Singapore Day 2011: A glimpse of home

21 04 2011

Dear World,

Phew! I just came back from my weekend in Shanghai. I spent most of it shopping but dedicated my entire Saturday afternoon at Singapore Day, dutifully enjoying myself and experiencing what had to be offered.

While waiting for the event to start, I roamed around the area, exploring MinDef’s booth, MICA’s tent, MOE’s classroom, Sports Council’s version of Pasir Ris Park (yes, Pasir Ris Park could be found in Shanghai for at least a day) and the Economic sector’s displays. I was even privalleged to take a few snapshots with Moses Lim ….which I don’t have at the moment. ūüė¶

But the real fun happened when the gates of Singapore Day opened and Singaporeans rushed for their (free) goodie bags and quickly went to reserve seats in front of the stage. While that was happening, others went lining up for the food. The people were ‘imported’ from Singapore to make local dishes as local as possible. I had my fair share with…PRATA and DEVIL’s Curry! Yum!

But really, that was not all I was there for. I learnt a great many things from the Singaporeans there. Like some of the younger ones moved to Shanghai way before they could remember Singapore.  Most of them there are Chinese too which made me wonder if they could feel Singaporean without the rest of Singapore. I did get to meet one Indian family around the end of the day, exclaiming that they feel very connected with the Singaporean community there but there really is no place like home.

Home. That’s all it is really. Singapore Day allowed Singaporeans to have a glimpse of home even if it was for a few hours. From the best local food to the sports, economic and educational scenes in Singapore as well as the highlights of the Army, the event was just to allow everyone to soak in as much of the Singapore environment created as possible.

In collaboration with Total Defense Day ( or at least I think it was in collaboration with Total Defense Day) the representatives at the MinDef booth had white boards with the words “HOME is…” and asked Singaporeans to fill it up.¬†¬†That was a tough task for many. While it may bring back many wonderful memories of what Singapore meant that they could not fill the board up, others may have found it more difficult. Home, to me, is where the heart is and for many living in Shanghai it may not be completely in Singapore. So what do we do now?

I loved the event for one reason and one reason alone. If home is where the heart is, then at least the event warmed many hearts( and homes). If I was living in Shanghai my whole life and only remember parts of Singapore then the idea of ‘home’ becomes difficult to define, especially if you HAD to pick one place. However, I am sure everyone misses Singapore ( or parts of it) and craves for their favorite Chicken Rice which only is the¬†best in Singapore ( why do you think they ran out of Chicken rice in 2 hours?).

Everyone was warmed that day. Everyone embraced being Singaporean and the food and the free durian and the celebs and games and everything. It felt like I never left Singapore! Even if I was 10mins away from the central city of Shanghai.

Now, if only Singapore was 10 mins away from Shanghai…..



While the world is learning Mandrian, China is learning English

20 04 2011

Dear world,

I cam across this page in the Shanghai Daily while on my trip. It was dedicated to the debate of the use of the English Language in China. Youngsters there practise English everyday and now start to fuse pharses of English into Mandrian, annoying much of the older generation. The page even debated the pros and cons of using English as a franca of business.

The lost of other languages vs. Increased economic growth

Tough fight, right?

Oh, fun fact for you. The only reason the English language became popular and is now wide spread was because it is flexible. Many words came from latin, french and allow the intergration of Malay, Italian, etc.

So here’s the debate of the day.

While the rest of the world is learning Mandrian, China is learning English. It is not really a debate, more of an interesting fact. I am not kidding here, it is a fact. You have seen those advertisments where cocasian children are speaking fluent Mandrian. There is no denying that the rest of the world is FULLY aware that China will soon become an Economic Super Power and we are willing to suck up to them as much as we can.

But, let’s turn the tables. China is now trying to accomadate for the majority of the English speaking economies to remain competitive. Althought it is still a slow process, as I had an issue with language while I was there. Slowly but surly China will become the number one English speaking country in the world.

But sucking up to them wont be so bad too right?

(P.S. Draftng my Singapore Day post now. Will have it up in a day or 2)

Youths & the Web

3 04 2011

Dear world,
I have… I suppose you can say an associate who is very involved in our generation’s latest toy. The Internet. She is currently doing preparing for a presentation concentrating on social media and one of the many examples we give when we hear the words Social Media is Facebook.
Her tweets currently are focused on how her parents don’t understand her interest in the internet and connecting the world through this medium.
So now the question at hand: why are youths so keen on making the web part of their daily lives and should this be embraced?

It would be arrogant to believe that the internet hasn’t touched every corner of the globe and that it isn’t a useful, convenient and fast medium of communication. In fact, the older generation is well aware of this. Smart phones, PCs, laptops and not e-books are life examples of how the Internet has achieved the one thing many would want to achieve. World domination.
The reason for this is because of the internet’s flexibility. It doesn’t dominate, suppress laws/ideologies and people have their own say. Hence its successful world dominance.
One must understand that before considering why youths of today are so keen to be online 24/7.
As seen in the middle east, Facebook was used as a medium of freedom fighting, allowing many to stand up for what they believe in, allow them to fight for their rights and their future. Even as individuals blog, the world is changed. People are influenced by writings, images, video , etc. Many wonder how we can push the content on the web to help make a difference in the world, from changing ideologies to combatting political injustice. Even if one wishes not to look at it on a large-scale, youths share talents via Youtube or quotes via twitter. You alter perspectives, taste, morals,  ideas, etc just with a click of a button.

It is because of this seemingly unlimited freedom of expression that youths are willing to be online all the time. To add to that, as long as their social circle is on the web, they will join in. That’s how facebook markets itself anyways, right?

This interactive and convenient medium of expression is what draws youths much like how honey attracts bees. I believe there is really no stopping it.

So does that mean we should embrace it as our future? Well, I don’t see any other alternative route around it. We either ride the wave and have a blast or we get washed away by this massive tidal wave. Youths and adults working in social media and new media industries are well aware of this. Many may argue that with this media comes lack of censorship which may lead to negatively influencing users and I understand their concerns. But that is not the issue here. We have to understand that there are youth that have opinions, voices , ideas, views.

They want to help build a better world. Parents who do not understand this will then not understand the significance a person can make. Before you had to be brave and do something out of the norm to make a difference. Now any one can do it. Anyone can fight for rights. Anyone can have vivid discussions. Anyone can be a superhero.

As childish as it sounds, we all want to be a superhero and we have the easiest and fastest medium to do so. So we embrace it.

If you still aren’t convinced that we can change the world and be heroes with ease, then believe me when I say I wrote the first 3/4 of this post with my I-phone in the train on my way to the library.



1 04 2011

Dear world,

Has anyone read The Straits Times? Apparently there will be a Yale-Nus collaboration here in Singapore, where liberal arts will the the main focus of the new campus. Not a bad idea right?

However, several Yale professors believe that this collaboration comprimises Yale’s values and beliefs. The main Yale campus is situated in the United States which has a more liberal approach to freedom of expression as compared to Singapore. This does not restrict the U.S¬† campus from educating students in an open environment. However, how will the same courses function in a completely different social context?

Well, I am not too sure. Surely not many simillar issues can be discussed or questioned as openly in Singapore as compared to the U.S. that is for sure. Liberal arts is suppose to give students a more in depth view of the world, and have many prespectives, which benefits students. Singapore also becomes a hub for education in which internation students may flock to Singapore just to persure a Yale-NUS education. Asian will eventually benefit. As this campus becomes bigger and more popular, cohorts will grow bigger over the years and the labour force will be more open to internation events.

However, is Yale on the losing end? They gain a partner when venturing into Asian teritory. They encourage more students in Asia to persue a liberal arts course. They may (or may not) be influencing the future of Asia in the economic world. But now are their beliefs really comprimise?

It may seem this way. Singapore is relatively more conservative than U.S.A. (sociology students would get upset by this statement). Thinking is slightly different, breaking our ideologies may be a challenge. However, I do not completely undertand why Yale would be disadvantaged by this. Call me biased but wouldn’t we( the asians)¬†be disadvanged. By my understanding, some of the Yale professors have willingly agreed to teach in the new campus. What if some of their¬†ideologies clash with the ones students have? Possible conflict may be. I doubt so. May be a heated debate. Professors are there to help with simulation of the brain. Not give answers.

I think if they offer a theatre course, I will like to apply.