Singapore Expats

Colonial Hangover

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Colonial Hangover

Post by samster » Sun, 13 Jan 2008 12:52 am

Searched "incubus live" on google because they're coming on March 7th, stumbled upon this forum and read through a few posts. Now I feel driven to express my views because this seems like an appropriate place.

I am a 19 year old soldier-to-be so forgive me if I sound naive. I feel that Singapore is entering a stage that you can perhaps call "colonial hangover". This is a term that an Asian teacher in junior college used on me when I foolishly suggested that my British expat teachers were better.

Here in Singapore, there is a pervasive mentality of white-worship shared by many locals. In the city area it is not uncommon to see groups of asian and white people hanging out together. I have observed that usually, these asians speak in atrociously phony white accents. You'd think that the locals would be truer to themselves by sticking to their own accents, yet here they are falsely adopting foreign mannerisms right in their own homeland. This shows how formless and undefined the psyche of this nation is and how young Singaporeans would love nothing more than to adopt Western identities in terms of how they wish to perceive themselves and how they wish others to perceive them. I myself am certainly guilty of this to an extent and I adore certain aspects of Western culture, especially its music, literature and art. What exactly does it mean to be Singaporean?

My belief is that we should stop deceiving ourselves and acknowledge how white we here in Singapore are all becoming. We are a modern-day white colony. Most top students in Singapore face great pressure to make it to overseas institutions in Britain and the States. This illustrates how us Asians are forever embracing the White paradigm and unless we can offer a paradigm that is different enough and one that Whites are prepared to embrace, we will always be one step behind them. There will never be true racial equality in this world because of this and this is why the Singaporean government places special emphasis on racial HARMONY. But the kind of racial harmony that exists here in Sg is weird, to say the least. There is a clear class difference between white expatriates and locals. It is a very visible fault line in society that separates two groups of people in many ways. One group frequently enjoys the high life in upmarket areas like Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, Orchard Road etc whilst the other group goes there occasionally and with a much thinner wallet. On top of this, local men have to sacrifice 2 years of their prime to serve national service, to ensure that we are ready to defend our way of life if need be, whereas expatriates and their children can avoid this whilst at the same time draw more from the land. Eventually we will have whites in government positions. Singapore's population is expected to swell to 6.5 milllion and a large part of this population growth will be fuelled by incoming foreign talent. Singapore's growth in the near future will also be fuelled by the tourism industry, evident in the development of the Integrated Resort and Singapore Eye and the refurbishment of Sentosa etcetc the list goes on. Imagine what things will be like 10 years down the road. I recently came back from a trip to Phuket and those of you who have been there may perhaps agree with me that it can be aptly described as a colony of Asians milling about to serve their white patrons in every way imaginable. Singapore is set to become a high class version of Phuket. On one hand I appreciate what the government is seeking to accomplish in its nation-building efforts yet on the other hand I feel that its all for naught, if we continue in this direction.

It'd be interesting to hear your views on these matters. Thanks.

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Post by ksl » Sun, 13 Jan 2008 5:07 am

It is a very visible fault line in society that separates two groups of people in many ways. One group frequently enjoys the high life in upmarket areas like Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, Orchard Road etc whilst the other group goes there occasionally and with a much thinner wallet.
Nice post, although i agree with many aspects of it, I fail to agree, with you on certain points. The word expat, covers a wide scope of talent, with a very wide scope of skin colour, other than white, that do not get near enough pay, to many whites....and therefore will never be seen in these areas you mention.

Many Asian expats, maybe from America, or UK, that you are seeing in clark quay and the high life areas, with whites, and are not locals, of course there will be locals invited along no doubt.

I am a white UK citizen myself, with a Taiwanese wife, although we do live a very modest local life, of which we have no choice...So your mostly refering to the MNC, that are sending talent out too Singapore, to do their stint.

Most of which are above the age of NS and some may well have served as professional soldiers, especially from the UK, I would believe..I myself have been a pro soldier for over 10 years.

I can agree, that many Asians are one step behind...unfortunately, it's a little like, Real Eastate Licence Holders, that keep the largest cut of the sale 30% and give the agent 2 or 3%'
You plant a seed and reap the harvest, I'm afraid that cannot be changed over night...I sense a slight racial overtone, that says, you hope, Asians could break away, to form their own destiny, unfortunately, its not the case....I wish it was so easy...

Working with refugees, in Europe, I have seen, what you are suggesting, that because you are Asian you come behind, whites, and in many cases, I have seen it myself, so I agree with you, although there is nothing that can be done, that isn't being done...I have also seen it in the prperty market, but you seem to ignore the other facts, Like Chinese Asians, may get priority over Malay, or Indians....

To be honest, I am white, but what chance have I of securing employment in Singapore, if a Multi-National Company doesn't send me, I have many skills, and lots of experience too, but the one thing I don't do, is blame Asian people of Singaporean government, for its policy on employment, why, because it doesn't help jack Jones..for a better word, than shit!

To get on in life, one needs to ride the waves of politics, religion, and local gossip, and focus, on making a better life for yourself, which means eductation, work experience and positive social behaviour, and mannerisms, because, that is what is going to help you climb out of your percieved negative outlook of expats, especially whites being superior

I posted a thread someplace about Singapore being a HUB, and that's exactly how I see it, if you are born here, or are a citizen, you should do your national service, with pride and passion, not resentment, that you are not white, or Asians have got it all wrong, they haven't got it wrong...

You need to take a good look around you, and see what you have, then consider, that if it wasn't for colonialism, you probably wouldn't even be able to write your post in English, and Singapore wouldn't be built, up, and the kampongs, would still be there...

Many people have died over this little red dot, rotted away in Changi prison, Think about it, 50 years.....your country has been built, but not by the work of Singaporeans, my dear friend, but by the trading connections, built up since the days of Raffles. which are now, the MNC, Singapores revenue....was given to them on a silver platter, to employ, the population, of how many, do you think?

Let me give you a little advice, to contemplate, it doesn't matter what colour you are, it matters how you handle, the negativity of your thoughts..and what kind of company you mix understand all to well, the difference between right & wrong, and no matter where in the world you will be, you will still be the same a world of English language, American and Chinese, for business...

Your ideology is tainted, due to the haves and have nots, resentment, can be painful, not healthy at the sooner, you get yourself focussed on self improvement, the more satisfied, you will be come, do not give in to peer pressure, but drive yourself, to succeed, you can do it, but if you are side tracked, by your environmental and social friendships, you are going to feel a very bitter person, in 20 years time...

Don't let the problems of history and today, effect your daily focus, on doing your NS, and study, there is enough devils in the world, without one more, creating havoc...and that's from a white UK citizen, in a white world as you call it!

Try cutting your finger, and you will see no diiference of what's inside, although what you feel and see is happening, that is can never beat systems, so you must adapt to them, use, them to your advantage, for a better life...without prejudice :wink: Stay away from things that cloud your mind, and be true to your heart and only yourself.
Look, Listen & Learn, but never take sides.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 13 Jan 2008 2:17 pm


Nice reply. :cool:

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Post by drusilla » Sun, 13 Jan 2008 2:31 pm

nice post no doubt, agree with most observations but on general, doubtful.

i agree with ksl's post, especially the part about cutting your finger and finding whats really inside...

about the class difference between expats and locals, higher pay and better packages are the only way to attract people to work away from home. I'm an expat myself working away from home, singapore. and hear the locals complaining frequently too... :lol: and there are actually people who were locals and work here using their new nationality, in order to get the perks of an expat. :o however another point to note from ksl's post would be reaping what you sow. if you haven't what it takes, it doesn't really matter what colour you are, what passport you hold, or where you belong...

young singaporeans adopting western identities? perhaps the only reason is being young, so tend to copy whatever comes... some imitate their parents, and some, friends..

but sticking to their own accent? firstly, i don't think there's really a singapore accent, unless you count singlish as such :???: which i doubt!! secondly, if we do, then we cannot get anyone to really understand us, can we?? :lol: :lol: although i don't believe in adopting phony western accents, i must say we should at least speak proper english when communicating with other nationalities.. when with singaporeans, keep the singlish...

once again, i agree with ksl on the slight racial overtone here, why are you only addressing white expats when there are clearly so many other races and nationalities...

why is the racial harmony in singapore weird? i'm glad i was brought up in a multi-racial society to say the least..

what does it mean to be a singaporean? i asked myself this many times too.. but could find no answer. Unimportant i would say.

at my workplace and i'd think elsewhere too, people want to know where you're from, i guess thats just to satisfy their curiosity... its the only reason for me anyway, and to learn me about their places in case i wanna visit... :wink:

whenever i'm asked where i was from, my malaysian friends would snigger and reply that i'm from singapore, then laugh like i was a joke!! :roll: of course they were only joking with i tell them, i'm not proud nor ashamed to be from singapore, i just happened to be! i didn't and couldn't choose.. whats more important, its who i am...

instead ask yourself what it means to be a person and how we can contribute to the society and to others in need... without looking at skin color, nationality, wealth, status etc etc...

coming from a fellow singaporean, i hope this helps :wink:

too many disruptions in my office while i'm trying to complete my thoughts in writing!! aargh... sh*t sunday! :x :mad:

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Post by ksl » Thu, 31 Jan 2008 3:36 am

what does it mean to be a singaporean? i asked myself this many times too.. but could find no answer. Unimportant i would say
I wouldn't say that, at all! My belief, is that Singaporeans are very lucky indeed, to come so far, in such a short time...and although the gap is wide, between rich & poor, it is already showing the effects of change, with a reduced birth rate, and more career minded people.

It is very difficult for the poor, to make headway, but not impossible, compared to many other Countries. I often think of my own life, and how i managed to avoid, the pitfalls, of peer pressure, crime and the social deprivation of industrial closures in the north west of UK and only one choice to make, if i was going to escape the life of crime, and that was Military service, which was life enrichment, and camaraderie, of which lasts to this day.

Focus and go get what you want, it's there for the taking, but you have to follow the rules, or be bloody good at what you do!

Having a welfare state, is a costly burden, to lose industry too, is a bigger setback.. So when I see my life flash by in 58 years, from my Countries point of view, I look back and think, stuff it, the Country did absolutely, nothing to preserve or even move forward in those years, in the social environment, where i come from.

Yet what I see here, is progress, in the same amount of time, so I do know, where I would prefer to raise my daughter! and I don't mind, contributing, to a Country, that attempts, to improve the quality of life and racial harmony, although I would like to see more equality.

Singaporeans need to be more proud, and less materialistic, sharing much more, of their wealth, with the lower income paid workers, so that they can also improve their skills...

Maybe they have had too much to fast, becuase someone i know, turned a good job down, because he thought the pay wasn't good enough, at 1800$ a month, plus bonus, and he had no education only O level.

I have also seen this in UK, too, where the guy, as no education, but wants 50 pound a day, because that's what he can get, by fiddling the welfare and working black.

Peoples ethics have dwindled in my time, i'm afraid, so I feel a little out of it...but what i see is alot of negativity, greed, and jealousy and crime, sepecially petty crime of robbing employers, to feed their life styles.

Nobody wants a honest days work anymore, in many Countries, and when it gets to that stage, then something is seriously wrong, it will eventually bring a country to it's knees.

Singapore does have alot going for it! If one looks at the opportunities.

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