Thursday, June 03, 2004

*On Singaporean Youths*

Been stewing over this issue for a while. Hope it doesn't turn out into a rant.

Are the youths of our sunny island selfish and soft? Answer: Yes, it's not really their fault and last but not least, so what?

When your ruling party destroys any semblence of ideology and focuses instead, purely on prgamatism and the promotion of results, with a social contract that explicitly exchanges material wealth and prosperity for political power, is it any wonder that rights and principles no longer feature in the lexicon of the average singaporean?

If political apathy is the norm for your average adult (who might anyway not get to vote, even if they wanted to, due to the insane jerrymandering that occurs and the near absolute inability of the opposition to reinvent itself), what more the children of that generation, who have only suckled at the teat of an omnipotent party-government who claim it knows best, treats its people like children and pacify with the trinklets of wealth.

Without any higher ideals to fight and die for, is it any wonder that material wealth is the only form of expression of success? As such, is it any wonder that such single minded persuit of success and achievement (for those old enough, recall the crowing that occured when our gdp per person overtook our former colonial masters) fosters a me-only and an I first culture?

We have no principles, no rights, ideals or culture that we can call uniquely singapore. We only have icons that are physical, nothing existencial. As such, the recreation of singapore (should the event need to be done) is not its people, or its culture, but the HDB flat, the Merlion and the Singapore Girl.

Is there anything called society? As the female ex-prime minster of britain once memorably put it, there is no society, only the individuals it comprices of. And do people acting in their own self interest make things worse. Adam Smith: it is not through the benevolence of the butcher and the baker we can our meat and bread. Perhaps it would stop the pointless sacrifice that we seem to be making to a nebulous entity called social consciousness. If we as individuals don't give a hoot, then so be it.

Flip the coin. Ask what we can do for the country....and what it can in place do for us. What is the point of serving 2 1/2 years in an institution that sees you as an expendable resource and one that cares not for you but your replacement. Whereby despite earning 1/4 of the salary of the other class, we end up doing 4 times their work. A partnership track, without rewards in the end.

And in the end of it all, what does my citizenship mean to me? Cheap housing? Low taxes? Safe environment? Comfortable living?

Sorry Mr Thaman, of course we're selfish and soft.


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