Disclaimer: This wall of text is just a personal opinion.
Recently, there have been talks about the narrow-mindedness of Singaporeans when viewing other countries. Specifically in this thread, and it made me think, why does this happen? Note, I use some Singaporeans here more liberally and should not be taken so broadly or meant to insult you. hit the back button if you think otherwise.
One thing that came across my mind is that Singaporeans lack the opportunity of choice. Everything is taken care for them from young. Let’s start with the most general case: Society.
Society dictates how you should behave, how you should act and how should you respond to things that does not conform to the norm of society. From PSLE to BTO, the lives of 99 \% of Singaporeans are mapped out and taught that way is the only way to survive in Singapore. Parents teach their children to study hard, get good grades, don’t meddle in arts or play games, work hard get into uni, get married, buy BTO, save CPF and teach their children the same thing and then what? After hoarding all that cold hard cash, what have you gained in life? You see some elderly lose their purpose in life after they stop working, so their continue to work until they die. What is the purpose of building the retirement nest, when in fact, all these has already been decided for you without you even knowing, because theire is no other choice left to go to.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t say that CPF and saving is bad. But coming back to the topic, ask yourself why do you need to save so much to survive when critics will tell you that living in Singapore is cheap and you can survive without spending a bomb? Food is cheap, public transport is cheap, and that is all you need, ever. All this is because Singaporeans cannot choose the lives they want to live or the ambitions that they want. Their only opportunity is to conform to society. Why is it so difficult you might say?
Social engineering has created a mindset that there are only four ethnic races that you need to know. Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others. The CMIO structure that is taught in schools and emphasised throughout your life. Anything that is not C,M or I is placed in a bucket called Other races. There is no distinction between a Latino or a Finn or a South African Coloured. To them, they are all from the same cultural background called Others and there are no differences among them. You are Chinese and you have to behave this way. You are Malay and you cannot serve on the Navy. You are Indian and you are… dark-skinned with other negative stereotypes that come with it (also beware that the Chinese may call the police on you if you catch one of their kids). I don’t believe that makes Singaporeans Racists but can be pin pointed as the lack of exposure to other cultures outside Singapore, especially of the West. I believe the (not so liberal) media portrays westerners in better light than one would expect, but I don’t want to discount that as a reason not to.
Yes, you can say that “but Americans can’t tell the difference between Japanese, Koreans or Chinese either!”. But are you speaking about New York City Americans, Louisiana Americans, or Utah Americans? If you generalise all Americans think the same way, then I wouldn’t expect you to agree with me. However, growing up in Singapore everyone experiences the same cosmopolitan culture, same backgrounds and same foreign influences, yet the CMIO segregation is still very prevalent in our society.
But “to hold Singapore to the same standards as other major global cities like, say London and New York, that have had almost a hundred year’s worth of experience in being international cosmopolitan centers, is a tad unfair. ”
That is up to you to decide, do we need to wait 100 years and many bloody conflicts before we catch up to the RotW? Or can we start right now and change things and not submit to your place in society?
View of the world
As mentioned in this thread, do some Singaporeans really believe go jb get robbed? Perhaps so. The general consensus is that most of the time Singaporeans are afraid to leave the comfort of their own “safety”.
Safety is something all Singaporeans take for granted. This trope is repeated time and time again. Again, in school, at home, on the media, etc. But safe from what? The alternative? What is the real alternative? or is this just because choosing another way of life in Singapore is not unheard of, but impossible. There is no rural Singapore to get away from the city life, or even a cheaper city or town to restart your life. And that is how Singaporeans view the world: One country, one stereotype. America=dangerous, western gun shooting people, expensive, Asian get discriminated, no cai png. UK=tube always break down, expensive, no *insert your favorite sg food*. Malaysia=get robbed. Other EU/NA countries=high taxes, no CPF, no HDB. Sweden/Germany/France=White people discriminate Asians. Canada=Too cold, etc…
Singaporeans will rarely get to experience the same opportunity of choice as compared to Westerners. The different lifestyles, cost of living, how they want to travel, to eat, to study, the type of work they want to do. Perhaps that is why people from the other parts of the world are so highly desired in many MNC and Singapore based companies because they have more ambitions and can make bolder statements about life and not because AMDK. Singaporeans who choose the opportunity to seek a better life in other countries either: (a) Come running back to Singapore because having to choose scares them, or (b) embraced it and get mocked by other Singaporeans, because their view point contradicts the stereotype of the countries (USA can be cheap and safe, no discrimination, etc.).
Don’t take this too harshly as a critic to your own life. If you like the way it is, I do not care, whatever suits you.
This is my only choice in life, and this must be the way it is for the rest of the world.