Wednesday 15 August 2012

A senior's view of the average Singaporean

THE Singaporean identity is easy to detect but not to capture precisely ("Are you S'porean enough? Here's a quick checklist..." by Mr Edwin Sam; last Thursday).

We have transformed ourselves from an agricultural to an industrial nation within a short span of 47 years, having been blessed with a good political system and capable ministers who took over the country after the British withdrawal was announced by then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1968.

The typical Singaporean lives in an HDB flat, travels by bus, MRT and taxi, and wants to have a say in how the country is run.

He patronises the coffee shop and orders his kopi-si and kaya toast, and speaks dialect and Singlish without batting an eyelid.

He enjoys Teochew porridge, mee rebus and roti prata and avoids those Western dishes that his children enjoy.

He does not relish the concerts at the Esplanade, but instead enjoys the occasional getai during the National Day celebration and the Hungry Ghost Festival.

He visits the polyclinics when he is sick and not private hospitals as they are beyond his budget. He prefers football and badminton because they are heartland sports, instead of golf.

Although he does not jet about in A-380s, he enjoys the occasional trip to Malaysia and Thailand.

I treasure my family and my childhood friends, and hope that my sunset years will be spent in peace and happiness without any social upheavals.
Heng Cho Choon
ST Forum, 14 Aug 2012

Are you S'porean enough? Here's a quick checklist...
AS WE celebrate our nation's 47th birthday, it should be fairly easy to describe the Singaporean identity, but is it really?

If behaviour is a reflection of our inner selves, I suggest a few traits of the true Singaporean.
Speaking Singlish: Most Singaporeans can "turn on or off" their Singlish, depending on the context. The point is not that we speak poor English, but that Singlish happens because of the multiracial - and therefore multilingual - milieu in which Singaporeans have been raised.
Singlish contains words from at least two or three languages and dialects, and is not merely the ubiquitous suffix "lah".

This "multilinguistic" ability reflects Singapore's multiracial harmony; an ability to adapt and be understood.
Queueing: Queueing is an indication of an orderly system. Most of my foreign friends cite discipline as one of the reasons behind Singapore's success. 
Charity: Singaporeans have a sense of gratitude for our achievements. We remember how poor and insignificant we were as a nation once. So we are always ready to reach out to the needy both at home and abroad. Therein lies the "kampung spirit" - when we see a need, we rise to meet it.
Let us celebrate our nation's birthday, and be proud to be Singaporeans.
Edwin Sam
ST Forum, 9 Aug 2012 

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