Home News Featured News Why Singaporeans criticise and condemn

Why Singaporeans criticise and condemn

- Advertisement -

By Augustine Low

Emotion can be a powerful thing. But it is also a double-edged sword.

A 2012 Gallup Poll suggested that Singaporeans were the least emotional people in the world. It painted a picture of Singaporeans as robotic and dispassionate.

On the other hand, South Koreans prize their emotional temperament. There is heavy emoting on Korean film and TV. In sports, Korean passion is unmatched – even die-hard European soccer fans were astonished at the ebb and flow of Korean emotion for the game during the 2002 World Cup.  And in politics, debates frequently descend into shouting matches or even brawls at the National Assembly.

- Advertisement 1-

It all came to a boil in the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster. There was unrestrained fury at the government. Victims’ families vented their anger and frustration, throwing water bottles at the Prime Minister and hurling abuse at the President. They also denounced rescue efforts, officials and journalists. Some families even hired their own divers to look for survivors, angry with the slow progress made by government-hired divers.

The country’s highest circulation newspaper gave an analysis of what has transpired.

“These terrible tragedies keep happening because Korean society has focused only on fast progress, while treating safety regulations as a hindrance,” said the Chosun Ilbo. “The government, businesses and the whole of society need to reflect on these fatal shortcomings . . . we are ‘palli, palli’ (‘hurry up, hurry up’) people and we have done so much in a short period of time.”

Both locals and expatriates also see a hardware-software mismatch in a country whose stunning transformation from war-torn, peasant backwater in the 1950s to high-tech industrial powerhouse in the 1990s took just four decades. While South Korea’s manufactured goods and high technologies are impressive, some procedures, systems and mindsets lag behind.

Singapore, like South Korea, has also come far in just four decades.  There are lessons and parallels we can draw, especially the recurring lapses in safety and security, the strain on transport infrastructure and the stresses caused by the huge influx of immigrants.

Singaporeans have for sometime now felt that to ‘hurry up, hurry up’ all the time, to seek progress at all cost, could lead to unintended consequences.

- Advertisement 2-

In essence, not habitually giving vent to emotion can be a saving grace for Singaporeans. It helps to temper passion with reason. It helps that we unleash criticism and condemnation at the authorities or the government for a reason, and not hold them accountable for each and everything gone wrong.

Singaporeans may not be an emotional lot (although it is far-fetched to say we are the least emotional people on earth).

But when the gloves come off, it is not because Singaporeans simply love to complain, as the government has said numerous times. More often than not, the complaints and criticism come with good reason and good intention. We ought to at least give ourselves credit for that.Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Read More

Woman feels resentful and jealous of ‘carefree’ boyfriend earning S$12K a month, nearly 5X her pay

Singapore -- A woman earning significantly less than her boyfriend wrote that she could not help but feel resentful and jealous of him. In an anonymous post to the popular confessions Facebook page NUSWhispers, she her boyfriend had a high...

TikToker surprised to see SAF PT shorts featured in Shopee’s CNY sale

Singapore — Well, the shorts are red, after all.  And maybe someone at Shopee believes that wearing the dri-fit shorts used for physical training at...

Buy fish if you can’t afford chicken, President Halimah once said: Netizens point to pomfret’s pre-CNY price of $100 per kilo

Singapore -- As the price of premium fish such as pomfret and red grouper soar exponentially ahead of Chinese New Year, several netizens have...

‘Proud of my contribution to Singapore law’ — Lim Tean celebrates pub case win

Singapore — Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean called a judgment handed down by the High Court on Thursday (Jan 27) as one of...

Man rescues mynah with cable ties on mouth & legs in Pasir Ris

Singapore — A man walking along Pasir Ris Street 71 on Jan 15 spotted a Javan mynah with a cable tie on its mouth...

Woman feels resentful and jealous of ‘carefree’ boyfriend earning S$12K a month, nearly 5X her pay

Singapore -- A woman earning significantly less than her boyfriend wrote that she could not help but feel resentful...

TikToker surprised to see SAF PT shorts featured in Shopee’s CNY sale

Singapore — Well, the shorts are red, after all.  And maybe someone at Shopee believes that wearing the dri-fit shorts...

Buy fish if you can’t afford chicken, President Halimah once said: Netizens point to pomfret’s pre-CNY price of $100 per kilo

Singapore -- As the price of premium fish such as pomfret and red grouper soar exponentially ahead of Chinese...

‘Proud of my contribution to Singapore law’ — Lim Tean celebrates pub case win

Singapore — Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean called a judgment handed down by the High Court on Thursday...
Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg