S’pore through the eyes of a Malaysian

BEFORE even realising it, I had worked in Singapore for more than half a year. From the time I was young, I have had inexplicable feelings about Singapore – chiefly, I think, because my mother is Singaporean.

Singapore is a prosperous nation. Managing its separation from Malaysia in 1965 must have been a highly challenging task for the new nation. Fortunately for the Republic, it was brave enough to leave Malaysia, otherwise it would not have achieved its prosperity today.

During my mother’s time in Singapore, people had to rear pigs and chickens to survive. But today, Singapore is a modern nation.

This is a case where the grass is always greener on the other side. Singapore, in the eyes of us foreigners, is an advanced nation. Perhaps many would be only too glad to become its permanent residents or citizens, but I see that many Singaporeans are unhappy with their country.

Some think it is not good enough, others think it is lousy, and yet others cannot wait to emigrate from Singapore.

This is common in life. One is never satisfied with what one has, thinking that one’s neighbour has a better deal. Singapore, which is far beyond the reach of us foreigners, is nothing but a small state to some Singaporeans.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s hope that ‘the Singapore tomorrow will be better than what it is today’ reveals his expectations for the Republic. In contrast, my country Malaysia is mired in mud, rejecting help from others.

Perhaps it does not wish to leave the mud. Malaysians do not care whether Malaysia is good or bad; they care only about themselves and their community.

Having been in Singapore for a while, I miss home. But when I compare my country with the city-state, I am really disappointed with my country.

We have potential but we are not motivated. We seem to be complacent about the current state of affairs and do not move with the times.

Everyone says Singapore is a clean nation but what I find most remarkable is Singaporeans’ self-discipline. There are some black sheep among them, of course, but the efficiency of cleaners is also a vital factor in the Republic’s famed cleanliness. Everyone here exercises discipline and does not litter, while those in charge of cleanliness are efficient and perform to the best of their ability.

Everyone says Singapore is a nation with good public order but what I am struck with the most are the well-fed and well-dressed people. Who will think of robbery when his pockets are full?

Salaries here are high, but so is spending power. The prices of goods are affordable. When people are self-reliant and lead fulfilling lives, who will want to make a reckless move?

Everyone says Singapore is a tourist destination but what I notice is the Singapore Government’s untiring efforts to promote tourism. It does so because tourism promotes spending, enhances the nation’s reputation and brings about many other benefits.

I am not blowing Singapore’s trumpet. I only hope that my motherland will take a look at Singapore. Singaporeans achieved independence later than us, thus losing out at the starting line. But why is it that they have caught up?

In life, one has to always improve and update himself. Always remember that you have to keep up with the times – and not the other way round.

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