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The Ugly Singaporean

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

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Postby ksl » Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:02 pm

ozchick wrote:
ksl wrote:I can almost feel my feet lifting off the ground, because you are all so in touch with life and the universe, it's wonderful. :shock: I feel your beauty! :)


Hey WIMH- any idea what the lad's drinking lately ?! Is it that vinegar stuff ?! He's gone all sort of Nancy-boyish ! Great oddness you are at times lumpy one ! :wink:
:wave: Guess I'm ready for a holiday :roll: It's well over due! Nancy boyish don't be saying that, I get enough fan mail as it is! :roll:

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:11 pm

ozchick wrote:
ksl wrote:I can almost feel my feet lifting off the ground, because you are all so in touch with life and the universe, it's wonderful. :shock: I feel your beauty! :)


Hey WIMH- any idea what the lad's drinking lately ?! Is it that vinegar stuff ?! He's gone all sort of Nancy-boyish ! Great oddness you are at times lumpy one ! :wink:

Ya, I wonder about that boy. Most times I have no clue what he's saying though I trust his sweet heart that it's usually something positive and uplifting. :wink:

(Actually I think I might be terrified if I met him in real life raving away like that... 8-[ )

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Postby ksl » Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:55 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
ozchick wrote:
ksl wrote:I can almost feel my feet lifting off the ground, because you are all so in touch with life and the universe, it's wonderful. :shock: I feel your beauty! :)


Hey WIMH- any idea what the lad's drinking lately ?! Is it that vinegar stuff ?! He's gone all sort of Nancy-boyish ! Great oddness you are at times lumpy one ! :wink:

Ya, I wonder about that boy. Most times I have no clue what he's saying though I trust his sweet heart that it's usually something positive and uplifting. :wink:

(Actually I think I might be terrified if I met him in real life raving away like that... 8-[ )


Actually the weather prevents me going anywhere, I sit in the kitchen with the fridge door open, half the day and night, cursing the bloody weather,(jokingly) I'm always last into McDonalds, so i gave that idea up, although the staff, have started to clear the kids, when they see me coming, since I'm always complaining i cannot get a seat, when i buy a coffee!

They too think i'm nuts, that's for sure! I don't mind being laid back in a fast food place, but i get uptight after i have slept and the meal is still not ready :D

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 12:17 am

Yeap, the term has been associated with mainland chinese tourists of late. Recently I read about this china man (is this un-pc? as I am quoting the SG news) who got beat up talking loudly on the cellphone in the bus requiring hospitalization. The brutish violent response is uncalled for. But if one is constantly subject to a certain unsociable behavior which get on his nerve, he may snap one day and not be gracious in his response. Though I do think Singaporeans can be rather short tempered at times. But physical violence is rare. And the 6 million population quota will not help to enhance the living condition there. One of my greater wish for the country is it will be a gentler and less kiasu place to live in.

There was a survey done in Europe listing the best and worst behaved tourists by countries. Make a guess who came up bottom and who came up tops? :P

It is a bit discouraging when I read that schools are coming up with tough exams resulting in failing grades. This is their way to keep the students on their toes. I think it is unnecessary and counter-productive. It may result in damaged self-esteem and parents scrambling to put them in tuition programs. For all I know, kids in SG need to refocus on non-academic subjects and allowed to evolved in a more rounded way. It is hard for kids to have a healthy happy childhood (and healthy outlook in life) when they over focus on just one thing.

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 2:11 am

Vaucluse wrote:
Ugly Singaporeans? I hear that a lot from Malaysians about Singaporeans, woh do have an attitude to the northern cousins.


I was shocked when my malaysian girlfriend told me about her opinion about singaporeans. Singaporeans are thought of as being arrogant and love of face (as in not losing face). I don't harbor ill feelings towards them and most around me don't. And quite enjoy their country and laid back culture. But was amazed by the negative feeling from a childhood girlfriend and I never knew why. Later found out her parents originally from Malaysia and did not have good experience there.

I think a lot of it due to difference in outlook between the 2 countries and the water issue epitomizes this. SG uses cut to the chase approach and want to get it resolved asap whereas Malaysia needs time for its own internal process. As in all relationship, it is about give and take from both sides. SG can ease into their working mode and be more understanding towards their working style and Malaysia do the same for SG. Yes, it is easy for me make such casual observation. If one is tasked with the job and faced the daily frustrations of conflicting interests, he may have a different take on it. It is never easy whenever human factor is involved.


And I wonder if it is perpetuated by the ruling govt. The present prime minister seems more amicable and open whereas Mahathir come across as having a personal vendetta against SG. He would harp on the incident where SG taxi driver drop him off at the kitchen area when he visited a SG friend.

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Postby chitlins » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 11:27 am

earthfriendly wrote:
Vaucluse wrote:
Ugly Singaporeans? I hear that a lot from Malaysians about Singaporeans, woh do have an attitude to the northern cousins.


I was shocked when my malaysian girlfriend told me about her opinion about singaporeans. Singaporeans are thought of as being arrogant and love of face (as in not losing face). .



Ah, Malaysians...... a very complex species!!!!!!! I do not think I can even begin to describe the complexity of the Malaysian character in less than a 3/4 day. And their relationship with their tiny, rich neighbour.....Ohhhh, even more complicated!!!!!!!

In a Nutshell: if you can imagine the relationship between New Jerseyians and New Yorkers, then you're close!!!!!! Or, if you are a Continental, the relationship between the French and the British!!!!!!!!

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Postby chitlins » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 11:41 am

EADG wrote:you must have had bad luck, I've never had that problem in NY, for my old Saab one minor break in (vent window broken, no vandalism, nothing stolen); my new Accura - no problems, and I always parked on the street

I also can't attest to my friends doing as you say, outside of where in multi-car familes often the commuter vehicle was the beater to keep the newer one in better condition, the roads being what they are in NY with the winter potholes, etc.

chitlins wrote:Once, in 1991, every single car on the street I lived in in N.Y. City was walked over, and get this: had its windscreen kicked in!!!!!!!!

All my friends and neighbours have had their cars stolen so often, they just do not bother to buy decent new cars anymore. They go out of their way to get really old scrap cars, the ones whose body panels are hanging on just by a thread, and spend big bucks to get them running reliably again. Kind of a "stealth limousine!!!!!!!!" The insides, engine, etc are immaculate, but looking at the swiss-cheese pockmarked moon-cratered bodywork, no street tough would ever guess it!!!!!!!

Yes, Singapore has got its little peculiarities, and even 1 or 2 problems, but compared to London or New York, it is like paradise on earth!!!!!!!!



Mr or Ms EADG, I just happen to recall one or 2 cases to refute your "you must have bad luck" comment. That case where the cars were stomped on and had their windows kicked in, it was not just me, but a whole city block that had its cars stomped and windows kicked in.

Also, one Attorney-General of New York, he is on record as saying he has had 7 cars stolen from his front porch in the last 15 years.

In New York, you say you've had 5 cars stolen, peple do not bat an eyelid.

To me, these incidents do not indicate bad luck of one individual. They indicate a major problem in the society itself.


People that do not have anything happen to them or their property, they are not the norm. They either have no property save for the shirt or blouse on their backs like the unwashed homeless, or they live in Gracie Mansion or the multimillion-dollar townhouses/condo's around it. I think it is unlikely that you are the Gracie Mansion type.

But it sure is a switch living in Singapore, where you can walk on the street at night with a beautiful woman, both of you dressed in your best, and not have to watch your back (and hers!!!!!!).

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Postby andy21 » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 11:54 am

Here goes: The story of the ugly Singaporean.

The sad truth is that there are alot of very ugly Singaporeans, primarily from a social perspective.

Most of it is not because of outright ill-will, few Singaporeans, or human beings as a matter of fact, make being unpleasant or outright destructive towards other people a central feature of their lives.

Some of the poor social values Singaporeans carry around with them include: a general lack of consideration towards the needs of other people and a tendency to look unkindly upon those 'beneath' them.

These attitudes manifest themselves openly in many ways, almost all observed on a daily basis.

Occupying the outer seat of a bus when the inner seat is empty, shouting at domestic helpers, figuratievly or literally pinching their noses when a Bangladeshi construction worker walks past.

Most interstingly of all, the ability to pretend not to see or hear anything when confronted with any sort of situation (usually unpleasant) that puts them in a spot that requires some sort of action on their part. For example being told to move their cars when they're obstructing traffic flow. If you're not a traffic warden with the ability to put them out of pocket, rest assured you're invisible if you tell them to move off. That's somewhat of an extreme example, but you get my drift.

I believe the government is singularly responsible for moulding an entire society that by and large behaves like this.

Singapore is a very paternalistic society, that's clear to see. Our 'Confucian' values (in fact a useful political tool for the ruling elite) dictate that we listen to our elders. Questioning their motives is not encouraged no matter what we hear. Basically, no other society in this world that I know now takes as much of a cue from it's government as this one.

Therein lies the problem. The actions of the government are in many ways less than exemplary. I will explain how I believe this filters down to the people, generally at all levels of society.

This government takes a very clear view of the sort of people it 'worships' and the sort it clearly regards as being marginally above the earthworm.

We draw such a clear distinction between foreign talent and foreign labour. One group is to be pandered to as much as possible, the other is to be ruthlessly discarded as and when it suits the country. The foreign labour here have as close to no enforceable rights as is possible.

Is it any wonder that the people carry such attitudes around with them? Maid abuse? The unimaginable outcry when MoM declared that maids must have a day off (which of course they make a point not to enforce) or pay in lieu.

'But we pay for her' cry so many of these people. Wonder how they'll feel if their own employers told them they had no more days off because the company needed them to work all the time.

Here, a domestic helper is considered abused only if some form of physical force is used on her. Which of course makes it alright to scream at them all day long for being stupid, which it appears they all are.

In Singapore, most people have no idea what people in other countries think of them, especially the neighbouring ones. Yes, the one's just above earthworms in the pecking order, and like earthfriendly are positively surprised to find that SIngaporeans aren't actually well-liked by them!

Has anyone even bothered to examine the way we treat them on an state-to-state basis? Brutal is putting it lightly. Yet all day long we hear statements from the official agencies going how they're 'puzzled' by the latest response from such and such a state over this issue or that. Puzzled? Puzzled! That's only for domestic consumption I guess, so they're right.

Haze caused by burning fires in Sumatra? Why on earth aren't they doing something about it? We are suffering because they don't do anything about it. Guess what? Wonder where alot of that timber ends up for sale? Never mind that, they should still do something because we are suffering here!

Align yourself with the strong, bend over backwards if you have to. Crush the weak. If you're caught in a position where neither is a viable option, bury your head in the sand!

The blind following of everything the leaders of this country preach is not healthy.

I know this one lady who lives alone and has a domestic helper from Indonesia. She dearly looks up to the government and belives they're the best thing that's ever happened to this country. Well, maybe it's true for they have certainly done some fantastic things for this country and its people, and themselves.

She resolutely does not allow her maid to go out on her own, use the telephone and pretty much screams at her for the slightest transgression. She had a foreign visitor once to whom the idea of a live-in servant is of course unusual. In the course of his enquiries, she proudly told him her maid does not need a day off because she does not have much work to do and therefore does not need a day off.

Apologies ofr the terribly long and no-so-well structured rant. This represents only a fragment of my many thoughts on this society and perhaps I can come up with something more comprehensive and coherent at some point.

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Postby andy21 » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 12:04 pm

chitlins wrote:To me, these incidents do not indicate bad luck of one individual. They indicate a major problem in the society itself.


That's right, every society has its own set of problems. The crime situation here, especially with regards violent crime is generally very good compared with other developed nations.

We have rather strong enforcement abilities, being a tiny country helps deter crime because well, umm, there's nowhere to run!

When it comes to things for which there is little or no enforcement, Singaporeans are in fact not very law-abiding at all. Poor motoring behaviour, the willigness to do something selfish that has undesirable consequences for other people as long as they don't get caught, put out of pocket or somehow publicly humiliated.

People don't spit on the floor in their own homes, yet don't bat an eyelid doing it in some HDB lifts.

This attitude of 'letting someone clean up (not always literally of course) after me' does not develop spontaneously.

edited for shockingly poor grammar and spelling

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Postby cutiebutie » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 12:38 pm

Some of the poor social values Singaporeans carry around with them include: a general lack of consideration towards the needs of other people and a tendency to look unkindly upon those 'beneath' them.


Unfortunately true, even sadder is that it is a very common attitude in all of Asia. Whether it is looking down on those on a lower economic scale or a darker skin colour, and the list goes on.
- Thank God for Darwin -

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 12:57 pm

andy21 wrote:
I believe the government is singularly responsible for moulding an entire society that by and large behaves like this.

Singapore is a very paternalistic society, that's clear to see. Our 'Confucian' values (in fact a useful political tool for the ruling elite) dictate that we listen to our elders. Questioning their motives is not encouraged no matter what we hear. Basically, no other society in this world that I know now takes as much of a cue from it's government as this one.



Nope I don't believe in blaming the ills of society on a singular person or group or govt. Everyone in the group has a part to play and to make their world / country a better place to live in. MM is a long time admirer of Confucius philosophy. That does not mean he follows it strictly. I don't know if it's feasible nor possible for a statesman to follow a set of theocracy to the T. The govt would be doing Confucius a disservice if they use him as a tool to command submission from its citizens. A truly loyal subject will offer his truthful opinion to the emperor even at the risk of beheading, says Confucius. He believed in cultivating a person's character so he can be a gentleman in his ways and thoughts. He advocated doing so by taking the time to teach them the right value from a young age, unlike the SG model of using fine and penalties to coerce the desired behaviours. Confuciusnism preached meritocracy, rather than caste. He accepted students from various economic background and students share the same classroom regardless of their status. Students were judged solely based on their efforts put in and ability to grasp the doctrine. And yes, Confucianism is definitely about hierarchy. But it is a hierarchy of social responsiblities, rather than a heirarchy of social status. Children respecting parents and in return the parents should nurture them and take care of their needs. It is a 2 way street. At the parents level, huband and wife should each do their part to maintain a happy and peaceful househould. And as a family, they should contribute and work towards the good of society and country. It is a bit like the idea of divide and conquer. It is also based on the concept that people who are more able should take care of the weaker ones within the society.

SG still has some way to go before achieving all that, me thinks. And I won't say SG is based on the confucius model. Only limited aspects of it.

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 1:06 pm

andy21 wrote:In Singapore, most people have no idea what people in other countries think of them, especially the neighbouring ones. Yes, the one's just above earthworms in the pecking order, and like earthfriendly are positively surprised to find that SIngaporeans aren't actually well-liked by them!



Quite naive of me :oops: . I don't dislike them as a group despite all the bad experiences I have heard from friends and family either vacationing or running businesses there. And the people I know don't dislike them nor harbor any ill feelings, just the shock at what they had to go thru and they eventually got over it and just deal with it . And they wise up the next time :P . My mom had her passport stolen over 2 decades ago while both of us were vacationing there. We joined the tour group and family member had to drive across the strait to pick us up at custom since we could not cross the strait with the rest of the group due to not having a passport. Just offer the officer some coffee money. Didn't even have to go to SG embassy in Malaysia for passport replacement. Easy peasy. Did it stop me from visiting Malaysia and blaming the whole nation for my misfortune. Nope.

Not to mention a family member whose employee threatened to take his life as the former fired him for incompetence. I have many stories to tell and do I hate the entire malaysian population for it. It is not necessary lah!

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 1:40 pm

And what should Singaporeans do the next time around after the negative experiences? Should they act more cautious, more protective and defensive? It is very convenient to pick one person / group to demonise and use it as a scapegoat to explain all the ills.

Life however is not that simplistic lah !

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 5:18 pm

cutiebutie wrote:
Some of the poor social values Singaporeans carry around with them include: a general lack of consideration towards the needs of other people and a tendency to look unkindly upon those 'beneath' them.


Unfortunately true, even sadder is that it is a very common attitude in all of Asia. Whether it is looking down on those on a lower economic scale or a darker skin colour, and the list goes on.


Thanks CB. I need not reply. :P
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Wed, 04 Jun 2008 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 03 Jun 2008 5:45 pm

Wow, Andy. Great posts. It's heartening to know I have compatriots like yourself able to look at our society critically and yet with an obvious passion for things to get better.

You've described the issues very well. Like EF though, I think it's too simplistic to blame the 'gahmen'. By doing so you fall into the very trap you're accusing others of being guilty of - accepting the government as the sole thinker and originator of everything here. Also, pointing fingers and apportioning blame isn't going to solve anything.

I for one think very highly of our government - just look at governments around the world and it's easy to appreciate ours. At the same time I speak out freely about what I see as faults in our government, society, and myself as a Singaporean - because I could do a lot more to change things. And as long as I don't, I'm equally to blame for things being the way they are.


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