Singapore

A Perfect Society?

Since arriving in Singapore I’ve been impressed with a lot of things. In every neighbourhood, on every motorway, all over campus, in fact all over the island there is greenery. Huge trees line most roads to provide shadow on the road, while outside the many, many, many apartment blocks there are beautiful floral displays and neatly cut grass. The people are all focussed on a better Singapore, people believe and encourage others to believe in Singapore and strive to make it better. This kinda reminds me of those films about a group of people who move to a far away island to create the perfect society, and there is certainly many examples of that here.
Everyone who has heard of Singapore has heard of the fines for doing almost anything – but to be fair – it is a good way to enforce laws. The streets are clean, you never walk along the road and feel worried that the ten guys across the road are about to stab you for your watch! While this has it’s drawbacks and can be seen as a little harsh – it certainly works, and if you don’t like it don’t come here.
However (you knew the ‘but’ was coming right?), it does have its drawbacks. Singapore is 40 years old this year, which means that the true Singaporean generation is far off. Yes the children and young adults today have been born in Singapore, but their parents, their culture and their beliefs are very much not Singaporean. Of course, this raises a question of what is Singaporean as it is a beautiful melting pot of different cultures (which is one of its appeals). But when a 14 year old girl falls pregnant and receives no support from the state (they apparently don’t want to encourage this type of behaviour!) but is disowned by her family and closest friends – that is not beautiful. Maybe it is a result of foreign cultures being brought into the city, but how will the children of today be raised – will they be brought up to hate their children if they fall pregnant before their parents wish them too?
One of the things you really notice here is that every child seems to be living to fulfil their parent’s desires and dreams. Now, I can’t say that I don’t do it too, to an extent, but the key is, it is only to an extent. I got a tattoo last week, perhaps something small lurks inside my mum or dad wishing I hadn’t gotten it done, however, I know that what is much bigger lurking inside them is that they want me to experience life and make mistakes myself so that I can learn from them. You can’t shelter your kids all their life because it is likely you will die before them.
Apparently a boy drowned in a reservoir not too long ago in Singapore, after his mother repeatedly screamed at passers by for help. The apathy that exists here is unbelievable. One of the things girls say to me regularly is that they love European guys because they hold the door open for them. While I don’t believe that it is a man’s place to do so, I do believe that it is everyone’s duty to do so to each other. If Singapore really wants to create the perfect society it strives for, it has to start teaching its children to respect and love each other, and not just those closest to them as long as they conform.

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