Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, my Singapore.


In the same way that I am more culinarily awakened, so am I in a political sense. I care more about what the Constitution says or does not say, I ponder on the role of the President of Singapore, I think that what got Singapore here today will not get us there in the future, and I wonder about our appetite for political change.

Encouraged by the relatively and increasingly higher calibre of the opposition parties, I am apprehensive yet hopeful that change is necessary and all conventional wisdom should be challenged and some long-held beliefs abandoned even, if needed. Stop using "being Asian" as an excuse and dare to disrupt convention. Be a threat to the political sacred cows around you! There seems to be a global political awakening in this past year in particular with the Middle East uprisings grabbing headlines and deep-seated unhappiness and perceptually unreported suppressions in various parts of China. My recent visit to Vietnam also opened my eyes to see for the first time that communism and pure democracy are not as black and white as the Western media would have me believe and uphold. I'm not running off to be a Viet-cong tomorrow but I am awakened to the fact that the grey area is larger than I had previously thought.

On the personal front, as I turn my back on corporate life that has served me well the past 20 years and blessed me with financial, intellectual and soul prosperity, ironically, in order that I not become a servant to the trappings that come with it, I now believe that I need to let go of it. Like my nation, what got me here today will not get me there in the future. We are both 46, and we need to change or become changed by the circumstances and people around us.

I love my country in the same way I love life and want the best for both. Singapore is still so hot at 46. Yeah, hot mama! But the flag need not always be straight. It flows with the winds of change and it can still look beautiful if not more. Happy birthday, my darling Singapore.

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