I’m Singaporean by Citizenship

There’s actually a lot of truth in what she says. Of course, like most of the issues we debate on, there are two sides.

Many argue that other places in the world have it worst than us. You have to factor in cultural differences etc.

But let’s not forget that there are different people in the world as well. Some people want more from what they already have. Some people are contented, which I feel is the greatest blessing ever because if you’re anything like me and constantly have things on your list of wants that money can’t buy, you find that the being contented is well… magic. Contentment is folklore to me.

Oh, and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be that much of an idiot to perpetually land myself in some third world country, okay. Sure, I managed to get myself in engineering but by God, I’m not that stupid, give me some credit. I’M SINGAPOREAN WHAT. OI. So if you’re going to say something like ‘You should think about all the starving children in Africa.’, save it for some kid who doesn’t want to eat his vegetables because the last time I checked, I LOVE FOOD. Pig’s blood? Sure but oops banned in Singapore.

I kid, we don’t need racial riots in such a small island. Social studies, bitches.

Singapore is suffocating to me. That’s how I see it too. How many times I’ve tried answering open ended questions with paragraphs describing how I feel and what I think but get marked down or am never given the full marks because it ‘doesn’t contain keywords’. My form of art expressed in words is often suppressed. I don’t care if I suck, at least give me a chance to, right?

They say:

  • Don’t write about suicide.
  • Don’t write about pain.
  • Don’t write about blood, death and melancholy.

Write about happy things, Cherie. Use this formatted structure in your essays. Don’t write argumentative essays!

And then turn around and say:

Oh whoops, the work you turned in using the format is not good enough. Here’s a B-.

I can’t fuuuuuuuuucking win and God knows I’ve tried my hardest.

Oh and I LOVE being Singaporean, of course I do. I bask in it. People automatically think I’m a genius in math and science or straight up think I have an IQ of 160 or something.

You’re Singaporean? Wow very science. Much math. Such smarts. Very IQ. Wow. Biznus. Many education.

There is nothing quite like pretending you are something you’re not when really, I feel fracking stupid in my own country.

I would stay in Singapore if it gave me something I wanted. I’m serious. After all, my family is here. Everyone I love or hasn’t already migrated is here. Do you think it’s so easy for me to just drop everything and say ‘Fuck it, I’m leaving.’? Surely Cherie has a politically correct answer for it.

I do and it is so painfully simple.

Singapore can’t give me what I want.

So I’ll do what any normal mammal will do. Go somewhere else. What do birds do when the climate doesn’t suit them? They migrate to find what suits them; someplace livable. They don’t stay in one spot and wait for winter to fuck them over.

If PAP or Worker’s Party could give me a hair of what I want, I would gladly ‘ride with the lightning’ or whatever, if you know what I mean.

But the fact still remains that the Singapore government cannot give me what I want. I’m sure they would if they could but that would probably mean losing the support of everyone else. So what happens? I become the minority. I become the 1% or whatever category I may fall under. It’s only logical, I don’t blame them at all because put in their shoes, I would have done the same thing.

So let’s be open minded about this and just accept that yes, it is TRUE that not all people are happy in Singapore and our education system is so screwy that they produce buttons saying ‘I survived a Singapore education.’ Our car and housing prices are ridiculous as well, I dare you to say otherwise.

People aren’t happy in Singapore because we pay so much for an education to qualify for a desk job that pays about the same as minimum wage from other countries.

Do you think I’m happy? When I’m here and my friend is in Australia working as a manager in Mac-fucking-donalds for $23/hr? While I work my butt off in a cafe and am paid $6.50/hr. Do you think I’m fucking happy with that? There’s a reason why overseas students come here solely for our education system then get the fuck out, you know.

I ought to be looking down and laughing at her for working at Maccas for Pete’s sake, because over here in Singapore working at Maccas is something we joke about and leave to the aunties who have nothing to do with their time, most of the time. Instead, she has to sympathize with me.

‘There, there, Cherie. The transport costs and food prices are higher here.’

Yeah, that’s true. But if you truly did the math, the standard of living is much lower in comparison. I calculated because stereotypically and generally speaking, I’m supposed to be good at it.

You see, it’s not just me. We’re bitter, envious and angry. Sorry I had to compare, this is what being in the Singaporean rat race does to you.

Growing up in Singapore has taken it’s toll on me. I am twenty this year, am barely out of school yet I am already worrying over my future job and if I’ll ever be able to afford a decent house. Don’t even bother me about getting married because I can’t even forsee myself having a boyfriend over my panicked haze of trying to keep my family and self financially afloat in Singapore. No wonder we are an aging population, and I wonder how I still have a healthy head of black hair. Must be the good genes. Thanks dad, I knew you got my back.

And as readers of my blog, I guess you guys might as well know that one of the main reasons why I’m depressed is because of my future. Bleak and torturous. I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive here. If I have to pop pills just to zombify (if that’s even a word) myself -just so that the prospect of simply existing when I know that I am worth so much more doesn’t make me breakdown in tears- then I’d rather be dead. Singapore doesn’t need another low achiever.

So yes, if she’s going to be one of the lucky ones who manage to get out of Singapore, kudos to her. I’m sure she’s prepared for the good and bad. For the racism, danger and culture differences of the ‘outside world’. I am very happy for her because she has hope and she is still strong in will while I am already cynical and have pretty much accepted my fate in Singapore. I wish her all the best.

I am not a happy Singaporean. My family and friends know that. It’s hard to live in an environment when everything your parents talk and fight over is about money, when everything revolves about the dollar sign and you are compared in every way. How you look, what job you hold and which school you go to. Cherie why can’t you be skinnier than that tree? Why aren’t you working yet? When are you graduating? Why aren’t you doing well?

And the best one yet,

‘Do you know how much money I spend on you to give you all this?’

Gee, sorry I’m such a failed investment.

There is so little things to gossip and talk about that small things like boyfriends can be the talk of the Chinese New Year table. I mean, why should you give a fuck about who I dated, am dating or am not dating? Why can’t we talk about poetry or something other than ‘My daughter/son is better than yours in (insert comparison here)’?

Singapore doesn’t even sell Yaoi monthlies. Censorship laws? It’s already a blurred dick. What else do you want? You need to give a girl something to get by.

I am not proud to be Singaporean. That is true. But I never said I was ashamed of being one. I can be at a wedding but I may not be happy for the bride and groom. It is simple as that. I’m just not happy, I’m just not proud. The word ‘just’, the word people who do not understand love to overuse. But that’s besides the point.

There are responding videos that we, as the future generation should be grateful for our easy life. Food and clean water as and when we like.

So here with all sincerity, thank you, and I really mean it. People are probably going to nit pick and take this the wrong way, but I trust that everyone else has better things to do. Thank you for building the nation for me. For crying over the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. For clean water and lots of rice stored in secret warehouses if countries were to sever ties with us. Thank you for making me so wonderfully smart and educated so that I have better prospects beyond the boarder. Thank you for housing me.

But there is nothing I can offer you, Singapore. I do not have the interest in what will push you further. My art does not pave the way to a brighter you.

But I thank you for bringing me up anyway, that I was not switched at birth and that I didn’t get a fatal infection when my umbilical cord was cut. It is not that I have no use for you, it is that you have no use for me.

Where is my place?

A place where I may freely write and be paid enough to afford my own simple luxuries like a nice steak or an occasional glass of bubbly. Ah champagne, what can I celebrate of?

Can I write to feed my family? My father and mother who broke their backs and their mental state to build you? I am not as bad as you speak me be. I am filial and all I want to do is to give back to who had built me up. My family.

Singapore, it is not you who built me up to who I am but my parents who cried over and suffered for me.

I will leave you and when I come back I do not come back to you but to my family.

My family, who did not hand me a B- and tell me to ‘pull up my socks’ but hugged me and told me I tried my best. My family who stood by me when I was depressed over what you had thrown my way. When I was just a number contributing to a pie chart, they stood by me. When there was stigma over being depressed they defended me, from you.

I am grateful, not to you but to my parents, my sisters; my family.

You are land, Singapore, you are a body of people who do not know me. You are faceless, you are cold. You, who are discouraging and sometimes plain mean to me.

You have no need for me. You are not grateful for me. Somehow I am supposed to love you and be proud of you because you sheltered me. Because I was born on your territory, am I now your property?

My forefathers built you, not I. You are a joint effort. I am appreciative of my forefathers but their achievements are not mine to flaunt. It is not my honor. It is not something I can put into my resume.

I am not proud to be Singaporean because I do not know what being Singaporean is like. We are all just human beings on a piece of land that somehow ranks better amongst of a bunch of other lands. Is being Singaporean like being in a tribe? But a tribe is family and you are not.

I am sorry, Singapore, that I have disappointed you, you as a third parent to me (like I were to be a Valkyrie born of the Gods of a dying, warring woman to Valhalla), by not turning out to be of use to you. I will love you because you, like my family, were there when I took my first breath. But that is all I can offer you.

X

As always, anyone is welcome to challenge my point. Please do, anything to convince me otherwise. I’m going to be stuck in Singapore for a while anyway.

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