Saturday, August 08, 2009

Happy National Day!

30 years ago when I was a little boy, I heard my parents quarrelling in their bedroom. My dad had applied for and received a job offer in Australia and he wanted to moved the whole family there. Singapore was then a relatively poor developing country. My family lived in a kampong and we did not even have toilets with a flush. We were so poor entertainment was at a neighbors home because there were only 2 black and white TVs in the whole kampung. Saturday was a day we looked forward to because that was when Tarzan (starring Johnny Weissmuller) was on TV. My dad wanted to move the family to Australia because Singapore's economic future was uncertain. We were a young nation that had existed for just over one decade and our fate was unknown. While the economic reasons to leave were compelling, my mom had stronger reasons for wanting to stay. Since my grandparents came to Singapore 2 generations ago, ties we formed in Singapore - among relatives and friends - were far more important than the economic gains to had if we leave. While we faced an uncertain future, we were not facing it alone in Singapore and we have people here who would never let us down and that was the reason we stayed and chose to remain as Singaporeans. Other countries can offer you better weather, better pay, better opportunities and bigger homes but they will never be able to offer you people who will care deeply about you. We were poor but we never had to feel poor because the relationships we had with other Singaporeans enriched our lives.

."We the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one UNITED PEOPLE...."
- Singapore Pledge.

.
The bonds we formed with our fellow Singaporeans is the thread that is weaved to form the fabric of our society. It is this fabric that unites us as a nation and make us one people. It is people caring for each other and not just for themselves. It is how much the well being of your fellow Singaporeans matters to you. In the Singapore Pledge, the first thing we pledge ourselves to be is one united people because without this unity nothing else will matter. Today we celebrate 44 years of nationhood. Are we more united as a people than we were 20 years ago?

The other day our esteemed SM Goh spoke of 10 challenges facing Singapore. Most the challenges he mentioned was about the economic well being of Singaporeans. While these are important, he forgot one challenge for us as a nation - how to remain united and keep increasing the unity among the people? Today this unity is strained by many gaps in our society - the income gap, gap between the leaders and ordinary Singaporeans and the gap due to immigration where large number of citizenships are given quickly to people without a common shared experience. We cannot forsake unity for fast economic growth and we cannot make a large segment of our society shoulder the burden resulting from the aspirations of the few. That is not the way to unite a nation - it is not they way to stay together as we move ahead. Every year more and more people are left behind and they are left further behind as we continue with the same policies as the past 2 decades. Going forward, we cannot expect a different outcome doing the same things the same way.
.
"....pledge ourselves as one united people,regardless of race, language or religion,to build a democratic society,based on justice and equality...." - Singapore Pledge

The purpose of being one united people is "to build a democratic society based on justice and equility". On this unity rest the purpose of our nationhood. We, as a people who were formerly controlled by colonial masters, want a democratic society so that our voices will be heard and we can become the masters of our own fate. Our collective interest addressed based on priciples of justice and equality. We are not a corporation in which the people who have the most money have the greatest control - everyone's interest matters because among our forefathers were coolies and the poor who labored hard to build this nation.

Today is our 44th National Day. We are still a evolving young nation and we can still choose how we want to go forward as a nation - whether we uphold the ideals in our pledge or we forget those ideals for short term gains. We can stick together and succeed or let the self interest of a small segment of our society widen the gap in our society and tear our nation apart.

When we recite the pledge at 8:22pm today, we should recite it with sincerity and an understanding its truth meaning.

Happy National Day!

44 comments:

yamizi said...

Happy National Day Lucky =)

Anonymous said...

HAPPY NATIONAL DAY TO ALL SINGAPOREANS!!

Lucky 1980 reminds me of this song sung by a foreign group which I think you will enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=685nFB1QVCg

Anonymous said...

How can one be happy especially if you are jobless for so many months and there's endless thinking of how to make ends meet ?

Thinking of suicide on National Day ? So sad ...

Anonymous said...

$$$Other countries can offer you better weather, better pay, better opportunities and bigger homes but they will never be able to offer you people who will care deeply about you. We were poor but we never had to feel poor because the relationships we had with other Singaporeans enriched our lives.$$$

care deeply about you? a bit overload on the candy intake perhaps? are you sure you are talking about singapore?

the only deep things around here that matters are deep pockets and who you can make use of to rise to the top or be happy.

$$$The bonds we formed with our fellow Singaporeans is the thread that is weaved to form the fabric of our society. It is this fabric that unites us as a nation and make us one people. It is people caring for each other and not just for themselves. It is how much the well being of your fellow Singaporeans matters to you. In the Singapore Pledge, the first thing we pledge ourselves to be is one united people because without this unity nothing else will matter.$$$

it's good to hear you have found a "bond" with the people( attested from your isolated experiences perhaps?) and you also get along well with family members and friends.

truth is, nobody really knows the truth about the number of family breakdowns and people dying alone.

i have witnessed enough breakdowns of friendship and families over the years of progress not to partake in the exuberance of nationalism.

only yesterday, an idiotic inconsiderate man propped her young daughter on the chair of a busy food court in a popular heartland shopping mall. his wife, standing closely next to him, was blaring away with someone on her cellphone right in front of seated patrons.

the idiotic man, with his spoilt brat and her dirty shoes stepping all over the chair, assumed no one occupied an empty seat infront of a man. the man, losing his patience and annoyed with him and his wife blatant display of DEEP rooted inconsideration and selfishness( surfaced from his DEEP love for his daughter perhaps) told the idiotic man off.

and the idiotic and shameless man still has the audacity to retort(actually asking for a fight or be bashed up) and sneered," where is it written on the seat that it was taken?"

apparently, the man has no basic courtesy and proper social etiquette. he should have asked the man who was seated first whether the seat next to him was taken. instead, he expected to man to tell him AFTER his daughter freely stepped all over the chair and his loud mouth wife blaring on the cellphone in oblivion and disturbing those having their meals.

sure enough, an argument ensued.

guess what? the loud mouth wife joined in and attacked the man who was seated.

and her idiotic husband kept insisting...where is it written on the seat that it was taken?

it ended when they realized the man could create a nasty scene and they quickly walked away.

happy national day singapore.

Anonymous said...

There will always be gaps here and there. There may even be no unity. But Singapore will still be there. PAP will still be the gahmen. And things will still be peaceful.

This has been the same for the past 44 years, no reason why not for the next 20 to 40 years, statistically speaking.

Many more "Happy" National Days, thanks to PAP, even if local born Singaporeans become the minority in their own land.

Anonymous said...

To lucky thank for maintaining such a wonderful and thoughtful blog, I read it every day but seldom comments.
Today is Singapore Birthday 44 years old and I am 43, Singapore is still trying to grow up and I have already married with 3 kids. Half life had gone and I hope to stay in this “sunny island set in the sea” for another 43 years. When I am young, I have to sell drinks at the National Stadium, doing odd jobs in construction sites, working in Shipyard to sustained myself and the family, life is hard, the family is poor but we are happy! HDB was sold at 14K for 3 rooms flat and 5 room cost only 30K! Dr Goh sold cheaply to us at cost plus, so that we have a room over our head. My Father paid the house in 5 years and yes we are proud owner.
Once our self esteemed Mr Goh take over, he let Mr HDB open up HDB and we have the biggest housing bubble from 1990 to 1997. CPF was/is still misuse and the 50% population don’t have decent minimum sum for retirement.
What progress had we make, we are certainly not happy, debt is more than prosperity.
The pledge states that so as to achieve “Happiness, Prosperity and Progress for our nation” certainly for a small section of people but not the bottom half of the nation.
Mr Goh have failed by using CPF to support the overprice HDB from 1990 to 1997 and using foreign talents and imported labour to add to the growth of Singapore’s GDP. “Andy Xie Caijing Guest Economist – Singapore GDP had stagnant by per capital income $25000 from 2000 to 2007 as the increase in GDP was done by more human and capital and productivity is negative as recorded in the newspaper. Ha Ha- Mr NTUC said we need 10 persons to do 12 persons job!
Our dragon’s son take over and come up with IR, casino and A-star research of 1000 Gurmpy Fish –Philip Yeo’s babies -hope the unnatural fishes are successful to come up with some drugs to cure something may be H1N1—ha ha. How to fight with ”long Kang fish” from China and Tawian.
All and all, I am educating my children to be able to see the truth and know the bottom half of the poor Singaporean struggling everyday in the life to make a decent living. They have a better life than me and that is not good enough. I hope they can improve/change the inequality of current state.
Happy Birthday all Singaporean include the new Si
ngaporean, PR please you are welcome but don’t just milk the island and run away when the island is in trouble.
Willy

Anonymous said...

My relatives moved to Australia more than three decades ago. You go to a new place, stayed there long enough, integrate with the people there, and people will care for each other, regardless race language religion. Of course that is provided you are moving to a more advanced nation, not Somalia or some place worse off than your current abode.

Anonymous said...

generally, if you belong to the upper stratas of society( top 20%) life can be really sweet to a certain extent.

what that means is, you have the means or resources to be attas or hou lian or ya ya lah.

so hor...if you are right at the top sucking up best pay and surrounded by "nice" ppl all the time...how can life not be sweet like sugar cane which explains....once a year he stands on a national plateform uttering how we have arrived from squatters to condos with private garage on your floor.

but you want to really know the kind of people we have become in such a progressive society hor.....just go on the road lah. watch drivers, driving BMW and MERCEDES somemore, dont give way to one another though you signal.

take the mrt and watch all these chow bein or unsmiling and grouchy looking faces going to work or just getting around lah.

how many hor can say...when you walk into the lift, you get smile from neighbors? few until hor...if you do that, sure get published in papers big big news lah.

aiyoh...the signapore breed is a selfish and self centered breed. they are obsessed with grades and personal success and achievement and yes... PERSONAL, me, my, mine and i i i...that they dont give a hoot to ppl unless their stories of good deeds get national recognition or reported like kena strike toto lah

like lucky lor...all he cares about is his family and he gets family support and love...he is happy lor.

so in a nutshell, what bond with ppl lah. family me and i period and the rests...can go to hell if you dont like lah

like the story above...suka suka offend ppl because daughter or family comes first mah

we will never achieve a selfless and a caring society lah.

fat hope lah only the rich like our wealthy ministers can say what...bonding and better life means clean and non smelly wet market and all that stuffs

aiyoh...so blloody superficial one.

Fievel said...

Anon at 10:39,

Please don't commit suicide. It's not the solution and you will only cause your family eternal grief.

If life is truly that tough, go and voice it out to the public in every way you can to show the govt what they are not doing.

Fievel

Anonymous said...

Has it occur to anyone here that perhaps our forefathers have not emigrated far enough i.e. they have not completed their emigration journey and perhaps Singapore is ,but, a middle temporary resting stop, no different from the Sungei Buloh that migratory birds visit for a few days/weeks to rest before continuing the rest of their journey from China to Australia?

After all, why would they go from a big country to a small country? Eg. the current PRCs who are in Singapore - most of them regard Sg as a temporary stop too. They want to go from China - a superpower - to USA - another superpower. That's what our ancestor would have done, if they could have spoken English.

Anonymous said...

We, the ex-citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves....

sgcynic said...

"Other countries can offer you better weather, better pay, better opportunities and bigger homes but they will never be able to offer you people who will care deeply about you."

Indeed, that may have been true in the past. When I look at our "leaders" now, it is with increasing anger and disdain. No wonder more are leaving for other shores.

Anonymous said...

"After all, why would they go from a big country to a small country? Eg. the current PRCs who are in Singapore - most of them regard Sg as a temporary stop too. They want to go from China - a superpower - to USA - another superpower. That's what our ancestor would have done, if they could have spoken English."

that's an interesting and i might even say...logical.

someone said, 8 out of 10 of our overseas graduate never return home after graduating but instead, found jobs overseas and eventually, settle there if they have learn to adapt like those PRCs were admonished to adapt to their new place here.

put it this way, if you can afford landed why settle for hdb?

if you can be a spoilt expat, why be a local economic slave?

if you can belong to a giant of a nation why belong to a little red dot?

sg, and it has been said before by others, is indeed a stepping stone to greater and bigger things.

thank you pap for raising us up to be an economic digit(no one should hold another hostage since it is a relationship of mutual benefit) and happy national day

Anonymous said...

No pride left, only shame and sorrow. Like Lucky, I used to recite the pledge with pride as a child. Now after countless pain and hardship, I know better. Pain at blatantly seeing your country exploited by people who don't care two hoots about Singapore and are the first to jump ship when trouble comes, shame to see your citizenship trambled and cheapened. First pain, shame and now indifference and impassivity. I just want to get out and I'm working my way out. Never thought I'll be forced up this road.

Anonymous said...

One good thing about Singapore is that we are more selective of the foreigners we accept and give PRs to. Sure, we complain about cheap FTs from China, Phillipines and India. They steal our local jobs, but which cheap foreigner doesn't steal local jobs anywhere in the world?

At least we ain't accepting giving PRs to foreigners who embrace terrorism and militant ideas, who create all sorts of problems for their host countries. Look at some of the type of FTs taken in by Australia and UK and France. They make the news all the time, when their FTs riot in the streets and plan to blow up locals.

At least, the FTs we take in don't do that kind of thing. PAP may be dumb, but at times, they ain't as dumb as European politicians who take in all sorts of refugees and FTs, and create alot of unnecessary dangers for their locals.

Anonymous said...

One good thing about Singapore is that we are more selective of the foreigners we accept and give PRs to. Sure, we complain about cheap FTs from China, Phillipines and India. They steal our local jobs, but which cheap foreigner doesn't steal local jobs anywhere in the world?

At least we ain't accepting giving PRs to foreigners who embrace terrorism and militant ideas, who create all sorts of problems for their host countries. Look at some of the type of FTs taken in by Australia and UK and France. They make the news all the time, when their FTs riot in the streets and plan to blow up locals.

At least, the FTs we take in don't do that kind of thing. PAP may be dumb, but at times, they ain't as dumb as European politicians who take in all sorts of refugees and FTs, and create alot of unnecessary dangers for their locals.

Anonymous said...

Anon 17.13 pm

U r right. The FTs we accepted are all very peaceful people. So r singaporeans. When things r peaceful, other things cockup never mind, right?

PAP very smart, that's y they even ban one person public protest so things are even more peaceful.

Anonymous said...

I cannot bear to read the pledge, or hear other people read it.

It is too far from reality. It is a constant pain.

I wonder who comes out with the idea of reading the pledge together. I will shut off the TV tonite. I don't want to be tortured.

Anonymous said...

We have the best government in the world. What is there not to celebrate?

Vote for PAP for more good years ahead!

Anonymous said...

I will recite the pledge not from my mouth but from my ass. Listen to those loud smelly fart at 8:22. Let everyone's fart do the talking.

Anonymous said...

Life in this country has indeed improved for the majority.

Happy national day.

nationaldayparadeupdate said...

wah...lots of western music and even got...kinky pole dancers to affirm...lky say one... we have become a metropolis city liao

i am proud of our transformation leh.

Anonymous said...

dolly sings i will survive...LOL

Anonymous said...

Half way thru the show, i am already in tears.

Happy National Day.

Anonymous said...

Credit must be given to the creative director for assembling the best stories over the years into a MTV Video presentation and take us all into a journey of National Ecstasy.

I think we have achieved National Orgasm for sure.

Anonymous said...

this is one of the best ndp i hv watched.

best choreographed

i so so touch.

and gurmit almost bald on top somemore as usual shout...SINGAPORE MAKES SOME NOISE!!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHAHHHHHHHHHAHHHHHHHHCUUUUUMMM

Anonymous said...

come together liao is it?

Anonymous said...

what better to show off what SIN is all about then to follow up ndp euphoria with SIN idol.

idiocy marries mediocracy or a cheap imitation of the west?

but still, we are the best compared to jb,batam and some say...#$%#$&^

Anonymous said...

you watched the taxi drver waxing lyric over his wonderful but back breaking and long hour job so he can feed his family or not?

at one point, he has to change a punctured tyre.ouch for the back

the solution?

take two tablets of panadol!

see...you learn anything today?

goood.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anon at 10.39,

U mentioned "thinking of suicide"..

Such ideas did occur to some when they are down... Most stopped at thinking only; but a few did follow with action.

I sincerely hope u or or friends would stop at words only. There are ups and downs in life. What goes up must come down.. What comes down must go up..

Drop this idea.. Life may not be beautiful.. but its still a life.. by hook or by crook.. let us complete the journey and let the ending of our life be decided by nature or the almighty....

We do not know each other... but, in my heart, I support u...

Anonymous said...

wah..u watch the news or not? interview all the old old ppl and they all say....i confident sg got good bright future.

i assure liao now can buy stock liao because old ppl dun know come which kampong say one.

Anonymous said...

"We do not know each other... but, in my heart, I support u..."

How? You going to give him/her some money?

Anonymous said...

not say i say....if you not happy and want die....watch tv about sg and you shall be healed!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA

Anonymous said...

A sidetrack here, Lucky.

Do you remember the Lehman Bros & minibonds fiasco? Remember that in HK, most of the LOCAL banks offered 70% compensation for the burnt investors?

Guess what? Our DBS, product of Singapore Inc, ain't part of the 16 HK banks that offered any compensation.

In fact, DBS did us proud by telling 6900 Hongkongers to go fly kite!

I thought you might want to know, or even blog about it, to enhance Singaporeans' national pride. We did not bow down to pressure from outside!

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_414677.html

Anonymous said...

Everywhere in the world where Singaporeans are, they celebrated ND.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

If can leave Sinkapore, better take cpf and leave now.

Anonymous said...

We have one of the best NDP this year.

Ever!

Anonymous said...

So now we know why DBS reported better than expected earnings this quarter.

sgcynic said...

DBS and POSB are as close to the people as the government is. Thee got this foreign talent Jackson Tai to come and single handedly erode the "people's bank" a few years back.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article by Manu Bhaskaran ex govt scholar now in pte sector. The billions invested by Tumasick could have been put to better use domestically to grow our own economic timber and to create a real more equitable society.

http://www.theedgesingapore.com/blog-heads/manu-bhaskaran.html

Anonymous said...

Lucky,

Thanks for your poignant piece on why Singapore WAS special...

Like you, I was a boy 30 years ago and though we were still developing, I think the mood then was buoyant and you sensed that if one WORKED hard, one shd be able to make a decent living. But along the way, our policies of targeting high growth have spawned LOSERS that were left in the cold. I am particularly indignant on the below:

a) Asset Inflation.
The great Swiss Standard of Living is never meant to be. It is a case of inflating assets (witnessed the crazy stock market bull run starting in 1993 when the Gahmen allowed people to gain rich by liberalising CPF investment) that benefited the rich as they are sure their asset values are maintained and enhanced.

So to achieve a decent level of living, we ordinary Singaporeans have to work very hard to keep up with the asset inflation. At the end of the day, asset rich does not mean a thing if you are jobless and have to feed a family, I would certainly prefer less asset-rich but lots of cash-rich. So I consider myself a loser in this asset-inflated country of mine as I am just throwing my cash at something that is inflated in value.

b) Structural Unemployment
It is becoming very clear that since 2001 when we had the first recession in this decade, we are facing serious structural unemployment issues. Employees, esp the PMET, who lose their jobs find it hard to return to the same job again. The other day ST carried even a report on one guy who was not full-time employed for 10 years until he found a job in the aviation industry.

I think Globalisation has impacted high-income country like Singapore who is losing high-skilled and high-paid jobs to emerging countries. Our policies of targeting high-tech industry to promote growth does not have a multiplier effect as these jobs only employ limited skilled professional.

I do not have any solution but I think to tide one over this difficult period, we shd allow people to withdraw their CPF or give them some allowance so that they do not feel helpless.

c) Over-Spinning
Lastly, there is too much spinning on how well we are coping with this recession. As an informed individual, we are aware that this is a global recession and we must be given time to ride out the crisis. But let us acknowledge that there will be Losers (even after we recover) and we must provide some assistance schemes to help them as some of them are just victims of circumstances. Even HK provides some assistance to those unemployed.

For all of us who are born and bred here, we certainly want our country to prosper. But we should not let the pursuit of high growth blind us into thinking that once we start to report high growth rates, we are ok again. Our challenge is to make our society as inclusive as possible, and certainly not to benefit the few in the society whilst the majority suffers.

Happy ND Spore!

Onlooker said...

The plegde has lost it meaning when the garment begin it binge on the addictive Cheap labour.
That why we need to follow the pledge To build a Democratic society Based on Justice and equality.With or without the PAPer.

Anonymous said...

Albert Einstein
Franklin Roosevelt
Isaac Newton
Queen Elizabeth I
Helena Blavatsky
Joan of Arc
JD Rockefeller
Jacques De Molay
Marie Curie
Benjamin Franklin
Napoleon Bonaparte
Shakespeare
Pythagoras
Henry Ford
Sir Thomas Aquinas
Leonardo Da Vinci
You could be the next…

What hidden knowledge do these famous personalities commonly possess which has eluded historians to investigate for centuries?

Alchemy: secret knowledge revealed at last!
www.knightsof themce.com