f Six Hundred & Fifty Two; Happy 49th Birthday, Singapore!!


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Six Hundred & Fifty Two; Happy 49th Birthday, Singapore!!

August 9, 2014 /

Happy 49th Birthday, Singapore!!!!

 I'm typing this blog post while waiting for my niece's performance for a National Day ceremony. 

 I'm feeling extremely patriotic.
On normal days, I'm already slightly patriotic; 
but today, I felt extremely proud to be a Singaporean!
In fact, I just sang our national day song and said our pledge.
I guess it's normal.
I know how some people complain about the situations in Singapore all the time, 
but still feel patriotic on this specific day. :')

Photo credits to: SGAG

Since it's our birthday today, I just wanted to share some personal thoughts here :)

I've been traveling quite a bit for the past one year, 
& as much as I have grown to love traveling alot 
and enjoy every bit of experiencing living in the other countries, 
at the end of the day, I always feel glad to be home. 
Each time I travel, I can't help but to compare the country which I am in, to Singapore. 
Such as?

Well, maybe the things that I mention below will sound cliche,
but these are what I truly felt/experienced from my overseas trips!

1. Cleanliness 
You will truly learn to appreciate the cleanliness of Singapore, 
especially after visiting the developing countries.
Huge rats and cockroaches running across the streets in broad day light, 
half-eaten food & drink cans/bottles lying everywhere around you, 
huge flies (not 1 or 2. but at least 10 of them) hovering on top of your food at your dining table.. 
are just a few common sights. 
(I'm not saying that these cannot be seen in Singapore. 
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think we dont experience them all the time.) 
Also, each time nature calls, 
you have to hesitate whether you can hold it any longer 
in hope of finding a slightly cleaner and not-too-smelly washroom.. 

"Singapore is a fine (pun intended) country." 
Yes, I do not deny. 
But if using such measure can help to reduce the sights of dirty 
and terribly littered public places, then why not?! 
And of course, credits go to the cleaners who have been doing their job well 
in keeping our country clean and green. 
They are the ones who serve us the small ways, which we should thank them for.
They deserve the respect, 
so each time you walk pass a cleaner, make an effort to smile at them or even, say thank you. 
It may just make their day! :)

(Okay, lemme continue later. The ceremony is starting......)

2. Safety & Security
Shopping in the streets.. 
& holding on to your bag tightly at the same time, 
to prevent being a victim of pickpocket/robbery. 
Not wearing any fanciful accessories to prevent catching attention. 
While in Singapore, I can even feel safe to leave my bag 
on the seat in a food court/hawker centre to 'chop the seat' 
(my wallet & phone with me of course) while queueing up for my food. 
I would ask for an favour from someone at the next table to help me keep a lookout. 
I do make sure that I can still watch out for my bag just to ensure that nobody steals it away, 
but at least I don't feel worried that someone will snatch & run away with it. 
I don't know if you get my drift. hahah. 

There are no national curfew to stay at home after Xpm.
And while the crime rate seems to be on the rise, 
generally, I still feel safe to walk on the streets alone.
I will still be on alert when I walk home alone at night,
but I still feel rather safe.
I know I will never do the same when I am in some other countries.

3. Clean Water
I don't think I have to elaborate more on this.
I have the habit of drinking straight from the tap sometimes,
but I can never do this when I'm in some other countries.
I have to drop by convenience stores all the time, just to purchase a bottle of water. 
What happens at night when you are in the apartment/hotel,
and you run out of water (in the bottle which you purchased earlier in the day)?
And.. it is specifically mentioned that "the tap water is NOT safe for drinking"......
either you bear with the thirst,
or you have to make your way down to the nearest convenience store again.
Please, please, please, do appreciate how clean water is accessible to us 24/7, 
and do not take this for granted.

4. Transport
(& now.. I am actually typing this while on the train. hahah)
Okay anyway, this sounds like a controversial point.
While I admit that I do complain about the price hikes for taxis,
and the occasional breakdowns and crowded trains,
I do think that our transport system is something that I am proud of.
Yes, we still have so much to improve on, especially on efficiency,
but we should not brush aside the fact that a lot has been done all these years.
The accessibility for once, is something that I am thankful for.
I do not own a car, and most of the times when I travel for work or appointments,
I rely on public transport. 
I can get from Woodlands to Tampines in approximately 40 minutes,
from Hougang to Vivocity in prolly 30 minutes?
North-south line, east-west line, circle line, purple line (& more lines to come)..
the connectivity has made traveling with public transport convenient & at an affordable price 
(no, we are definitely NOT the most expensive when it comes to public transport.)
As for those who drive, I would say that it is rather safe to drive on the roads of Singapore.
In general, the road is well-maintained, and there is orderliness.
The traffic lights that you sometimes swear at when it turns red?
You will learn to appreciate their existence once you have tried driving in some other countries,
with super messy roads.
Of course there are exceptions, such as road bullies or impatient drivers.
For those who are guilty as charged, please check out The Gentlemen Movement.
Just sayin' :D

Above all, there are so many other things which I love about Singapore.
Our hawker centres, the culture, the beautiful buildings,
the readily available healthcare services, etc etc.
We are a young country.
We have experienced alot and changed alot over the past few decades,
and there are still so much to work on, as a nation.
While our government may have their flaws (honestly, which government doesn't?!?!?)
I am thankful for their constant efforts in helping the country progress.
No, they are not perfect; 
and sometimes, we may not agree with their policies..
but I hate it even more when I see people opposing,
for the sake of opposing. (blogged about a related issue during 2011 election)

I remember this status posted on a friend's FB,
which I found extremely meaningful:

"A chance conversation occurred between myself and a well spoken old man. He used to work in the UK when he was a young man and came back in the mid 70s.
We talked about travel. Talked about differences. Changes. The growth and state of Singapore. The unhappiness of many locals towards policies, the government, work and immigration.. to leave or to stay here on this red dot? That was the spontaneous debate in motion.
He listened to my "problems and concerns of a 20 something Singaporean" and then he said this to me..
"Times have changed but you're not that different from me when I was in my 20s.
Life was hard. Life is still hard. Life will always be hard.
But you don't immediately jump ship when the sea gets rough. 
You and I both know that other ships won't take you in welcoming you with open arms.
Singapore's our home.
We've come a long way.. we're still far from perfect
and there are a lot of things I still wish can be improved.
But Singapore is home and family to me..
and you don't abandon family just because you're not happy.
We must try to make it better.
Your generation must keep on trying to make it better."
I think he just gave me the answer I went around the world hoping to find."

Yes, I am having the intention to work overseas for few years
to experience working in a new environment,
but I know, that if I really execute that plan,
I will prolly only stay there for 3-4 years,
because I want to return to Singapore eventually.
I want to bring whatever I learned overseas, back to Singapore.
I want to share with fellow Singaporeans on how we can improve,
on the different aspects.
Be it work, personal or social.

This country is home to me.
Each time the plane touch down at Changi Airport when I return from my travel,
& when the words "we have landed safely in Singapore" are heard,
I find myself smiling.
Because this is home, truly.

Photo taken by my friend, taken during one of the NDP rehearsals, back in 2011.

Happy 49th Birthday, Singapore!!
I am proud to be a Singaporean, & will always be.
Last but not least, I really look forward to see MM Lee at the NDP again this year. :)

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