In my last post, I wrote about what Singapore means to me. Many of us will readily say, that we love Singapore because it is our home. For many of us, our love and appreciation has grown over the years, especially after becoming parents.
How can we grow the next generation to love and appreciate our country as much as we do? Certainly traveling will help – coming out of our shell and seeing how things work differently from us, experiencing new things, meeting new people… Living abroad has even more of an impact, having to live like a local (or even an expat), is always so different from being on holiday. Unless, of course, you’re like that stranger I met that day who proclaimed she’s lived in Singapore for 15 years (no mistake, I double checked), but asked me, “How does this whole HDB thing work?” But that’s another story.
I will agree that to some extent, traveling and living abroad definitely broadens one’s horizons, but I have often wondered that if Singaporeans are as well travelled as we claim to be, why is it so many people aren’t as appreciative of what and how our country is? Why is it that often we are more critical of ourselves than our foreign friends and admirers?
I know people who are widely travelled and who have also, like me, lived in other countries. I once snorted, and probably almost choked, at a friend’s half serious suggestion of migrating. They had a couple friend who were migrating, and jut threw out the random idea of migrating too.
In my youth, we lived overseas for a few years, and given a choice, I would not mind doing it again. Although given the nature of my husband’s job we decided we would not even consider me taking a posting if the opportunity came up because we don’t believe a married couple should be separated, and it wouldn’t do his career much benefit if he were away (unless perhaps he was studying), but that’s also another story for another time 🙂
But migrating? Never. Ever since I have remembered, I have been very patriotic. I am so proud, I will never ever willingly give up my passport. Is it because I have lucky to have been traveling since I was 4 months old in the mid-70s? Or that I’ve lived abroad for almost 8 years before I even started work?
I suspect it comes down to one little thing – that all these years, wherever we go, whatever we do, my parents have been quietly reminding us to enjoy the moment, but count our blessings. I can still hear my mum’s voice in my head saying, that while you’re on holiday a country can seem so much more appealing, but living in it is different altogether.
And that’s something I intend to pass on to my kids. I want them to go out and experience all the world has to offer, but I hope they will always remember where is home, and why it’s worth fighting for.