searching for singapore's soul

this was a heading in an article on edwin thumboo's search for singapore's soul in the today paper. my immediate reaction is that we have sold our souls to the god of money. our new soul is money and nothing else. just look at the comments on durai. nothing personal. many are still praising him for his brilliance in raising so much money for nkf. for the sake of money, the issues of morality and ethics are no longer important. many people in high positions even vouched that they respected him for what he had done. do you have any soul? oops, i mean do you have any money?


Speedwing said...

Good morning Redbean, sorry have not been on your blog over the festive period. Just returned from a trip to KL. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

I totally agree with you that most Singaporeans are too money minded. It is sad too to see that many have allowed money to control their lives. I will be the first to admit that in this modern society and the way of life we have chosen for ourselves, money does come in useful and lack of it can be very uncomfortable. However, I feel that here in Singapore, people have carried the crave for money a step too far, at the expense of social graces, a kinder heart for the less fortunate and most important of all, honesty.

I feel sad to see this happen all around us every day I stay in this otherwise nice country.

Sorry I am not feeling very charitable this morning. Maybe it is the effect of being bullied by all those Singaporean drivers at the causeway last night. To all those crazy drivers who bullied me last night, I say " Shame on you. Your behaviour was unacceptable and you have given me the impression that although Singapore is an economical first world country, you are still with third world mentality ".

redbean said...

hi speed,

back from kl. thought you been to segamat. the name segamat is so nostalgic. reminds me of the novel 'a town like alice' and the women prisoners walking through the town.

causeway driving is very stressful. and have to be very aggressive too. otherwise you may be stucked or blocked and not moving. used to fight with all the drivers for the right of way.

as for money, we have gone down a little too far. and our oppositions could not even handle it. i like the kopitiam talk on their new slogan. they don't need a million if they become ministers. give half away to their constituents, have parties for the people with the money. and yes, use it as an election slogan for maximum mileage. what have they got to lose?

this will put the ruling party in a defensive position.

Speedwing said...

I know causeway drivng can be stressful. However, that is no excuse for absolute rudeness and acting like animals. Whatever you say Rebean, will not convince me that we should tolerate such behaviour, and I am surprised that you can make excuse for them. I am totally convinced that when Singaporeans get behind the wheel they turn into selfish, rude and insensitive animals.

redbean said...


you are right that they all turned to animals. there are two ways of handling them. be like them, like animals. or take a holy approach. clasp your hands together, give them a polite smile. both works. the third way of just let things happen would not work.

i have tried both ways. doing the third will be a very slow process. yeah, very frustrating.

but not all of them are singaporeans. the most aggressive ones are the malaysians. they knew you are going into their territory or already in, helpless. they will really bully you.

for singaporeans, i have sat with different kinds of singaporean drivers. they just did not know what to do. and some will just be animals.

and even westerners too behave like animals. once there was this angmoh challenging me to race with him. how could i with my family in tow. young punks.

Matilah_Singapura said...

There is no doubting the importance of money, like the importance of air, water and nourishment - they are all essential to our individual and mutual survival.

What many Singaporeans have done, according to some observations (not mine) is that they've confused the ENDS with the MEANS

Just like air, water and nourishment, money too is a MEANS to living. No one makes that much hoo ha about water and air, and as for food, we could probably do with LESS ;-) This is because air water and food are more or less abundant, and money is not - which menas there is a tendency to grab and cling to the concept of money - rather than the physical product of money itself.

To improve our condition, we act. We act to satisfy our needs, and we do so in an abstract called "The Market". Without money, exchange would be limited to barter, there will not be a division of labour, and we will all be much poorer materialistically and spiritually.

I think it is important that people chase after money - even if they do confuse means and ends. I think it is important that people should be allowed to do as they please - and that the spiritually arrogant be put in their rightful place:

"Shut The Fuck Up and go write some poetry!"

redbean said...

hey matilah,

you are getting hot on this money thing. there are many ways to look at it. it is an indispensable item and highly desirable and necessary.

my concern here is not so much of individuals hoarding money but more of a nation distributing its wealth. at the moment it is so enequally distributed and so unjustly distributed and that is something i disagree. when someone already has a mountain of gold, no need to pile more gold on him.

but the gold diggers did not see anything wrong with it.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Money will always be "unjustly" distributed, if you look at it your way.

To me it is mostly justly distributed.

The universe is in a perfect state, all the time.

It is people who read the situations wrongly

redbean said...

money is distributed fairly to whoever deserves it. many angles to look at it. from the karma point of view, everything is in the right place for the right reasons.

from the human point of view, the best and ables shall deserve more. that is only fair. but the inequity will lead to their demise when the havenots eventually take it upon themselves to snatch it from the rich.

then comes all the political philosophers and philosophies as to how best to distribute monies to benefit all or at least maitain some semblance of order.

and the cycle goes round and round. it never fails to go one big circle and to repeat itself again and again. that's how i see it.