How Singaporean are we?
The latest incident in Medan where a Singaporean working there was beaten up by an Indonesian cop is a good example of how much Singaporeans feel as one people. Watching the video clip in the news of the Singaporean being viciously battered when he was down and defenceless could and should evoke some kind of emotions from fellow Singaporeans. It did to me. The victim was a Singaporean, was one of us. It was quite a sickening feeling to see foreigners taking liberties to bash another Singaporean. It is like bashing us. I raised the issue in Cyberspace, in both my forum and blog. The reactions from fellow Singaporeans range from apathy to denials. Some even raised questions like the Singaporean probably had done something wrong and invited the attack. It is kind of, well, it does not concern me. There is no ‘us’ feeling. We don’t feel nor share the sense of being Singaporean. The misfortune that happens to other Singaporeans does not concern us. Why was there no emotional outburst or gut reaction against the attacker for attacking another Singaporean? I would expect some angry postings or protests in cyberspace against the attacker. Maybe hurling some abusive remarks like in cyberspace style. But practically nothing was said. A non event. And no letters to the Straits Times forum. Is it that we are now being too rational, too logical, too pragmatic, too thinking, that we are so detached from our emotions? It could be a good thing. But from the angle of being a people, I would like to see a spontaneous feeling of anger and a sense of injustice for another Singaporean without the rationalization. This can come up later when things cool down. When we are talking about being Singaporeans, being one people, it is an emotional thing. Some can feel proud or shed a little tear watching the National Day parade and knowing how far we have come. When Michael Fay was being caned for breaking our law, even the US President got involved. Then the Australian Govt and Australians were all emotions when we hanged the Australian drug peddler. This is what being one people is all about. To stand together, to feel as one people. I think we have lost that in the Medan incident.