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Things I don't like about Singapore

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nakatago
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Postby nakatago » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 10:59 am

donova.n wrote:i dont expect them to speak like me, just speak clearly!


This.


PS

Methinks Jason is a welcome addition to our highly-dysfunctional family. Right, grampappy SMS? :P

Where's WIMH? I like her new avatar. :D

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:30 am

Should fit right in I'd say.

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Postby nakatago » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:37 am

I like this pic better.

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Wind In My Hair
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:42 am

nakatago wrote:Where's WIMH? I like her new avatar. :D

Hello Nak, you called?

Gosh I've joined this thread late. There are many things I don't like about Singapore. Top of my list is the need to always be number one. We have a far too limited definition of success in life. From this mindset comes the cursed kiasu-ness, queue jumping and other national embarrassments.

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Postby nakatago » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:51 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:Hello Nak, you called?

ImageHEEEEERE'S JOHNNY!!!

Wind In My Hair wrote:Gosh I've joined this thread late. There are many things I don't like about Singapore. Top of my list is the need to always be number one. We have a far too limited definition of success in life. From this mindset comes the cursed kiasu-ness, queue jumping and other national embarrassments.


Yeah, where did that come from? My country's history reveals the sources of all our f***ups but there seems to be a part of Singapore's history that I may not be aware of...unless of course it was borne out of the last 40+ years...

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 12:41 pm

nakatago wrote:Yeah, where did that come from? My country's history reveals the sources of all our f***ups but there seems to be a part of Singapore's history that I may not be aware of...unless of course it was borne out of the last 40+ years...

I think it comes from two sources.

1. The older generation that lived through the Japanese occupation (1942-45) still remembers the days of want where every day was a fight to survive. If you weren't first to the rations your family suffered, so your own safety and survival always came first. I suspect this explains many of the aunties who push through queues at the MRT for example. My own dear mother, much as I love her, tends to push through queues way ahead of me while I lag behind and smile apologetically at those she elbows aside.

2. The economic philosophy of the government since independence (1965) has been that we have no natural resources and to stay relevant in the world economy, we always had to be better and faster. We like to be top of the competitive ranking charts, to win international spelling and math competitions, to have the world's best this and that and the other. This unthinking need to be better and faster results in cutting the queue for taxis, for example. If I can get home 5 minutes earlier because I cheated you of your taxi, then I "win" because I was faster.

My take anyway. The younger generations are changing though, and in 10-20 more years I predict, or hope anyway, that a lot of the kiasu-ness will be weeded out.

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Postby donova.n » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 4:16 pm

10-20 years, you are too kind. i see this kiasu thing is going to stay for a really long time, you dont just eradicate a 'culture' in one generation. especially if its one that defines them.

but yes i appreciate the very warm welcome. i may be new here on this forum but i aint new to this country. i've seen enough in my couple of years here :?

the list could go on but nah.. i'll be nice.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 5:17 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
nakatago wrote:Yeah, where did that come from? My country's history reveals the sources of all our f***ups but there seems to be a part of Singapore's history that I may not be aware of...unless of course it was borne out of the last 40+ years...

I think it comes from two sources.

1. The older generation that lived through the Japanese occupation (1942-45) still remembers the days of want where every day was a fight to survive. If you weren't first to the rations your family suffered, so your own safety and survival always came first. I suspect this explains many of the aunties who push through queues at the MRT for example. My own dear mother, much as I love her, tends to push through queues way ahead of me while I lag behind and smile apologetically at those she elbows aside.

Morning WIMH, I like the new avatar :)

re: this point though. But in countries where it is still a daily fight to survive I have not witnessed this almost malicious drive to 'win' ahead of all others. My mother grew up during the nazi occupation of a country in Europe (intentionally vague), but it does not seem to have had any lasting impact on how she treats others. Though that said, when she gets the uniform and jackboots on she can come over as a bit of a tyrant. I jest :-) Anyway, I remain unconvinced that kiasu-ness is down to hardship under the Japanese 65+ years ago.


2. The economic philosophy of the government since independence (1965) has been that we have no natural resources and to stay relevant in the world economy, we always had to be better and faster. We like to be top of the competitive ranking charts, to win international spelling and math competitions, to have the world's best this and that and the other. This unthinking need to be better and faster results in cutting the queue for taxis, for example. If I can get home 5 minutes earlier because I cheated you of your taxi, then I "win" because I was faster.

But, shouldn't the 'unthinking need to better' mobilise society as a whole? Whereas what we seem to be witnessing is an ongoing 'grab everything you can' culture?
There are many other countries with a zeitgeist of betterment and furtherment. Or take New York as an example of a city that is absolutely buzzing with tangible dynamism and competitiveness (to 'make it'), and yet, as I found living there, the people are in general far more courteous than in Singapore. This also came out in the revealing global 'courtesy survey' from Readers Digest recently posted to this forum by one of the regulars.



My take anyway. The younger generations are changing though, and in 10-20 more years I predict, or hope anyway, that a lot of the kiasu-ness will be weeded out.



My own take is two-fold:
First, such materialism and grabbyness is an aspect of new wealth. Must grab now, as it wasn’t there yesterday, (and therefore the instinct is that it might not be there tomorrow). The need to show off wealth and material success is what in England we would call very ‘new money’. There is also an expression too, ‘Old money does not need to shout’. I.e. if you have made it, and are established as wealthy, you have no desire or need to demonstrate the fact to others. So I think a lot of kiasuness comes from the not so distant peasant-roots of a large amount of the population.
Two, something often repeated that is attributed to Margaret Thatcher and the materialistic yuppie late 80’s is the quote ‘There is no such thing as society’. She did not actually say that, but those who use this misquote are suggesting that that era was defined by a policy of burning individualism, a community of individuals all driven by personal opportunity, with the intention of it resulting in common good. Then you consider Singapore’s identity as a country, and I sense that it is not very deep (as evidenced by the overly exaggerated requirements to ‘respect the flag’, sing the anthem each morning, National Day Parade, not disrespect politicians etc etc). It lacks self-confidence, and I think people sense that.

Anyway... sorry for the long ramble, I’ll stop now. One for a night over the beers sometime...

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 6:00 pm

JR8,

I don't disagree with you. I'm sure even sociologists would be hard-pressed to agree on the causes of an entire society's predominant behavioural patterns. New wealth however does not explain why the upper middle class, more highly educated, and therefore richer segment of the population generally exhibits better manners. And while there is a certain amount of individualism that drives kiasu-ness, by this logic more individualistic western countries should have more of this trait.

I would love to go into more detail but it's all speculation anyway and for every point we can find a counter-point. Plus I'm being kept busy on the rising anti-foreigner sentiment thread trying to figure out what's happening with property prices here. Hop on over - you'll enjoy the "let's bash greedy Singaporeans" party happening there :)

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 10 Dec 2010 6:28 pm

Hi WIMH,

Hmmm yes. And I could comment and go on. But with my two finger typing I'll be reaching for my pension book by the time I finish :wink:

... I'll try and find the other thread...

TTFN

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Postby poodlek » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 1:44 am

I have a new one to add to the list!

People here seem to be so self absorbed so as to ignore/not notice someone in need of a little kindness and/or help.

Case in point: A couple weeks ago I was walking home from the mall with some shopping bags in a light rain. I slipped on a smooth section of sidewalk and had a rather dramatic fall. It probably wouldn't have been a big deal, but at 8 months pregnant my coordination is rather off and things just tend to *hurt* a lot more. I tore my pants, bloodied my knee and was floundering around trying to get up using only one leg which made me feel like a turtle on its back. Not to mention all my packages strewn about. This was all witnessed by more than a dozen other folks who were within position to offer me a hand, and not a single person even asked if I was ok, never mind offered me a hand up as I was clearly having trouble. I was so disappointed in humanity I wanted nothing more than to hop on a plane and fly back home. Pooh on Singaporeans, I'm sure this wouldn't have happened in Canada.


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