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The Ugly Singaporean

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Postby banana » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 3:58 am

Petales Soufflez! wrote:
cutiebutie wrote:I saw on the news here that rising prices and pressure on low income families is being countered by the media in Singapore with reports on where to still find hawker stall meals for SGD2.50 :roll:

The negative aspect of million-dollar salaries for the people in power may be that they have little idea what life is like for the needy or even the middle class.


I've often made the reflection that one mark of democracy should be the availability of less-than-5-bucks meals in a country. That no matter how poor you are you may still have a chance to eat out. Why not rub shoulders with the richer folks while you're at it because they do eat out in hawker centres or in the streets.

Because here in France, Spain, Germany or Italy, the average salary is not fabulous and the cheapest thing you can buy outside is a 4-euro cold sandwich or a 6-euro pizza and you eat it standing up. OK, a cheeseburger is 1,50 and you can eat in. But the point is that if you don't have a decent income, you don't eat out - at all.

I'm also surprised that people think that Singapore does not get criticised enough. Because for the decade that I've been living in Europe, I can assure you that all the bad things about us have been quite widely publicised so much so that at the beginning I would actually get ready to be on the defensive the minute I introduced myself to others as a Singaporean. You do get bashed and/or patronised and nobody cares about what you have to say about your own country. They somehow know it better than you do.

After all the bad press that we get elsewhere, we could occasionally console ourselves with "it-could-be-worse" scenarios. Some self-esteem has to figure in nation-building.


Did you hear the one about the eternal optimist? He was an adventurer searching for a mythical city near the equator. It was reputed to be filled with treasures.

While trekking through the swamps, he suffered cuts and bites on his legs but he told himself "it could be worse" and made up his mind to wear better gloves - "my arms are more important, I need them to hack the vines".

Eventually, his legs developed gangrene and he died forgotten. Whether he found the lost paradise was not known but everybody knew his corpse had wonderful looking hands.
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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 4:53 am

How about the story about the cynic who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing? :D But it's a good story. His story will serve a lesson to new adventurers. They will know how to protect their hands AND remember to do the same for their feet. Better luck next time.

Anyway, just after I've last posted, I received an email from a fellow Singaporean (married to an Italian) living in Bologna. Said she had enough of being harassed by Italians wanting to know why Singapore is such a barbaric place. Berlusconi in his litter ardour mentioned that he would have loved to be able to control littering like Singapore - but unfortunately he couldn't give 7 strokes of the cane like Singapore could and did for littering.

Friend wondered how the head of an important state could make such irresponsible statements. And why the Italians refused to believe her when she said nobody has and will receive strokes of the cane for littering in Singapore.
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Postby banana » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 5:45 am

:? sorry mate, I haven't read enough of your posts (most of what I've read are filled with nuggets of wisdom. No sarcasm intended.) to know if you are responding for the sake of responding or if you actually got my meaning.

'Better luck next time' while realistic in the "big picture" sense, is a little cavalier. Wouldn't it be better if the adventurer knew to stop every so often to pick the leeches off his legs and treat his wounds?
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 10:42 am

banana wrote:Wouldn't it be better if the adventurer knew to stop every so often to pick the leeches off his legs and treat his wounds?

Interesting analogy. (I would even say 'good' but I'm not sure your ego could take it :P )

Leeches are awful because you don't feel them at all and so aren't even aware that you're losing blood. At least you're aware of bites and bruises and can choose to do something about these soon after they happen. In your original story the adventurer knew he was injured but chose to ignore the wounds. That's stupidity and I don't think our government is stupid. They are addressing issues like cost of living, lack of talent, shrinking population, negative political perceptions etc.

So what do you think are the leeches? The things that we're not even aware of that could undermine our future? I ask this not as a challenge but as a serious question that I myself have no answers for at this point.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 10:52 am

Petales Soufflez! wrote:Friend wondered how the head of an important state could make such irresponsible statements. And why the Italians refused to believe her when she said nobody has and will receive strokes of the cane for littering in Singapore.

There's a reason why the man in the street is not the man running the country. So my answer to such comments would be a simple "Duh". I have long ago stopped trying to cure stupidity.

In case there are any Italians here, this comment is not targeted at Italians but at any person who refuses to exercise his gift of thought to figure things out for himself, but instead adopts completely illogical, fact-denying and close-minded views. Of course, this sometimes includes myself when I stupidly believe in hearsay without checking the facts. ](*,)

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Postby banana » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 11:14 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:
banana wrote:Wouldn't it be better if the adventurer knew to stop every so often to pick the leeches off his legs and treat his wounds?

Interesting analogy. (I would even say 'good' but I'm not sure your ego could take it :P )

Leeches are awful because you don't feel them at all and so aren't even aware that you're losing blood. At least you're aware of bites and bruises and can choose to do something about these soon after they happen. In your original story the adventurer knew he was injured but chose to ignore the wounds. That's stupidity and I don't think our government is stupid. They are addressing issues like cost of living, lack of talent, shrinking population, negative political perceptions etc.

So what do you think are the leeches? The things that we're not even aware of that could undermine our future? I ask this not as a challenge but as a serious question that I myself have no answers for at this point.


Oh go right ahead and say good. My fragile male ego could use a little stroking every now and then. :lol:

Leeches aren't always bad. They serve to 'cleanse' the blood, motivate the intrepid adventurer to move faster and give less room for other leeches to bite. What they are in the context of the story...that's open to interpretation.

More pertinent though, is that 'addressing issues' in this instance is more like acknowledging there are bites and bruises. The adventurer did that as well. However, his train of thought only allowed him to try and move faster (through better clearing of overground obstacles) instead of recuperating. He is overly focused on finding that pot of gold and not realising his body is a whole.

Or you could look at it as putting on thicker pants along with the gloves (GST credit anyone?) but still not treating open wounds that are exposed to swamp water. Don't forget, hands can apply medication on leg wounds but legs can't do the same for cuts on the arms. Yet an infection on either part can result in the whole body failing.
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Postby Saint » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 3:42 pm

Petales Soufflez! wrote:
I'm also surprised that people think that Singapore does not get criticised enough. Because for the decade that I've been living in Europe, I can assure you that all the bad things about us have been quite widely publicised so much so that at the beginning I would actually get ready to be on the defensive the minute I introduced myself to others as a Singaporean. You do get bashed and/or patronised and nobody cares about what you have to say about your own country. They somehow know it better than you do.

After all the bad press that we get elsewhere, we could occasionally console ourselves with "it-could-be-worse" scenarios. Some self-esteem has to figure in nation-building.


Now this does surprise and shock me as Mrs S (Singaporean) has never come across this in over four years of living in the UK. Whether she's just been lucky or more than likely it's because it doesn't bother them over here. To be honest most people we speak to, either friends or people we meet, are more fascinated by Singapore.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 4:31 pm

banana wrote:Oh go right ahead and say good. My fragile male ego could use a little stroking every now and then. :lol:

Leeches aren't always bad. They serve to 'cleanse' the blood, motivate the intrepid adventurer to move faster and give less room for other leeches to bite. What they are in the context of the story...that's open to interpretation.

More pertinent though, is that 'addressing issues' in this instance is more like acknowledging there are bites and bruises. The adventurer did that as well. However, his train of thought only allowed him to try and move faster (through better clearing of overground obstacles) instead of recuperating. He is overly focused on finding that pot of gold and not realising his body is a whole.

Or you could look at it as putting on thicker pants along with the gloves (GST credit anyone?) but still not treating open wounds that are exposed to swamp water. Don't forget, hands can apply medication on leg wounds but legs can't do the same for cuts on the arms. Yet an infection on either part can result in the whole body failing.

Sigh. See, I knew it. A morsel of praise and he gorges on it, forgets the subject on hand and raves on about some imaginary adventurer. Oi, wake up!

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Postby Currymeister » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 5:46 pm

Now that's what I call a Singapore Sling! :cool:

Not sure there's much alcohol in it though.... :roll:

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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 5:55 pm

banana wrote::? sorry mate, I haven't read enough of your posts (most of what I've read are filled with nuggets of wisdom. No sarcasm intended.) to know if you are responding for the sake of responding or if you actually got my meaning.

'Better luck next time' while realistic in the "big picture" sense, is a little cavalier. Wouldn't it be better if the adventurer knew to stop every so often to pick the leeches off his legs and treat his wounds?


It is only with further probing that one could attempt to better catch analogies yours or anybody else's for that matter. That or asking you outright what the hell you were talking about mate. But I'm too polite to do that :lol:

And I'm sure you were not talking about Singapore. We don't have no swamp except at Ubin nowadays, if I remember correctly and we're already paradise found :P

But seriously in Singapore changes are made so very often when policies have been perceived as not working or when there is realisation that times have changed. From what I could see, it's not the adventurer who is impatient and sightless of hazards along his way, but that the audience watching the Big Brother show is a little too impatient.

Meanwhile is that how the way I write being perceived? Nuggets of wisdom. Haha. Well, I've been a scholar twice over. Old habits die hard even though now I'm just a poor ole commoner once again. I would have done it with singlish nuggets of wisdom à la my mother if I thought I would be understood.
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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 6:08 pm

Saint wrote:
Petales Soufflez! wrote:
I'm also surprised that people think that Singapore does not get criticised enough. Because for the decade that I've been living in Europe, I can assure you that all the bad things about us have been quite widely publicised so much so that at the beginning I would actually get ready to be on the defensive the minute I introduced myself to others as a Singaporean. You do get bashed and/or patronised and nobody cares about what you have to say about your own country. They somehow know it better than you do.

After all the bad press that we get elsewhere, we could occasionally console ourselves with "it-could-be-worse" scenarios. Some self-esteem has to figure in nation-building.


Now this does surprise and shock me as Mrs S (Singaporean) has never come across this in over four years of living in the UK. Whether she's just been lucky or more than likely it's because it doesn't bother them over here. To be honest most people we speak to, either friends or people we meet, are more fascinated by Singapore.


Mrs S' very lucky indeed. Maybe because Singapore is better known in the UK or because the English true to their reputation work at being polite first of all. Because in Continental Europe one is often not as fortunate. At least for me. It could be because I went to Political institutions, or because the people I know all imagined they had to show off they know something about the world by criticising Singapore. The other day, in just the local dingy little library, I found a magazine lying around with a full-blown (negative) article about Singapore. Remember my friend in Bologna who just with one sentence about Singapore published in La Repubblica on 26 July is being bombarded with questions like why is Singapore so barbaric? With people ignoring her responses to boot. Singaporeans have been chased out of Australian forums when the Australian Viet drug smuggler was to be hung. Do people know how to distinguish between the Singapore Government and Singaporeans? Not always.
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Postby banana » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 6:57 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:Sigh. See, I knew it. A morsel of praise and he gorges on it, forgets the subject on hand and raves on about some imaginary adventurer. Oi, wake up!


Sigh. See, I knew it. A woman's need to have the last word regardless. Give you lah. :P

Petales Soufflez! wrote:It is only with further probing that one could attempt to better catch analogies yours or anybody else's for that matter. That or asking you outright what the hell you were talking about mate. But I'm too polite to do that :lol:

And I'm sure you were not talking about Singapore. We don't have no swamp except at Ubin nowadays, if I remember correctly and we're already paradise found :P

But seriously in Singapore changes are made so very often when policies have been perceived as not working or when there is realisation that times have changed. From what I could see, it's not the adventurer who is impatient and sightless of hazards along his way, but that the audience watching the Big Brother show is a little too impatient.

Meanwhile is that how the way I write being perceived? Nuggets of wisdom. Haha. Well, I've been a scholar twice over. Old habits die hard even though now I'm just a poor ole commoner once again. I would have done it with singlish nuggets of wisdom à la my mother if I thought I would be understood.


That's pretty rich coming from a guy already out of the island. If we're really paradise found, why do so many, including the sprogs of our beloved emperor's courtiers, seek to leave? Why do we rate so low on the Happiness Index? Cue a handy excuse or something about how legs not understanding the many functions of the arms. Looks like we have a long way to go still.
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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 8:12 pm

But the guy will be back. I'm looking to buy my retirement home in Singapore. The grass being greener on the other side, I wanted to leave Singapore when I was in my teens and now a few buckets of rice water later all I can think of is going back home to my assam sting ray. :D

And catching all those TV serials every evening (and still be able to catch it all on DVD if I should be impatient enough) and going off for supper when I've had enough of the TV.

If you really want to be happy, be poor. And be poor where everyone else around you is poor. Have a great time playing with pebbles in the rubbish dump instead of polluting the earth with hours on the Net. Otherwise, be rich enough so that you may travel and see those happy faces and be happy for them that they still know how to be happy.

But really, happiness is what you make it out to be. I'm very happy (OK but I don't have an iphone :P ) but if you ask me I'd say I'm not just in case the gods become jealous and snatch it from my heart.

Singapore is caught in a vicious cycle for its survival. We have loads of people and we need loads more to continue supporting the population. And it's a good thing some have thought to leave, to find other sources of wealth and ease the pressure on the island. I support my parents back home, I always come home. I just don't live there any more for now.
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.

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Postby cutiebutie » Thu, 31 Jul 2008 10:23 am

sierra2469alpha wrote:
cutiebutie wrote:Most clerical staff in any embassy/consulate/High Comm are locals anywhere.
MY HIGHLIGHTING

We're not ones to argue here, as most of you know, but we're both getting a little annoyed with your all-and-sundry responses, Cutie.

You obviously don't go into any EMB/CONS/HC's anywhere apart from Malaysia. Last time I checked, most EMB/CONS/HC's employ home-nation staff where they can, then host-nation staff. Mainly, due to security issues and domestic home-nation requirements.

Oh, when did I check? Oh, 7 countries in-region over the last 8 weeks.
I'm sure that would be considered as empirical evidence. Why not ask a diplomat or someone who works in an embassy or consulate instead of railing here?

You are a valuable contributor, Cutie, just - you know, talk about what you KNOW and stop the speculation/editorials. It doesn't help anyone - it just confuses all our newcomers.

MANAGERS: Sorry to post in the forum - [b]we just felt this needed to be said. Delete the post if you feel it's not appropriate.[/b]



We? You by all your little lonesome or do you use the royal we? Quite truthfully, I am not sure what an all and sundry response is - if you would care to explain that to me, please

You obviously don't go into any EMB/CONS/HC's anywhere apart from Malaysia.

Oh dear, how do I say this? My father is a diplomat - sorry, and I spent most of my life in 'EMB/CONS/HC(no apostrophe)s.
Just look at how ridiculous your answer is, particularly vis-a-vis security. Do you think cleaners are sent on postings? No, that would be silly. Umm,
how about filing clerks? Nah, that would be downright stupid
Please also note that I said 'most', and that is exactly what it means. Most.

Please explain what a 'domestic home-nation' requirement is, I have no idea. Domestic and home-nation - hmm, I will have to rely on your answer for that. What requirements do they have vis-a-vis clerical staff in foreign countries.

Budget cutbacks in almost all countries - except for beefing up perimeter security has meant that almost everything is outsourced - if you really feel the need to take this further, please do ask around.
7 countries in 8 weeks? What does that mean? Because you were in 7 countries means that you know the inner workings of foreign missions? :roll:

Maybe my nick confuses you? Possibly I should call myself Uglyintellectual, and you would take me more seriously? Perhaps you are more prone to believe what 'serious' nic contributors have to say? That would be deeeeeeeep!
:D

Oh try and call almost any mission in Singapore and listen to the telephonist (unless recorded, of course) or front-line staff. The accent might give you as hint.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 31 Jul 2008 11:17 am

cutiebutie,

It would seem you should do some occasional research into your verbal sparring partners. Had you done so, you wouldn't look quite so "egg-on-faceish" regarding your latest tirade on the "royal we".

sierra2469alpha, had you bothered to read a lot of their posts, is a couple who alternatively posts sometime with "P", sometimes with "C" and often with both "P & C" which is not necessarily to be confused with PC but as they are a team, they are entirely within their right to use "WE".

This one's for you:

Image

:P


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