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I should be doing so many things right now (i.e. cleaning up the 1m tall stack of papers on my desk, study for the two tests I have this week and completing my lit essay that’s due this friday) but I feel that I need to write about this like now, or I’ll never do it. So lately ( for about um 3 years?) I’ve been feeling suffocated living in Singapore. I mean, really physically. Well, perhaps not really to the extent of not being able to breathe, but I physically feel like that you know? (And I’m not talking about the air quality index) And I’m not even going to begin on the government, but I want to write about Singaporean society. Of course, most of my friends and family are cool (well not cool cool but okay cool you know), but the condemnatory and judgemental society here in Singapore just disgusts and horrifies me and I really cannot cannot cannot stay here anymore.
Firstly, Singaporean society is SO homophobic. I’m aware that lots of Singaporeans aren’t homophobic and lots of them are gay but what scares me is the HUGE amount of people in Singapore that are so casually homophobic. Usually I’m unaware of this because I’m on the internet all the time and my school is mostly full of rather accepting people, but once in a while I’ll hear a classmate or my tuition teacher or a relative or some random internet person say something HORRIFYINGLY hateful. The worst things are when people say gay people ‘disgust’ them. It just confuses and saddens me. The other day, some of my friends from school were discussing how a gay person was ‘gross’ and yesterday, my tuition teacher launched off into a tirade about how he was so disgusted by a gay couple in a table next to him at a fast food restaurant, he had to change seats. Perhaps these people feel this way towards homosexuals because of their religion, but even if you feel it’s wrong, how is it disgusting? I just cannot wrap my head around how this is repellent to anybody. It’s not like gay people are always making out in front of you, or forcing you to join them. They’re just in love with people who happen to be of the same gender. Okay, I’m sure I’ll regret talking about religion, but I will anyway. God tells you that it is wrong to be gay, and you accept that and somehow choose not to be. But he also tells you to love your neighbour, and shunning people and calling them disgusting is not loving them. Jesus never shunned people for their sins, he sacrificed himself for them because he loved them. And I doubt he called them disgusting. I mean, at least he wasn’t nasty to them. I think judgement should be made only by God, but if you really felt that you had to tell someone who they are is a sin, couldn’t you do it nicely with some baked goods or have a nice chat with them instead of declaring them to be disgusting? And how sad is it that people have so much hate for someone’s love? I can’t bear being someplace where this is so widespread, and I’M NOT EVEN GAY. Imagine how gay people feel here.
I also hate how judgemental Singaporeans are towards people who are not married. Last year, while researching Singapore’s declining birth rates for a presentation in class, I found out that the Singaporean government only award ‘baby bonuses’ to children born in wedlock. This just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand why marriage is important out of a religious context and this being a secular state, the government shouldn’t govern our morals. It’s not just morals. Is a child born out of wedlock less important or deserving than a child born in it? It’s not like giving this money to children out of wedlock would encourage people to raise children irresponsibly, the money can only be spent on the child’s education. This policy doesn’t support single parents as well. Any parent would want the best from their child, and any single parent keeping their child, any single person raising a child on their own, and any couple keeping a child they had out of wedlock or choosing to have one out of wedlock would surely have the child’s best interests in mind, and being Singaporean citizens, I think the government’s job is to support these people and their children. And oh yeah, the government gives priority to married couples with children for HDB flats. I’m aware that I’m talking about the government here, and not society. But the government’s views reflect that of majority of Singaporean society: Stagnant, archaic and oppressive. If many Singaporeans felt wronged by this, they could easily share their views with the government or work to change things. Some have, protesting or talking about changing laws, but I’m pretty sure most Singaporeans would hesitate because they would not risk their reputations and go out and do that, but would rather ‘save face’ and return home and be content complaining about the government without making actual change, which brings me to my next point, about how Singapore’s society values money and reputation above all else.
This can be seen firstly from how, at a young age, children are forced to undertake a major examination that will organise them based on their results and determine their fate and quality of education for the next four years. The PSLE has so many wrong things with it, and instead of declaring it abhorrent and not at all beneficial to kids, Singaporean parents respond by placing their 12 year olds under a tremendous amount of stress to succeed on one exam. Granted, the government has been *attempting* to make it less stressful and not revealing top scorers. But nobody is looking at the main issues under this: The ‘kiasu’ attitude our society has towards academics and what we’re teaching kids about what’s important in life.
I’m sure there are many more reasons why I cannot stay here but It’s 11 on a Sunday night and I have to be up early for school tomorrow. I would like to end by saying that I love Singapore. When I think of Singapore, I think of Katong and all the beautiful shophouses and eating food (kueh kueh kueh) and celebrating every culture. But I also think of how people are hostile and mean and judgemental and that suffocating feeling comes back and I think of how I need to be somewhere else and I can’t not be somewhere else and perhaps I should embrace a little of that kiasu-ness right now, get off my ass and study so I can go someplace better. Maybe things are changing, and in a few years time I’ll turn around and be like, ‘Hey! All these problems are gone! That’s great!’ but looking at our society right now, I think a few years is probably a few decades and that makes me sad.
Okay, let’s think of some happy things! I went to see Joss Stone’s concert here two nights ago and her voice is amazing and she’s so sweet and pretty and funny and I had so much fun! Also, kittens and sloths and puppies are adorable! And animals don’t judge 🙂
Also, Ryan Gosling!
It was so hard to choose from the google image searches of kittens, puppies, sloths and Ryan Gosling, because all the pictures were perfect and beautiful.
OMG THIS NEXT PICTURE IS PERFECTION (except for the wild Evan Rachel Wood in between him and the sloth pls leave)
Okay, It’s really late now, goodnight!