To qualify, I am merely a lay man doing a decent job in Singapore. Neither am I rich nor am I suffering in poverty. But I love my country, and to me, that’s important. Looking at all the unhappiness in recent years, be it Roy Ngerng saga, Han Hui Hui, The Real Singapore or even, Amos Yee, as far as I am concerned, the Government may or may not have already realized, that these unhappiness are inevitable.
Under my myopic lens, looking at the small picture, I see Governance as somewhat, parenting, and the citizens are the children. This analogy makes sense in an ideal country where the Government cares for its citizens like how in an ideal family, the parents care for their children.
Problem here lies in the difference between Asian & Western culture, Asian and Western parenting, and so last but not least, Asian and Western ways of Governing.
Take Asian parenting for an example. An Asian parent is worried about letting his kid walk with barefoot around in foodcourts, worried that the kiddo may fall and hurt himself, worried that the kiddo may dirty his clothes with the ice-cream, worry, worry, worry. And so the Asian parent will think ahead, plan ahead, and prevent the falls, secure by putting a napkin on his collar, and bring extra clothes when taking the kiddo out. On the other hand, the Western parent lets his kid run around, barefooted, fall, get cuts but be there to help when he’s down (the Asian parent will scold and that’s a form of punishment to warn: which never made sense to any kid after being hurt yet still get scolded). The Western parent hardly brings another set of clothes out. If the kid dirties it, he cleans it up after. Period.
Think about CPF vs Welfare systems. Lesser tax vs more tax. The Asian Government takes into its own hands to help protect the citizens, but as our society progresses and westernizes, we deem it unfit. We deem it unnecessary. We look to the west and think otherwise.
The Western parent asks the kid to move out at 16. At 21, most Asian (or Singaporean) men are still living with their folks. But the Western parent tells the kid that he’s on his own. While the Asian parent is still working hard, thinking of asset planning, not so much for himself, but for his kids.
What our Government didn’t realize is that as our generation is exposed to Internet, Western cultures, and what-have-yous, it is inevitable that our people are going to start comparing. When that happens, unhappiness will spawn from it and spread. There is no right, no wrong, just different ways of parenting, different ways of Governance. But if you read correctly earlier, what’s important is that it should be an ideal country where the Government cares. In Singapore, our leaders do care. They choose the harder ‘right’. People spat at them. Like some children hate their parents. But deep down, we all know that they meant well. But we always want someone else’s parents just because that kid gets to run around dirty with ice-cream all over his face, without getting the cane.
Question here is:
Are you the filial son who suck thumb? Or are you the one who leaves home? We are all voters eventually. It will be interesting to know what kind of people my countrymen are.
Do share this layman’s writing, with the people in the politics, Opposition or Government, because as silly as I am, I love my country and my analogy is but an inspiration from a conversation. And indeed, I now understand why I was unhappy, but now, my vote remains secret.