Singapore is not perfect, but it is still a good place to call home. Augustine Low writes about the need to instil love and loyalty for our country like how the Americans love their own. And he does not condone bashing in our backyard.
By Augustine Low
I can start with three.
Don’t condone bashing in our backyard: I have many foreign friends. I have no problems with them competing for jobs, jostling for MRT seats and clamouring for homes. But for them to rant and rave in our own backyard is plain rude and disgusting. A few months back, I was at a gathering where this foreigner who has been working here for several years kept going on and on about how sick he was about things here, from NEWater and taxis to public hygiene and public libraries. I could not stomach it. I told him to go back to his country if he felt that way . . . just don’t make a mockery of everything while making a living here. He looked surprised and walked off sheepishly. Chances are he would think twice about doing the same thing again. But we need to speak out.
Speak out for a better Singapore: Singaporeans making their voices heard in good faith is another matter altogether. We should not bash for no reason. And we certainly must banish the notion that when we are critical of leaders and institutions, we are anti-Singapore. We may not speak with one voice because views differ, but we speak with one heart – the yearning for a better Singapore. And let’s give credit where credit is due. Singapore is not perfect, but it is a good place to call home. We only wish for it to get better.
Instil love of country: I envy the earnest love that ordinary Americans show for their country. American patriotism is sharp and sure, anchored on the promise of individual freedom. Nearer home, I like the spirit of the Filipinos and Vietnamese in their love of country. We have some way to go. For a start, let’s instil that love in our children. Get them to respect the flag, the pledge and the anthem. And if we keep at the back of our minds the idea that we could always migrate for greener pastures and cooler climates and a less stressful education system, then our affinity to home is not sharp and sure. Let’s also not condone our sons shirking National Service responsibilities. It is a good rite of passage. Defence is integral to love of country.
Augustine Low is a former journalist with The New Paper and now owns a business in the PR industry.