Yahoo! Singapore asked our readers last Friday to submit their responses to ‘Zing’s “Letter to Singapore” wherein the author talked about falling in love with London and out of love with Singapore.
The 20-year-old waxed nostalgic for the former’s raw underground culture and juxtaposed it against the “jaded” feeling he or she felt for Singapore while growing up.
In response to our call, we received over 45 emails with majority of the writers expressing their love and taking a stand for their “home” Singapore while questioning the author’s criticism of Singapore given the latter’s tender age and lack of contribution to the nation.
Wong Weng Fatt, 41, a sales engineer, questioned how much of the world the author has truly seen in his/her 20 years of life to make such a sweeping judgment on Singapore.
He said, “Being 20 years of age, what does he truly know of the world? Yet in the musings, he waxes lyrically about how London allows one to be oneself. My question is does he truly know what he/she is? I don’t mean to be rude but at 20 and having only seen London and Singapore, what does he/she really know about the world?”
Desmond Foo, a senior quality manager, reflected on how Singapore remains the same in his eyes as compared to 20 years ago despite the many changes the nation has experienced over the years.
He said, “It is already 20 years since graduation and travelling in and out of my beloved country till now. Singapore to me is traditionally the same, just more vibrant and progressed. We have to change with times or perish with changes. It is our choice to learn to adapt to circumstances.
“But it is a good sign that Singaporean are open minded and willing to move on and take some sacrifices at times to make difficult change,” he added.
The author’s letter reminded Amanda Fang, 37, a marketing strategist, about her younger years when she lived overseas. More importantly, it also reminded how “blessed and proud” she is to have a “motherland” like Singapore.
She reminisced, “I was like the author when I was just 20, only that was close to 20 years ago. I’ve only been to the western parts of the world then, lived in one of it for some time. I probably felt the same way he/she did about gays and drag queens, about the dangerous back alleys and the "excitement" of walking through them at night.
“But I also remembered how blessed I felt, knowing I had a motherland that I always belonged to and could depend on. I felt so proud then, that I was a result of generations of blood and toil,
who worked very hard to make Singapore into what it is today,” she added.
"Right decision" to leave Singapore
Not all were opposed to the author’s views though, with some hailing Zing’s decision to leave Singapore as the “right decision” that “many Singaporeans” would love to make if given the opportunity.
Said Muhammad Tauriq, 49, clerk, “I wish him/her all the best. Given the opportunity, I guess most us want to do the same thing. With the rising cost of leaving and overcrowding, that's the right decision to make.”
Chen Yew Lin, 52, a housing agent, encouraged the author to go where he/she wants to go while still young, saying, “This young person has just received a revelation of what Singapore is about.
"I would say to the young chap, go for it. Life is too short to be wasted. Before you know it, it is about over."
Is the grass always greener on the other side?
So is the grass always greener on the other side? Christopher Andre Porter questioned it, arguing, “Yes, Singapore might not be a perfect country but what makes you think that the other side is greener? If you have been traveling around the world, you should know that Singapore is one of the safest place in the world.”
“Love what you have and treasure what you see. Singapore isn't that bad. Is a fast growing country that is making sure that we are living a better life. You should ask yourself, what have you done for Singapore for the past 20 years?” he added.
Teo Poh Noy, 50, a housewife, urged Singaporeans to do their bit for the country and not just criticize it for her flaws.
She said, ”There is a saying that the grass is always greener out there. A lot of people only see what they want to see and over a time, your eyes may see different things.
“Every country has its ups and downs, good or bad, please don't just criticise and not do your bit. I am doing mine in my small way, are you?”
Letter to Singapore: Yahoo! readers respond