family life · Singapore

What can you do for your country?

A letter in the recent Straits Times’ Forum, entitled “Let’s end this season of discontent“, summarised my feelings over the past 2 elections, which has made my heart heavy with worry and concern. As a mother, I find I’m much more concerned about the values of our society and the legacy that we leave behind for the next generation.

As a friend of mine put it so aptly, it’s more important how we voted rather than who we voted for. Did we vote out of hate, begrudging, discontent for the opposition just because they aren’t the incumbents? Did we make a political vote? Did we consider the past and the future with rational thinking rather than emotional?

And most importantly, did we think about what is best for society as a whole? Sure, there are many flaws in our political system, but there are no perfect systems, and ours is certainly not at the bottom of the list in the world. I can probably think of a thousand reasons why I really love my country, and I know of others who can give another thousand more.

Maybe your team did or didn’t win, but what matters most is, did and does Singapore win? I like to think so – a continuity of the ruling party means more stability politically and economically, but at the same time, so many people (like myself) have become more politically aware, and the incumbents certainly have started to sit up and listen.

In my time, The X-Files was one of the highest rated shows on TV. In one episode, Mulder and Scully encounter a genie, and Mulder is given a chance to make a wish. He wishes for peace on earth, and then finds that there is no one else on earth. Scully is the one who reflects that maybe the purpose of life on earth is to achieve happiness and betterment for all.

In the recent Midnight in Paris movie, Gil slowly comes to realise that his folly of a romantic notion that a time other than his (in this case it’s the 1920’s that he loves) is better, and decides to work on the now, rather than living in the past.

We are lucky that we have a chance to make a change. We have so much more power in a sense, than say countries rife with starvation, political unrest, and the like. As J.F. Kennedy said so famously in his 1961 speech – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. That, and oh, I do wish some people would just quit whining already.


2 thoughts on “What can you do for your country?

  1. Nicely put. 🙂

    I guess perhaps people have been so oppressed previously, with the lack of social media or other outlets where they could ‘have their voices heard’, that when they have the chance to have their opinions be heard, they relish in the power to voice their 2 cents worth – good or bad.

    With time, I think people will be more savvy and responsible when voicing their opinions. We can only hope that citizens become more aware of the power they have when it comes to voting, and vote wisely come 5 years time.


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