Monday, August 10, 2009

Thoughts - National Day 09' of a 'World City'

9th August is the National Day for Singapore. In the midst of all that celebrations and the party mood of the 'biggest' party of the year, somehow I don't exactly feel the same pride (for being a Singaporean) as I used to be. I remember that as a kid I sang these National Day songs proudly (e.g. Count on Me Singapore ... remember these songs?) and the feeling is somehow different.

Somehow I no longer feel this place as warmly (as I should). Driving along Little India on a Sunday evening always reminded me how much I missed the Singapore I know. Just a few days back I was on bus 857, and it surprised me that during the short 20 minutes when I was on the crowded bus, I actually didn't understand a single word that was being said by my fellow commuters. I recognised the Thai accent, the Bangla accent, and of course the dialects of workers from China (i.e. not hokkien or teo chew or cantonese). The two times when I was being served in a food place (a foodcourt in a mall, and later in a chinese restaurant) today, I was being greeted in a heavily accented Mandarin.

It made me feel like I am a tourist. Watching the National Day celebration on TV, coupled with all these happenings, made me feel like I am watching the celebratory event of a different country.

I don't think I am the only one feeling that I am a tourist in my own land of birth. There is this excellent comic 'Resident Tourist', that is captivating precisely because I think the readers can relate to so much things described in the comic.

It is interesting to know I am not the only one who think that something has gone wrong here in the little island, that makes its own citizens feeling so out of place in the land of their birth.
There are these blog posts by oikono, titled 'Where are the Singaporeans left?', and 'The Hawker and the Banker'. Not just this blogger, but another blogger (the famous Blinky Mummy) had something to say about the state of professional life.

I do miss Singapore, a strange sentiment, becasue I am currently in Singapore living the 'Singapore' (note: not Singaporean but Singapore) lifestyle.

I think Singapore has indeed become a 'World City'. Not global city in the sense of the New York or London or Tokyo but a 'World City'. 'World City' in the sense of being a minature world with no identity of its own (unlike New York or London or Tokyo). Crossing the island from Hougang, to Little India, to Tampines, to East Coast, gave me a feeling of having completed an international tour somehow.

I think the original Singapore is lost in the present little red dot.

Ironic, because this little red dot is actually quite small.

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