battle for eyeballs is about to get more intense. A second player in the
multi-million dollar subscription TV market will break Starhubs
monopolistic hold," Today reported on Dec. 4, 2002. Im sure
smart Singaporeans are not holding their breath for the new so-called
A certain Francis Lim writing from the UK to The Straits Times Forum about the papers report that our education system draws "foreign compliments, local complaints" said: "While it is undeniable that the education system in Singapore has contributed significantly to the training of its citizens it is also imperative to squarely recognise and acknowledge the deficiencies of past education policies, especially the charge of elitism. Continuous newspaper reports of praises would just deflect the publics attention from the crucial reforms at hand." (Nov.30, 2002.)
Those of us (still) living here (stayers, were called) surely do understand why praises continue to thrive in the papers everyday and why its easy for "quitters" working, say, in the UK to lose sight of our systemic need for a balanced argument. Or simply why we are actually all good no bad usually, that is. Improving the system is one thing, but forging nations morality for nation-building purposes is surely another altogether. There! Ive said it for the good of all. So let me be spared of another BALANCED editorial comment in the press on the issue, okay!
"Enough. No more talks" went the headline for a Forum-letter saying "Lets discontinue the water talks (for Singapore to buy water from Malaysia). Lets not allow ourselves to be pushovers" (Dec. 6, 2002). What a laugh. Like as if weve ever allowed ourselves to be so. If weve ever been, Id like to know when, how and by whom. Wake up Ms. Enough (the letter-writer as I choose to call her), were Singapore generally known to be arrogant with world-class economic challenges to our name. Not in your wildest uncovered backside dreams would we be pushovers. (By the way, dont we marvel at why these "conscientious objectors" views are picked for airing in the press?).
"A little chaos will give Singapore the buzz it needs. Singaporeans in Hong Kong suggest 5Cs chaos, creativity, culture, concentration, connectivity to inject life into the boring country" a report in The Straits Times said (Dec. 6, 2002). Eh, pur-leese. Can I just emphasize for the good of all that were only "boring" in inverted commas! Those "Singaporeans from Hong Kong" are no ordinary thinking humans but part of SON (Singapore Overseas Network) of the ERC (Economic Review Committee). So, understand dear all, that were only "boring" from an economic point of view and not from a socio-cultural point of view. (There, Ive said it for the good of all again on behalf of our nation-propping press).
And what a laugh (again) instilling chaos in Singapore! WOW (Wonderful Oracular Wisdom, can I just say!). The report also indicated that "for starters, it (SON) recommends nurturing an individualistic, adventurous and dare-to-fail spirit in people." Ho ho ho ho ho. Now, how are we Singaporeans ever gonna grasp such a concept when Big Brothers invisible whip hovers over us to remind all to cover backside (not to forget that a rule is a rule)? The "party whip" has been known to be lifted temporarily in Parliamentary debates and only because it serves a certain given purpose. Besides, can Singaporeans handle a little chaos when we cant even be left to our own devices with an itsy bitsy piece of chewing gum?
However, others may counter-argue that we do have our nice little bit of chaos amidst our buzzing culture now. For example "Break-dancers strut their stuff in an underpass. They always have to change locations because security guards chase them out of each spot" (The Straits Times, Dec. 10, 2002). I can just see readers responding to say "Let the children play." While another might chip in as a follow-up to caution "Still we must make sure they pose no obstruction to others " And so it goes, the you-know-I-know song-and-dance of our funky new open-ness.
As for being "individualistic " Oh, I see. Individualistic the Singapore way! Of course the manufactured kind. How silly of me to be knee-jerk apprehensive about it. When it comes to creating anything, nothing can stop the buzz for Singapore. Why? 'Cos weve got the pillar-propping-ganda dailies. Simply say and it shall be so. Just read the mag. XHo
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