Tuesday, November 14, 2006

There's a certain young person by the name of Lee, a permanent resident happy to go home to America, never to set foot on S'pore soil again. He's so proud to be American, so different from the rest of us, and yet, the nature of his complaints are so Singaporean, I think we brainwashed him better than he thought. It's pitiful.

His first anecdote about life in S'pore is about his trauma at being forced to sing our National Anthem. Like the rest of our students don't go through this experience? Getting them to sing early in the morning is like pulling teeth but we go through the ritual anyway. So what does he do to cope? He opens his mouth but doesn't say the words.

His response tells us a lot about his discomfort living here. He sings the anthem, but not really. He doesn't believe in it, he doesn't engage in it, he doesn't live it, and guess what? The consequence is, he feels left out, apart, alone. No wonder he's not happy. It's like what he's doing in his blog entry: mouthing off, but the words aren't actually coming out.

So he's pissed off at having to serve NS. What? Just because he's American born means he's exempt from serving community time for the community he's living in? After all, he admits he has a S'porean IC, so regardless of whatever has been written as his "Place of Birth", what matters more is, what's his current address?

The rest of his complaints are so familiar to us. We hear them in taxis, kopitiams and mahjong tables until they've become almost a part of our (apparently) non-existant culture. He complains about our govt, the poor standard of the Opposition in politics, the poor standard of spoken Mandarin... he's so at home with us whether he wants to admit it or not.

Ironically, he signs off as being from the "land of the free and the home of the brave." That's a bit of an insult to the US Marines actually facing life and death situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and elsewhere around the world. It smacks George Washington in the face, whose citizen militia won American freedom. How brave can he be if he can't even take our NS training?

And he knows nothing about what being free means. According to John F Kennedy, "The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission." With his eyes always on the escape hatch -- going home to America -- our friend, Lee, looks like he can't wait to wave the white flag and retreat to what he thinks his home is.

Honestly, I'm no big patriot. I just think that with his attitude, Lee will never be able to call any place "home", whether here, or the US of A.

Oh, btw, his blog: http://leeeeeeeee.blogspot.com/2006/11/growing-up-in-singapore.html

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