16 February 2013, is certainly not a date of infamy. It is actually a day to remember and celebrate the 6th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Water Snake, which we call the Human Day or 人日. But this date will also hold another significance: The day when post independence Singaporeans has grown to know a thing call ‘rights’. The human right to be respected, the human right to be called a member of society and not just a pawn in the global economy. And the most important thing of all, the human right to dictate their happiness.
In short, Singaporeans are not happy. What are they unhappy about? Singapore has all the amenities and facilities that most countries would go green, not the environmental type but envy. We are best in all the things you can fathom until some statistics and survey has shown being number 1 in everything is not exactly in the best interest of Singaporeans. We are the 2nd most expensive city after Tokyo. We are the 2nd worst country when it comes to income disparity. We are the most unhappy bunch of people, being ranked 90th out of 151 countries in the Happy Planet Index (Hong Kong fared worse).
And in my books, the worst survey we, as a collective, scored the worst when it comes to emotion, we are the most emotionless bunch in the world.
Unemotional. That is so sad. We can’t even know what we like and what we don’t like. We can’t even know what is meant to live life and life more abundantly (yup that’s a biblical verse). We can’t even describe what we feel. Why? Because we are scared shitless. In Chinese dialect, it is called Kia-si (怕死) . We seemed to have perfected the worst kind of blend of any selfish human behaviour you can think of. Selfishness to the point that you are scared of losing (kiasu), that you are scared of your wife (kiabor) and because being scared is now become second nature, you are also scared of the government (kiasi). We are so scared that people of Singapore are basically hermits in the comfort zone. Why hermits? Because they can’t find time to find a life partner, can’t find time to get married. We couldn’t find time even the watch is missing.
We got really emotional today (tears streaming down my cheeks, starting to choke). Our government decided, in a very cold and efficient manner, to open the doors of our country to foreigners and is expected/projected to reach 6.9 Million souls in the year 2030. That would mean out of the projected (or target….I mean, how can you project without a target right?) 7 Million, just over half would be Singaporeans.
Can you imagine calling our country Singapore when half of the population are not Singaporeans? Can you imagine that, a nation whose residents is only half of the total population? Ludicrous!
And you know the reason? Just because we want to stay rich (Singapore’s per capita income is the top of the world). The funny thing is this – we all know money do not buy happiness and the survey done about our happiness reflects that totally. We have the cash but do we have the sense of well-being? Why not? 1-in-5 Singaporeans work more than 11 hours daily. 9 to 11 hours for 31% of respondents and half took work home more than 3 times a week!
Why open the doors? Because we can’t procreate. My goodness, we can’t even have time to find our life partner let alone ‘hei-shou, hei-shou’ (imagine you are doing high intensity pelvic exercises on the comfort of your bed, geddit?).
And there’s more. Our Metro train had a fire just because the circuitry got short circuited due to heavy downpour. This is on top of the breakdowns and delays we have experienced during the past months, even on relatively new train lines. And all the problems are happening at our current 5.3million population from 4 million just over a decade ago. That’s a million souls in 10 years. Imagine that. No wonder our trains couldn’t take it. Don’t get me started on our property prices (risen at least 2 fold in less than a decade), government ‘subsidised’ flats now can cost more than a million dollars in the open market. Yes you read right…we need to be millionaires to buy a 1200sqft apartment. Pigeon holes? Yup..they are gold plated pigeon holes..NOT. And our cars. Just 5 years ago, I got my car for SGD67000 and it is just a Honda Jazz/Fit a 1.5litre car. Australia would cost in the region of AUD22-25000 (around SGD32000). What’s more we can only own them for 10 years. You do the math.
So our Tenderloin beef? Too much is placed on too small a place in too short a time by our government. It is not the fault of the foreigners definitely for they did not know what hit them.
So we got ourselves some courage, perhaps hidden in some long forgotten box in the storage room labelled, “Use when you are scared”. Yup we are scared of our future and for the future of our kids. Nothing motivates when your kids’ future is on the line right?
It certainly did not start off well as it pours cats and dogs throughout the afternoon during the protest. The organisers still pushed on. Speaker after speaker as more umbrellas approached the stage. And then the rain stopped, perhaps sensing that the mood has touched the heavens and the sky stopped crying. More people came forward, more people are agreeing with the speakers. There are shouts of agreement and placards starts to appear, even people with Guy Fawkes mask peek through the faces of crowds (sinister feeling). We said the national pledge, we sang the national anthem, we wore our hearts on our chest. We know what is wrong and we demand what is right.
Today, we have risen. We the meek lambs have become roaring lions.
PS. In case you asked. Fujifilm X-E1 with 18-55mm F2.8-4 Kit Lens.
More can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilzworkz/sets/72157632778419333/