5/18/2007

Chinese Singaporean or Singaporean Chinese?

Why is citizenship so important to Chinese Singaporeans? I am writing from the perspective of the Chinese Singaporeans. I cannot speak on behalf of the other Singaporeans as I am not wearing their shoes. Please excuse me for just looking at this issue from a specific angle. Many Chinese Singaporeans have taken for granted their good fortune as a citizen of this island. They failed to appreciate how exceptional this situation is. And some have become so cocky while some becoming too careless (loose in their minds) to think that losing it is okay. Look around us or at the world at large and see if there is a little corner where a person of Chinese origin can live freely as an individual, free from discrimination, victimization and even brutality. This little island is probably the only bastion for Chinese Singaporeans to live a life of his own, the way he wants it. He can turn his dreams to reality, to excel in anything that he wanted to be if he only puts in the effort, and to walk tall, speaks to anyone equally without fear, without having to stoop lower. And when he has achieved his dreams, built his fortune, he does not need to apologise or share it with any strangers who will visit him under any guises, but actually demanding that his pocket be filled or he will not have any peace. Some silly Chinese Singaporeans may think that there is always New Zealand, Australia, the UK or the US to migrate to. Yes, if they have the wealth to go over and live a peaceful life of plenty, as a private citizen. But that is all. Their station in life in these adopted countries will be merely as guests in a hotel, paying for all the services. But let them not forget, anyone could trespass their freedom, infringe on their rights, intimidate them or violate them physically or mentally. And when faced with such aggression, they can only walk away, quietly and sheepishly. For those countries can never be home like Singapore. There will be no pride, no dignity and no self respect. They might kid themselves among their small circle of friends. I know some will disagree. And they are right too. For a few individual cases, they could still be equals in other lands. But here is where they have all the rights and respect as an individual. It is a basic privilege that any citizen or decent human being should have, without fear or prejudice. This is how important citizenship is to the Chinese Singaporeans. But would any of them be foolhardy to compromise this right of theirs and carelessly give it away? For once lost, they can never ever dream of having it back. They will then be just like any overseas Chinese, the Malaysian Chinese, Filipino Chinese or Indonesian Chinese. To be kicked around, bullied and manhandled in anyway the power of the land wish to. They will then be called the Singaporean Chinese, the equals of Malaysian or Indonesian Chinese, in the same boat, turning in circles and not going anywhere. Would Chinese Singaporeans think that all is fine, that whoever comes into power will treat them fairly and equally? Never bet on that. No power to be can guarantee fairness to all and be magnanimous to those under their control. When all the chips in your hand are gone, the holder of all the chips will call the shot. Sadly, Li Ao is right. The stupid Singaporeans are slowly marching forward, oblivious to losing this right to self determination, to live as an equal among all citizens, free from discrimination and coercion. When that day arrives, Chinese Singaporeans will have no where else to go to. We cannot and must not become second class citizens in our own island, the only island in the world that offers us the right to a normal life. That is how important this citizenship is to the Chinese Singaporeans. The Chinese Singaporean is an oddity that can go up in smokes, and we will all become Singaporean Chinese, trying to exist in a world that has no place for us, a bit like the Jews before Israel.

6 comments:

Kevin said...

I'm Singaporean first, Chinese second.

redbean said...

hi kevin,

welcome to the blog. i too am singaporean first and last. this is my country and we must all be conscious of this privilege that we have as a singaporean. we must not lose it and become chinese first and singaporean second. and this will happen when we become second class citizens in this island and have to seek freedom and dignity in foreign soil again.

then whether you like it or not, you will no longer be singaporean first as you will be known as singaporean chinese, trying to find a better life somewhere else other than home.

it can happen and it will be more pathetic than our womenfolk becoming maids.

Anonymous said...

"We cannot and must not become second class citizens in our own island,..."

You already are. May not be that noticeable at the moment but this sad reality will be drummed into your thick skull, when the 2 million imports make their way to your little island. It is well and truly too late to be whining about it at this stage.

redbean said...

that is why i write this article. this is home to me and to many singaporeans. there is no where else that you can walk tall without having to play second fiddle to anyone.

i fear the day we lose it.

JJ said...

i am staying in Canada now after leaving SGP months ago.. i felt the significant difference between the 2 countries.. i was given a chance to study in a mainstream school which i havent had the chance to when i was back in SGP.. i had fallen off the mainstream track when i didnt do well for my Os.. i was stuck in private education pathway all the time.. u know where i'm coming from..

i must agree that we should learn to see things from both perspective.. seriously, if compromising the citizenship to lead a whole new life else where.. why not?! seriously, come to canada and u realise that THEY dont treat u like a 2nd class citizen.. u are one ONLY when u feel like one.. its all about ur INNER self..

redbean said...

hi jj,

welcome to the blog and thanks for providing a first hand view of life in canada. i think many singaporeans are doing very well overseas, in canada, usa and australia. and they are better off in many ways than if they remained in singapore, owning big landed properties, big cars, and a relatively peaceful lifestyle.

many will enjoy this kind of life. i am glad that you are having a good time.

but not many singaporeans can afford to go. it is a tough and emotional decision. and if they choose to stay, they cannot afford to leave their future in the hands of people whom they do not know. they must take charge of their own lives before it it too late.

cheers