In "The FlipSide", local blogger Belmont Lay lets loose on local politics, culture and society. To be taken with a pinch of salt. Parental permission is advised. In this post, he talks about how he is staying put in Singapore.Blogger Belmont Lay writes his own letter to Singapore. (Getty Images)
You are rigid and uptight. All these while I've always felt that you have been nothing but a perpetual boring old fart to me.
I'm 28 this year and I am beyond feeling jaded with you. But I'm staying put.
Regardless, I love you. I won't blame you nor forsake you. You did not mean this for yourself. You have been moulded by politicians who wanted nothing but the best for you.
And look what happened.
But over the years, I've grown accustomed to your ways. I've come to live with your shortcomings. I've learnt to look past your facade of efficiency and cleanliness and laughed off your superficiality.
I can now spot all your flaws from a mile away but I'm set on carrying on this journey with you.
Pretty much in the same way as how someone will have to live with an inoperable tumour for life because cutting it off means certain death or disfigurement.
An underbelly of strangeness
However, I am also proud to say, I might have figured you out. That is what keeps me going.
When I stare really hard, I find that there is an understated charm to you.
Unlike places elsewhere, such as London, where everything and everyone is so "in-your-face" and is considered "exciting", Singapore has a thriving underbelly of strangeness that is concealed and waiting to be discovered — if you look and probe hard enough.
Of course, people here don't give themselves labels such as "toff" or "chav" like the Londoners do.
So, on the outside, everyone's in similar-looking prim and proper clothing, dragging their feet to work and becoming a cog in the machine. Everyone looks like an office drone.
But on the inside, I know that they are all weirdos who harbour dark secrets.
Heavy metal rocker wannabe. Twilight fan. Car show model aspirant. Lego enthusiast. Manga comic otaku. Weird sex fetish practitioner.
You name it, we have it.
In Singapore, people are just less blatant about who they are. They don't wear their heart on their sleeves.
But that doesn't mean they can't be just as off their rockers.
Reason for lack of subcultures
Yes, Singapore, you should be more than just dollar signs. You should have your fair share of subcultures.
However, I don't want to be a Goth. Or a Punk. Likewise for many others.
Why? Because the humidity tends to ruin our make-up. Or rather, our faces melt under the tropical heat, which prevents the make-up from staying put.
So, what do many people opt for as the next best alternative? Zip around in fancy continental cars, have a wife, a bunch of kids and two maids in tow, with credit cards and a country club membership to boot.
Yes, it is truly horrible that people can only have all these things in life.
What a sad tragic life they must have! All they can do is go back and be an incredible sulk in their homes -- which is usually a well-padded house on a piece of landed property.
So, it is not that people here are all money-minded. It's just that the weather gets in the way of wanting to be anything else.
Open-minded, but not too much
I love you for who you are, Singapore, and I'm not here to change you.
I love how you have so many conservative people here who are resistant to change and there has been a growing lot of liberals. I'm proud to say I've always been part of this latter group.
I think this balance is perfect because I enjoy the tension.
I would hate it if one day I woke up and everyone saw things my way and decided to become liberal too. Then I wouldn't feel so special anymore.
To cope, I'd have to be more liberal. And if this cycle goes on, pretty soon things will go out of hand.
Everyone will be so liberal and open-minded, this country will turn into a nudist colony. There will be public baths and zero restrictions.
And this will be the last thing on Earth I want. To see old people shower in public.
I don't want you to be a closed case either. I want you to be an open book. But not that open.
Belmont Lay is one of the editors of New Nation, an online publication that chronicles First World Problems.