The Singaporean Pride: Cowpeh Cowbu!

Having spent 8 months in Brisbane, I must admit I miss Singapore food, the variety and the familiarity.
Other than that, I still prefer Brisbane.

Come Lunar New Year, I will be back in Singapore for 10 days… to visit my parents and shop!

The shitty feeling of claustrophobia, MRT squeezing and the fast-paced lifestyle healed during my 8 months overseas. Now I am coming back to re-embrace it again… just for a while. I really don’t know how am I going to react or feel about it.

But there is something I want to address, that is “The Singaporean Pride”

Steph Micayle in her youtube video wasn’t proud at all.

She is a brave one but I believe she was reckless too. However, when I was a 21 year old, was I any better?

If the video was released back in the early 1990’s or 2000. Lee Kuan Yew would have unleash the hatchet on her.

Am I proud to be a Singaporean?

Yes of course! I think some of those who aren’t could have self-esteem or personal issues. But the question is…

Am I proud of Singapore?

Frankly, not really. That’s normal actually… ask any foreigner whether they are proud of their own country? Many would would claim a NO and complain on some issues!

My best friend here, Phil, is from China. “Phil, are you proud of China?”

Phil: “I am proud of China, the emerging super power… but the government… not really, the corruption and all… can’t help it. There’s 1.4 billion Chinese and so many things to govern, time will tell.”

I asked the same question with Abu, a Bangladeshi PHD student, he said “Bangladesh has its own issues and in some ways we aren’t that advanced compared to Australia…”

Raj, the Indian who migrated to Australia said, “There is no progress or development in India, the people talk too much… some really bullshit. In every development plan, there is opposition. One would quote a law made in the 1940s to prevent any action taken, look at the rape issue, its getting worse isn’t it? Democracy isn’t working here, we should be controlled more!”

He said that in response to my comment on how Singapore is tightly controlled especially the media.

The Australians too babbled about medicare, pension, the government, just like us, err… just that we have zero benefits. As the saying goes “Don’t have, complain, have also complain, essence of Cowpeh Cowbu!”

So aren’t we better off huh???????? Again not really! So what’s our problem???

We all know we have an immigration influx problem, rich-poor gap, government-people disconnect, legal corruption and media bias. But, I am still a proud Singaporean. Look, many Singaporeans are well sought after in the job market overseas compared to other nationalities like India and China.

In general, we are better English speakers, with better etiquette, character and way more hardworking than many other nationalities. Wherever I go, in Australia, I impress the locals alot. Most locals have good impression of Singaporeans. Those who are unaware not because we are incapable, its because there are very few who dare venture out overseas for greener pastures.

Talking about creativity, resourcefulness, organization skills or ability, we DO NOT lose out to anybody intrinsically. The people are generally well-educated and well-skilled, just that opportunities in Singapore are too scarce and the government isn’t helping. In my university in Brisbane, ask any academic staff or student, most will say the Singapore students society is the biggest and the most organized society.

Its a fucking shame that we have to resort to foreign talents to buy an Olympic medal, I feel zero pride in that. Is that Li Jiawei still living in Singapore or already balik kampong back to Beijing? Our official media is keeping mum on that one. On the other hand, we have our very own local SEA games winner having zero financial support for their development… 

Then there is worse… aren’t we proud of our own local academic talents? Judging that we have the best education system as claimed by the government? Then why do they have to spend $400 million of our taxpayers’ monies on children of foreigners who have never contributed to our community? Besides, how many of these talents fuck off after bond completion? How many of them call Singapore home now? I can imagine how much the $400 million can do for OUR students, OUR citizens!

I know for sure one thing that will occur is that some elites who will be losing the electorate come 2016, will migrate overseas along with their money. Deep in their hearts, I know for sure, their shame cannot be contained by their inflated egos. “Okay, I’ve lost. Since you think you are better, you can have the shitty job of governing, the private sector overseas is far better for me anyway.” Poof, off they go. A fine example is the PAP Aljunied team who have lost to WP in 2011.

Those taking over will definitely be smitten by the rich for business concessions. Then, perhaps some problems won’t be resolved. I suspect more problems may occur, like opening a can of worms. Many of the ministries are housed by loyal PAP cahoots, so when a takeover happens, you bet shit happens.

Anyway what makes me so sure the opposition will win? You know there isn’t any cohesion among opposition themselves. Perhaps, the WP will join with the PAP to form the next government…. Then WP will really die at the PAP’s hands.

“Cowpeh Cowbu Cowpeh Cowbu… KNN talk so much, then you come back, join a political party and make the change lah” some of you readers may say that to me. “You think so easy meh, all you know is Cowpeh Cowbu only, go fly kite lah”

Well perhaps I should go back to Brisbane and fly my kite there… I merely pointed out the obvious. Cowpeh Cowbu is just Cowpeh Cowbu, love doing it!

Singapore’s addiction to foreign workers and the Fat cat syndrome

Recently I have been reading articles on large number of younger Singaporeans seeking to move overseas. Anyway, I already did.

So what’s the problem then? Is there an imbalance?

Our government says “We need foreign talents/workers to sustain our economy” blah blah… Then we have many locals say bye bye to Sg or KPKB about the FT influx.

My wise old father once told me “Son, how are you going to get your HDB at 300K – 400K price if no cheap foreign workers are here to build them? If you are the prime minister, are you going to set the minimum wage at $6 per hour for the foreign construction workers? And look at Brisbane, the roads are abit lok kok because its expensive to maintain right?

ME: “Dad, our govt charging high levies for the construction workers leh. Why don’t we stop all the levies policies, pay the workers a little higher, so we don’t get riots, shit HDB flat quality and may be cheaper flats.  Set the quota on foreign workers on different industries and sectors. i.e. Construction sector, more foreign workers, 70-80%,PMET sector, max 40-50% Singaporeans, so you most prob won’t see so many young Singaporeans leave sg. Besides, bosses will cherish and care for their workers more and give them training.”

DAD: “Look, son, you know that’s obviously not my call but you’re probably looking for some reasons why nothing much was done to our employment policies. Our public sector now function as a profit company where profit enhancement and cost reduction are rewarded in their KPIs. Conversely, if you make service, delivery of service and benefits a priority, you would probably experience lots of wastage, exploitation of benefits loopholes, low efficiency, just look at your beloved Australia, are they anywhere as efficient as us? Then again, we can’t compare both systems like an apple to an apple. Look, we Chinese are brought up to be KIASU and KIASI, making us kinda inconsiderate… i.e. If Mac Donald’s giving away free cheese burgers every month to those who can’t afford or poor, I guarantee you that even the rich will act poor to get free stuff. Wouldn’t you go for it too just for the sake of it?”

ME: “Yes I would”

DAD: “So, once the govt declares a minimum salary i.e. $6 per hour on your recommendation, leave out the construction sector, set a quota on hiring, curb levies, form unions, collective bargaining, gear towards the citizens, SOMPAH sure people still complain. Rich bosses will complain, hold govt to ransom, say “I’m relocating overseas” Rich directors with links to the govt or MPs who are also directors of the companies will face lots of problems themselves. Then you have the ungrateful citizens complaining that we should have done that sooner and will still vote them out etc. It will get worse for the ruling party. So moral of the story is don’t change anything and we get our base support there still.”

ME: “Dad, have your salary increased over the last 5-10 years?”

DAD: “A little, but son, I’m still better off than most so I’m not complaining.”

ME: “Dad, you know why we complain so much? Do you know only because of social media, our complaints can be heard? I am sure you know we can’t protest except in Hong Lim Park with a license plus our unions are non existent? Who is representing our voice really? Our MPs at the MPS? Really? We even have propaganda news trying to mislead us every day!”

DAD:“Its a universal problem, son. Democracy isn’t perfect everywhere. But I do agree that our system is alot worse in some respect, i.e. free speech.”

ME: “You know what’s happening to Singapore? WE ARE ADDICTED TO CHEAP FOREIGN WORKERS. Yes, our economy and society is powered by greed and exploitation. If I am a boss, I would find the cheapest alternative. My company is doing well, profits are good, but if you start limiting FTs, make me pay higher for locals, my profits will go down, making me increase prices, uncompetitive blah blah… I am not happy, complain complain complain threaten threaten threaten to relocate etc… WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOM.”

DAD: “The govt is afraid that Singaporeans will loose more jobs than it will create if FWs are curbed. Besides, our govt has many public projects enhancing our infrastructures like hospitals and transport system. Companies may face financial constraints and some projects may be halted or face increase in budget.”

ME: “You are wrong dad, our construction of the MCE kena over budget a few billion despite our liberal FWs policies. Its a FAT CAT addiction problem dad. These fat cats are addicted to money and more money. We citizens pay and pay in taxes, GST, ERP, COE, inflated prices after subsidies for FWs to live here and for the FAT CATS to profiteer.”

DAD: “Son, when are you going to be a FAT CAT? I could use a few dollars for my retirement. If you have a choice between rich and poor, you would choose rich every bloody time right?”

ME:“Yes, that’s why I left Sg to be one. In Sg, no chance!”