parenting · Singapore

Growing to love Singapore

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.

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7 thoughts on “Growing to love Singapore

  1. same here. if i were to write a blog post, i would write similar points – except for the point about staying abroad. I haven’t.

    But in each of our travels, we take try to live amongst locals as much as possible. We take public transport and eat where they eat as much as possible. THat’s the appeal of travel to me – to live as others do in their country and to try to experience their livelihood and culture. And of course, to come home and appreciate what we have and for those parts that others do better, to try to inculcate it in our lives!

    I can’t come up with a list now of what all those pointers are (good or bad) but it’s something i find worth doing. When Ruth went to Paris, the first thing she commented while we walked the streets was “why do they draw all over the walls and anyhow throw things? (it’s not nice right?)”

    It really hit me that wow, our kids are educated in a certain way! And I’m glad they know what’s erm, ‘desirable social behaviour’? I think I’m also quite patriotic and this is where home is – no matter how many times I curse and swear at the incessant burning. ha.

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  2. Lovely post! However, on your point about migrating to another country, I have a friend who unfortunately had to move because, her spouse weren’t able to secure a PR application to stay here.

    And it is really sad because they do want to stay here and have tried different avenues such as meeting MPs etc, to no avail, unfortuntately. And to put it bluntly, like my friend pointed out, it is like the government is making herchoose between her country and her husband.

    I do hope that soon our government would re-looking at the current policy and cater to Singaporeans who have foreign spouses, and perhaps giving a special ‘dual citizenships’ so that they don’t have to be forced to choose one over the other. Considering Singapore is a global hub and there are as many foreigners as locals living here,I think this is also a good way to not only stop brain drain, but also to retain talents who have a good reason to stay in Singapore for long term (as compared to foreigners who are here for the short term going back to their home to ‘retire’ or moving on to another country after a few years.)

    At the end of the day, no one wants to be a second class citizens somewhere else (I hope!)

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    1. That is a really sad story! I also know of cases of lovely people who have lived here for like 8, 13 years, and still unable to get their PR! You are right, they should really look into reviewing the policies to accommodate people who are genuine, rather than shipping in FTs who are just out to screw Singapore and Singaporeans for what we’re worth. Hor?!

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