A critique of Singapore, and an inspiring project.
For a week and half, the online scene in Singapore has been in a frenzy. This is ironic given that the reason for this fervour was that according to the Gallup Survey, Singaporeans are the most emotionless in the world, as well as one of the most unhappy – where citizens of some war-thorn countries were found to happier than the those of the little red dot. Are we just merely the most ungrateful for what we have? After all, our country is not in perils. Perhaps the cause of such negativity stems in something much darker and deeper. Should Singaporeans be worried (or are we incapable of that)?
Roger Mitton offers his passionate view on his critique of Singapore. Amongst several factors (politics being a distinct one), he suggests that Singaporeans love for food and shopping is too frivolous to create a culture. There is some truth to this. Food bloggers are amongst the most prominent in this tiny island, it is a norm to spend entire weekends at Orchard Road to scout out the latest trends and sales, and accounts of a typical holiday for a Singaporean would be littered with shopping hunts and pictures of food. Many Singaporeans can relate to this base generalisations, which begs the question: is that necessarily bad?
Whether or not Mitton’s view is to be accepted or violently repudiated, within his article lies a deeper concern – that Singaporeans lack something inherent that we can call our own, something that is truly, whole-heartedly, unabashedly, Singaporean.
A project entitled Singaporean of the Day has the potential to denounce Mitton’s view. A project by a group of friends, each 2-minute video features a random Singaporean – their lives, dreams, and hopes for the city-state. Each video is uniquely Singaporean in language and mannerisms, stripped down and without airs. It is such a simple idea, but a brilliant one. Too often, we are preoccupied with our own concerns. Most of us live a routine lifestyle of 9-5 work or school on the weekdays and some sort of relaxation with friends and family on the weekend, that we hardly take the time to interact with people outside of our social circles.
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and soul of its people.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This project showcases the different lives and occupations of Singaporeans – we are not all from the same cookie-cutter – and, albeit briefly, reconnects us with bits of our Singaporean soul. Currently with two features, it is exciting to see what more the project has to offer. Perhaps when the silent voices speak, Singaporean can rediscover their forgotten ties.
[Featured Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/888272/?forcedownload=1]