if he does'nt want to. The reader can even try to change things and try to impose their liberal world-view on millions of working and tax-paying Singaporeans.

    My point is that Singapore is'nt obligated to change. Singaporeans are'nt obligated to pay higher taxes to meet some self-righteous liberal's view on equality and pay lazy people a stipend. Singaporean business men who are cash strapped don't have to support that idea that some punk deserve minimum wages.

    So by all means, dream all you want. Start messing around with the dreams of millions of largely conservative Singaporeans with mouths to feed, who appreciate hard work and low taxes, you'll be lucky to be ignored.

    Come to think of it, it's about time Mel Gibson heads home...

  7. Hello Mr Ng,

    You really don't get it, do you?

    I totally agree. Singapore isn't obligated to change. That's absolutely true.

    It's a sovereign state and can run itself anyway it sees fit. That goes for North Korea too.

    However you don't seem to understand the concept of international norms, why they exist, or how this concept relates to the level of respect foreigners have for you.

    Let me assure you everyone else is laughing at this island. I know I am.

    Nice black-and-white world view you have, Mr Ng. People who deviate are liberals. Liberals are punks who mess around with other people's dreams. I'm an investor, Mr Ng. Hardly anywhere near being liberal.

    Enjoy not changing anything, Mr Ng. Being ignored is good - less competition for me. I've got no money in this game; it's no skin off my back.


  8. Melbourne,

    Be objective. Based on what I recall, our Singapore passports are welcome almost everywhere.

    One of the countries that respects Singapore is Australia who welcomes our students and workers with open arms. Otherwise, how can we explain the number of Singaporeans who are merrily living the Singapore dream in Ozzie land ?

    Foreigners are investing tons of money in Singapore. Rich people are coming here to gamble and build up private banking accounts. Our passport has immense value. No visa required to enter Japan.

    If this is disrespect, then that is what every country should aim for - the disrespect and scorn of human rights movements and bleeding heart liberals.

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