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the singaporean identity

i was reading the newspapers this morning on my way to meet chew at lavender to collect our passports before heading back to camp for a sweep, when i came across this article that explored the singaporean identity. on the advent of our 42nd national day, the author attempts to explore what has made life so singaporean in the last few decades of his existence on this island nation.

so what is it exactly that makes us singaporean? 20 years on, i can only hope to postulate that what i've been through bears a semblance to what life is as a singaporean. i don't speak for many people i guess. i've had the privilege of completing my entire education in a few of the top educational institutions this country offers. so yes, people do label me an uncaring and elite-loving teenager, but i think that that's a misconception that has embedded itself in the minds of many people. how do you tag someone based on a system that everyone has been subjected to? stop the comparison and appreciate everyone for the effort and work that has been put in. no one gets to where they are by chance. family backgrounds and each individual's traits determine how far they get in life and this adds to the diversity of the population.

education hangs loosely on the mouths of singaporeans. now with the primary school balloting in progress, it merely highlights how we see education as an utmost priority. starting with a sound and solid foundation sets the basis for a kid's future and growth. chinese high taught me values that i could never have learnt elsewhere, and i'm thankful for a somewhat chinese education that grounded me in confucian ethics and principles. so if you ask me what moulds the singaporean identity, i would say education plays a participating role in that definition, and sets the groundwork for a further exploration of a label.

singaporean men cannot dissociate themselves from a phase in life known as national service. loathe it or love it, but it's a phase that all guys have to go through. it's a period when boys do grow into men, as cliched as it may be, but boys mature through the process of accepting a hierachy that's new to them, and of accepting a duty that bounds them to the nation. as unwilling or reluctant one may be, it is a calling that he cannot run from, and the process of "sucking thumb" becomes second nature that indeed toughens you up. it's when routine becomes familiarity, and being duty-bound you discover yourself in the toughest of trainings, and the most boring of labour. that's part two of breeding a national identity, of having to go through a period of 2 years, a sacrifice on many counts of precious months dedicated to the servitude to the nation, as you immerse yourself and play a role in the contribution to the defence of the country.

so what else have i been through as a twenty year old, other the rigour of the education system and national service? i'm really not too sure.

ok, this is when i pause coz i'm getting distracted and i'm getting too lazy to think and type anything. i'm thinking of my half completed harry potter book sitting in the corner of my room. bought it at parkway this afternoon before my sweep and was reading it the whole time till i came home. been reading it real slowly, absorbing every single word of it, and enjoying the immensity that is the culmination of all tales.

i think i'll stop here now. back to reading. will write more of the singapore identity when i'm done with potter. ooh, the excitement.

“the singaporean identity”