Monday, 10 August 2009

Poetry and the Singapore Debate

There is considerable debate taking place in the Singapore media about Singapore and its future.

To some extent, the debate has been sparked by people like me - recent immigrants who are not born and bred in the city-state. Maybe if I spoke some Singlish I would not stand out so much or perhaps there is some resentment as some of us are exempt from the National Service (Singapore's National Service, Private Mohan Das and Social Harmony) requirement - a key part of the 'Singapore Experience' for males.

Pilots Claim US Airways Puts On Pressure To Cut Fuel

Singapore Airlines, an iconic symbol of the nation

Making a place 'home' is much like getting married. There is a belief that this is 'the one' and since we have to grow old and die somewhere then this is the best choice.

Of course, immigration is about economic opportunities too but ultimately making a long term future for oneself concerns more than just money. Not all of us are mercenaries by nature.

Like a good poem, a home must somehow strike a chord which is not easily expressed through rational thought. We can try and pretend the decision is based purely on reasoning (A Few Reasons Why Singapore Became Home) but is that really the case?

Even in the best of times, life altering decisions tend not to be logical or coherent!


A sampling of the debate through the columns of Singapore's main English daily newspaper, The Straits Times:

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