You’ve probably heard about the brouhaha surrounding some Philippines Independence Day celebrations in Singapore that’s got netizens all riled up: on one hand, you have the “Singapore for Singaporeans” faction who’ve been accused by the media and the Prime Minister himself of being extreme xenophobes for suggesting that foreigners holding the celebrations on Singaporean soil is an act of “invasion”, for lack of a better way to phrase it; on the other side stands the xenophobes-have-no-place-in-Singapore faction of whom the PM, probably half the Cabinet, and other PAP supporters/eminent bloggers and journalists are (obviously) part of, calling Singaporeans voicing dissent over the event “a disgrace”.
Now I’ve questioned initially on an FB post how is it the authorities have even considered allowing the event in a public space to take place to begin with, on basis that I’ve always thought the observances of independence day celebrations of other nationalities were supposed to take place in privately-sanctioned areas (like one’s embassy or a private ballroom), and under the auspices of an embassy or high commission; even the American community observe the 4th of July in very private events, as opposed to one that’s in a very public open area.
Since that FB post of mine garnered no responses, probably because the people I know don’t give a shit either, I leave it as that.
But if my questioning of why the Filipino community is allowed to hold their Independence Day celebrations in a public area like Ngee Ann City (as proposed) makes me a “disgusting” xenophobe in the eyes of the Prime Minister and other Singaporean supporters of this event, then so be it; and if it means my Filipino friends decided to “un-friend” me because of what I say about not giving a damn, then so be it too. This latter bit, I doubt, because the Filipino folks I know personally are really nice people, and they know I don’t mean all I’ve said thus far in a hateful way.
But after a couple of days into this whole incident, however, I decided it just wasn’t worth my time to even think about the issue, much less be bothered by it.
Truth is, I probably don’t give a fuck about whether I’m seen as a xenophobe for thinking this should not have been allowed to happen and that the event is in my opinion considerably different from the Singapore Day events held overseas (helmed by the STB to promote tourism primarily); and neither does it bother me whether or not the Pinoy/Pinay community finally get to hold their flag-waving event right smack in the middle of Orchard Road, or at the Istana grounds,because ultimately at the end of the day, it all does nothing to benefit me either way, and it is a complete waste of my time to take to either side on the issue.
It doesn’t mean anything to me because one, I am a Singaporean who’s lost faith in his own country in recent years; and two, whichever side “wins” in this debate, or any other debate that argues about the favouring of foreigners over born and bred Singaporeans, for that matter, it doesn’t make me $1 better off or worse off; what I’m really trying to say is that I probably have better things to do in my life minding the business of making myself better off than to be concerned about how xenophobic and intolerant Singaporeans have become (which I don’t think that’s the case), or how our government seems to favour foreigners with their seemingly pro-foreigner/anti-Singaporean policies (again, I don’t think that’s the case, because they’re really pro-economy in nature, not pro-foreigner).
I’m not a human rights activist, and neither am I aspiring to be a politician. What I am is a businessman trying to get ahead of the competition, so if you asked me which side I would take to in such Singaporeans-vs-FT fight bouts, my answer would be none, because it’s really none of my bloody business at the end of the day.
And don’t come tell me that people like me should give a fuck, because of my education, my background, and doing my part for the community, or that if people didn’t cared, this country is finished etc…because at the end of the day, I don’t derive any real benefits from trying to be a cyber-activist supporting either side.
Let’s put it this way: if I were some expat writer hoping to sell more books writing about life in Singapore, or if I were some local activist lawyer hoping to gain prominence for my work, then yes, I would take to the side of defending the Filipinos in this instance and make a big fuss over the “xenophobic actions” of Singaporeans and totally agree with PM Lee on how disgusting the whole incident really is.
Or if, on the other hand, I was hoping to gain street cred being part of some opposition party and getting ready to win votes at GE 2016, then I’d would start yelling “Singapore for Singaporeans” at every opportunity.
But I’m none of those. I’m better off minding my own business and spending my time doing what is best for my business interests, than to mind other people’s business, because there’s really no real economic incentive for me to do things that are directly unrelated to what I do for a living.
In fact, since I’ve reached a stage where this little island dot means nothing to me any more, nothing that goes on here ever bothers me any more, be it rising costs of living causing more people to jump off the roofs of HDB blocks, or if there’s going to be a revised population White Paper that suggests us bringing in 8 million more foreigners to boost the economy.
There was a time when I gave a thought to things like this, when I’d probably care two hoots about this country, but hey, I’m only taking the cue from the way things really are– it’s called Singapore, Inc, to quote a very famous Singaporean statesman, and like any corporation, it’s about profits that matter at the end of the day, not people; and being in business, I can totally understand where all that is coming from, and probably the best way to survive this system is taking care of your own business first. That’s what it’s all boiled down to, isn’t it: the bread and butter issues come first, before anything else.
So here’s my take: you guys on both sides can go do whatever the fuck you like, I’m just gonna sit here and decide to either laugh or cry at your little antics while sipping tequilas and puffing on Cuban cigars, if only to add a little more joy to the grudge matches.
And when you’ve finally decided whatever the hell it is you’d really like to do/be and reached a compromise or solution, well, then maybe I’ll decide if I still want to give a fuck.