myth 38

'It(Singapore) has created a national mindset of compliance and obedience, giving rise to a generation of "play safe" Singaporeans who lack initiative and enterprise.' by Seah Chiang Nee in Littlespeck I think Mr Brown has just proven that this is a myth, and Seah Chiang nee is wrong. What Mr Brown has written, though in a humorous way, is an expression of disagreement, and not playing safe and lack of initiative as subsequent events have proven so.


abao said...

Let me modify that sentence.

'It(Singapore) has created a national mindset of compliance and obedience, giving rise to a generation of "play safe" Singaporeans who have initiative and enterprise but most will prefer to keep mum until someone tells them its okay to do so.'

Anonymous said...

the question is how many are like mr brown putting their future at risk? they are not only a minority but countable with ten fingers.

Anonymous said...

aiyah, why do you guys want to rock the boat ? We should trust the pappies to decide what's best for us. Afterall, they see the big picture whereas we peasants are myopic in our world view. Trust them to do what's right and best for us peasants and the country alike.

Anonymous said...

It is people with your attitude that caused the Chinese and Indians in Malaya to loose their rights of having equal treatment as citizens. Now, they are 2nd class citizens....let this be a lesson to us.

redbean said...

let me quote vivian again,

'I am not concerned at all about what the foreign media thinks. We are not here to fulfil their agenda.'

our future is in safe hands.

redbean said...

hi anonymous,

you referred to the chinese and indians losing their equal rights. you want to elaborate on how this came about?

Anonymous said...

Let thsi be a lesson ? I am afraid you've learned that lesson a little too late. Singaporeans signed away their rights to be treated as equals to the ruling elite in 1959. Two months ago, 2/3 of the voting population decided to continue signing those rights away. Have you been asleep all this time ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Redbean. Obviously you are not from the minority race in Singapore. It is very hard to understand the plight of the minority races in Singapore if you're nto one yourself.

Anonymous said...


and watch The Decider clip from The Daily Show

Anonymous said...


Funny take on the role of bloggers in reporting..... heehee

redbean said...

hi anonymous,

i confessed i can never understand fully how a minority feels.

but since you brought up the issue of chinese and indians losing their equal rights in malaya, i would like to point out that that is a very bitter and painful lesson to learn. the minorities in malaysia are finished. but the minorities in singapore at least can still see some degree of fairness without the affirmative policies applied in malaysia.

it is a frightening thought to think that singapore will go the malaysian way where the majority imposed everything on the minorities, creates whatever quota in favour of the majority. there are admittedly certain areas where certain policies are not favourable to the minorities. and i bet the govt would like to do away with them as fast and at best they can. but the consequences are grave if a mistake is made there, especially in the area of national defence.

hopefully, as our society and nation develops, the sensitivities of the past will no longer be an issue.

it is between the devil and the deep blue sea. i have no answer to such problems.

Mickell said...

Check out the insightful review on the saga where Mr Brown's column got terminated by TODAY at Chemical Generation Singapore

redbean said...

thanks mickell,

took a peep there. quite a serious commentary as well. i think everyone reading the brown episode will share the same perception.

Anonymous said...

Hi Redbean. Your comparison with Malaysia is flawed. Malaysia never proclaimed themselves to be the bastion of meritocracy as Singapore always has. The Chinese and Indians in Malaysia are under no illusion that they are going to be treated as 1st class citizens. The NEP policy favouring Malays is above board and everybody knows that it is the policy of the government of the day. That in no way makes it right, I agree. Singapore on the other hand uses meritocracy as a guise for practicing discrimination against its own minority races. That in any reasonable man's book is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add, maybe you can have "We do not discriminate based on race in Singapore" as myth no. 39.

redbean said...

it is not really a flaw lah. the reason to justify the racial discrimination in malaysia is based on the assumption that one race is less intelligent that the rest.

in singapore, the discrimination is not because of an inferior race but more an issue of sensitivity in security matters. given a choice the govt would want to quickly remove this.

and this is not sanctioned in our constitution. in malaysia, it is in the constitution.

see the difference? one is institutionalised, another is not, but out of a perceived necessity arising from our history and can be put right once the situation permits.

i am not trying to be hypocritical here.

yes, i would want to put it as a myth, but i am trying to think of a way to make it more palatable. i do not want to turn it into another brown humour.

redbean said...

forget to add, to me the word 'aboveboard' is black humour: )

many unacceptable things were justified as good under this term and given an illusion of legitimacy.

Anonymous said...

redbean, that's what i meant when i said you wont understand the plight of the minorities because you are not one yourself. The discrimination does not only exist in the defence sector. I dare say the discrimination here is as pervasive as it is in Malaysia, it's just not known to 75% of the population. You're right about one thing though. In Malaysia, it is institutionalised ie. it is made known to all and sundry. In Singapore it is not ie. on the outside we say we practice meritocracy but actually use meritocracy to disguise discrimination. So, really we are no different to our cousins up north, just a whole lot more hypocritical that's all.

redbean said...

the difference between us and malaysia is very significant. our position is similar to the americans. discrimination is forbidden by law. in malaysia, you cannot complain to the court of law. but if there are outright discrimination here, you can take someone to court.

we are 40 years old. you can imagine what it was like in america when it was 40 years old. it was only after the 70s or 80s, ie 200 years after their independence, that racism is slowly giving way. but the racism in the us is still not lesser than here today.

as a general statement, and situation, we are doomed from the beginning by having different colours and features and look different. like it or not, we all feel more affinity with our own kind. intentionally or otherwise, this will lead to a perceived or even intentional discrimination. but often these are tribal instincts.

let's say a person is obstructed or irritated by a blue person. instead of being angry with the person for his personal flaws, the person may be angry with the blue colour of the person and curses all blue people. this is a tribal instinct. and don't forget that in all tribes and colours there are the good, the bad and the ugly.

but we are coloured by our own colour.

you cannot run away from the problems of colour. to say that it can be done away with, i will say that it is only an illusion.

we can only try to avoid conflict and live peacefully together, with everyone making an extra effort not to offend the other. anything more is a bonus.

we are all humans.

Anonymous said...

well redbean, we can argue till the cows come home. Fact of the matetr is I am a minority in SG and I am more aware of the hiden discrimination that goes on affecting the 15% of us who are not CHinese. You on the other hand are a part of that 78% so you can't really understand our plight, period. Who says disrimination is forbidden by law in Singapore ? Don't you remember LKY once said Dhanabalan was his first choice to succeed him as PM but he chose GCT bceause he didn't think the Chinese would accept an Indian PM. If that is not discrimination, I don't know what is.

redbean said...

what lky said is an opinion. his choice of chok tong is a party choice.

it would be different if he said the law forbids a minority to be a prime minister or his party has rules or policies to this effect.

he may say the chinese are not ready to accept a minority prime minister. but if the people choose to elect a minority, what can the chinese do? the election process will still go through.

in a democratic election process admittedly it is very difficult for a minority to rise up and win the majority's vote unless he is a very exceptional talent.

the composition of the population will definitely be advantageous to the majority. it happens everywhere. what is important is that the law must not be discriminatory.

Anonymous said...

the law may not be discriminatory but then if the people applying those laws choose to be discriminatory, then the net effect is still the same. That is what's happening in Singapore.

redbean said...

in malaysia, if a minority raises the issue of racial discrimination, they will be instantly branded as racists and troublemakers. on the other hand, when a bumiputra throws out racist remarks or issues, it is nationalism and their right to say so.

and if a minority brings it up in court, it would be thrown out immediately.

in singapore, anyone who dares to interpret govt policies along racist lines will have his head chopped. i don't think anyone would dare to apply laws discriminating the minorities as you mentioned. it is against the law.

look at what malaysia is doing today? rewriting the history books to write away the contributions of the minorities. here the govt is trying to write in the contributions of the minorities in the history books.

bloggers were charged in courts because of racist remarks over a dog in a taxi. can any minorities in any country raised such an objection and win in court?

Anonymous said...

"i don't think anyone would dare to apply laws discriminating the minorities as you mentioned."

Just because you cannot see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Even if what you say about discrimination being illegal is true, the law doesn't stop anyone from thinking or expressing their true feelings when congregated in groups of their own skin color. doing that is just a shade away from discrimination.

You are a member of the dominant racial grouping so you will never understand the hidden discrimination that minorities face on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

If the chinese are not happy living in Malaysia, they can fuck off back to China or Singapore. No one's forcing them to continue living in Malaysia.

redbean said...

to the anonymous who want to fuck the chinese off to china, let's be a little self restraint while we discuss and keep the animalistic part of us under leash. i believe you too have received higher education and if the education did not make you a better man and you are still as crude and rude as you are, then it is money wasted.

to the other anonymous, in singapore, when you raised such issues to govt agencies and in the public, the govt or civil servants will be caught in a very embarassing position trying to explain the best they could and very apologetically.

it would not be the same as the above anonymous who would tell you 'not happy fuck off.' just look at the case of the dog in the taxi. just a complain and action was taken against the bloggers. at least justice is done.

would you believe such things will be entertained in malaysia if the complainant was a minority?

every racial group, when they are together, indulged in loose talks about other races. i don't believe there is one race who is more angelic than another. but important thing is to restrain ourselves and be sensitive to other races.

i also have been abused by minorities for very unjustifiable reasons. i could have told them off, given my status and background. but then i knew that they were the minorities and i avoided engaging them. for if i did i will be accused of racism. and words would spread around that a majority passed rude remarks at the minorities.