Note: This post was drafted on 24 May. And it’s a ranting post (i.e. not very rational).
Attending talks, forums and dialogues leaves me feeling conflicted – hopeful, yet at the same time, despairing. Hopeful, because I meet people of like minds, many youths as well; Despairing, because all that we cherish and hold dear is disappearing faster than the “change” (that happens far too slowly)
Many people have asked me if I’ll come back to Singapore (after my undergraduate studies). Some tell me, don’t come back, there’s nothing here anyway! (How wrong they are) While others say, come back, we need more people like you. To come back to Singapore or not?
I think I will, eventually. Maybe after I work else where for a while. After all, I grew up here, I’ve seen how the community has grown, the people are here, relationships are here. But it seems that everyone who leaves usually doesnt come back, or even if they do, they get broken by the system so quickly. I want to go out for the diversity and experience, to know what the community is like overseas, to learn what I can learn and hope that at least when I come back, I can try to make things better.
Hopefully by the time that happens, not everything will be lost yet.
And it’s all linked. If you want something to happen, to change, you start from the ground. But it’s also a top-down approach. People up there need to care. And then they change things, policies, things for the better.
Maybe that’s why I’m starting to get interested in politics and policies, because I don’t like how things DON’T change.
I have a voice, and I’m not afraid to use it; never have been (though I usually stay on the politically correct side of things). But what’s the point when I can’t? Is it better to be somewhere where I know about issues, but cannot kick up a fuss about them? Or to be out there somewhere kicking a fuss about something I dont really know about?
Maybe that’s why many times people circumvent it. You meet people, socialise, network, hear things, discuss things. But let those outside who can do it, do it. While those inside, just try not to give so much trouble? I don’t know.
I don’t want to end up black-listed, to meet dead ends and road blocks where ever I try to engage. Maybe that’s why some try to keep their heads low, to go under the radar, and change things quietly without notice and a big fuss.
They pretend to engage and consult, but really, there is little that can be changed. And you can’t say anything about it. Certain things that you want to let people know, that you think people should know or be more aware of (even though it’s already public information). But you cannot, because what you say is regulated. What then, is the point of engaging and consulting? For one, there is self-regulation and self-censorship, I know what I cannot say and what I should say. For another, it’s just pretending to give you freedom of speech while still controlling what is said.
And I understand, because they don’t want things to leak out and get out of hand. Because some people might misinterpret and disaster happens. Or something. And the government is all about pre-empting. What about the environment? Or does it only matter when it comes to high rise greenery?
They’re taking away all our wild places, slowly, one by one, piece by piece, quietly and surreptitiously. The people who know it can’t say anything much; the people who don’t know it, well, dont! (Note: this was written in May, before the issue of the Pasir Ris Greenbelt issue came about. I stand corrected and hopeful!) And replacing it with urban green spaces, more manicured gardens and parks, so it looks like we’re not getting deprived of wild spaces. But it’s all a facade, a lie.
I don’t know about others, but I don’t want manicured gardens everywhere. I need a piece of wilderness, a part of Singapore. Sure, I can go to Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo and get plenty of it (if they survive development as well), and possibly better too. But there is some sense of pride, in having a place like that in Singapore.