“Dear Singapore, I’m sorry, but I’m leaving you. I’ve fallen in love with somewhere else, and you wouldn’t like her,” wrote a contributor to a Singapore website.
In an undated post on stories.sg titled “Letter to Singapore”, author Zing then waxed nostalgic for London’s raw underground culture and juxtaposed it against the “jaded” feeling he (or she) felt for Singapore while growing up.
“I’m 20 years old and I don’t want to be jaded, but you’re already feeding me defeatism and banality as a lifestyle choice,” the writer observed, adding that the office drone and money-chasing lifestyle that most Singaporeans led felt trivial to him/her.
“I looked into your dreams one night and they were full of dollar signs. They were full of people getting by on their Mercedes, their two maids, their country club membership. Getting by and not living. Getting but not achieving. Buying and selling but not giving,” the contributor added.
Zing also wrote of the freedom one could feel in London. “In London, I can be a saint or sinner… I can be posh, poor, upmarket, downmarket, chav, toff, hippie, indie. I can be gay or straight, man or woman. I can make myself up, make myself down. And London will still embrace me, and I will always find somewhere that will take me in.”
“[But], I’m not sure you could ever do that Singapore,” Zing wrote, as he/she explained that although the city-state claims it celebrates diversity, we only “grudgingly tolerate it”.
Nonetheless, the author stressed that he/she doesn’t want to “make [Singapore] something you’re not… I’m just trying to make you see that you’re more than dollar signs.”
“You’re more than people just scrapping by, dreaming of money and five-star hotels. You’re a hell of a lot more than just a good air-conditioning system…. You like to hold on to this idea of being this clean, perfectly efficient city, when really it’s the dirt that makes you who you are,” the letter-writer said.
By Friday afternoon, after the article was reposted on 2 September on another local blog called “You don’t have to agree”, the letter attracted over 130 comments on the site.
Wrote Aussiefied, “It takes a Singaporean who has been overseas for a substantial period of time immersed in a different culture to see where you’re coming from. Well written, I share many of your thoughts. Singapore does not owe me a living, do I owe her one?”
Another commenter Citutt wrote, “I do feel for [the writer]. I love my country but not the way [it’s being] run. We are born just to chase for that dollar sign and it’s a non-stop process till we are 7ft underneath. Unfortunately age is not on my side. I just have to stay put here, chasing for that dollar sign to survive in this competitive country.”
However, on the other end of the spectrum, several others disagreed with Zing and aggressively defended their motherland.
A commenter who addressed himself as Eddie wrote, “Fundamentally, it’s about choice. Nobody forced you to be an office drone. Different people choose to live their lives differently… The youths nowadays want everything but only at their own convenience. And when it doesn’t go your way, you whine.”
“The power of change lies in your hand. Singapore need less whiners, it needs more do-ers… Singapore is not a one-size-fits-all, it just doesn’t suit you (now). You’re only twenty. You are in a position to choose -- whether to bring positive change or just leave. If you truly love this country, then you should know what is the choice to make,” he added.
Another commenter See Tow said, “Our country does not owe you a duty to change just at your whim and fancy… You, with all of your 20 years of life experience, have been living a sheltered life, shielded by generations of blood and sweat of our fellow Singaporeans.”
“I would like to urge you to love your country, Singapore. Granted, Singapore has many flaws and many things could be improved on… [But], just know this – when the day of reckoning comes, I will have a country and a motherland that I can truly call my home, because I have given her my heart and soul and loved her unconditionally,” he added.
“Will you have a place to truly call home? A land that loves you as unconditionally as you love her?”
Read the full article here.
What do you think? Do you agree with the writer's views? Please send us your own "Letter to Singapore" to email@example.com stating your full name, age and occupation. Please note that all submissions will be subject to these terms.
The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit an all-time high of 321 at 10pm on Wednesday, crossing into the "hazardous" range, according to data from the National Environment Agency (NEA).