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Singaporeans and their concerns…

January 9, 2010

Today, after my morning breakfast meeting with Deliang, Sharon, Eileen and Heather (all of whom I am conducting a workshop with on the 16th of January and will post up details about it soon) at Holland V, I went down to town with my parents and younger sister for the Australian Universities open house by IDP at Hilton Hotel. My dad wanted me to drop off a cheque at the Amex counter at Tangs so I made a detour and tried to catch up with the rest of my family as they headed over to Hilton from Shaw where we parked.

Obviously I couldn’t catch up and was kinda enjoying my afternoon stroll along our busiest and most famous shopping streets in Singapore while I overhead a conversation between two guys in their early 30s. I guess I’m not surprised somewhat over what came up in their conversation but I am quite disturbed that such a topic becomes part of the daily concerns of Singaporeans. It goes to show perhaps how little people are aware of the larger issues that plague us as human beings and how narrow-minded we can be. Really.

So this is how the conversation went:

Guy A: Yeah I should have bought that car lah!

Guy B: Which model is that? Thought you have that one already?

Guy A: Yeah I have the 3L one but the 3.5L Subaru Tribeca is out already and aiyah should have waited but my wife wanted me to buy at that time!

Guy B: Is it? Yeah lah, I guess you happy can already… Nowadays we work so hard… Time to enjoy the little pleasures in life!

Err… OK.

Subaru Tribeca 3.6L

So sure the new Subaru Tribeca (ahem) 3.6L looks great and has all these great features which you can read about here (from a Singaporean perspective no less!). But honestly, do you need a 3.6L car as an upgrade from a 3L one? Isn’t 3L pretty luxurious already? And not to mention really really bad for the environment? Yeah you may ask me if I drive and I won’t lie to you, cause I do. And really, it’s not about the cars or the models or whether or not we deserve to enjoy life after we’ve worked so hard.

But what about the larger things in life?

Poverty

Famine

Deforestation

Gender inequality and womens' rights

Pollution and Climate change

 There are probably more that I have not mentioned or ones to which their extents cannot be captured fully with just pictures (e.g. slums and wide scale poverty). I guess the main reason why I was disturbed by the above conversation was that it felt that we as Singaporeans have come to take things for granted.. so much so that we forget that we share the world with 6 BILLION other people. We trick ourselves into thinking we are self sufficient and sustainable, clean and green…. but are we really? We fail to recognize that we are not and real issues need to be addressed daily. The people who ensure our energy, water, land and food security go un-noticed and more importantly… UNQUESTIONED. Maybe it’s time we start questioning where our daily necessities come from rather than be content with it, and take for granted that we can enjoy this state of luxury forever! Instead, we need to stop wasting time talking about how life can be made better here in Singapore where the quality of life is already so high! What about improving the lives of others or doing our bid towards climate change or cutting our consumption levels? What are we really doing as a society?

While on the outside it appears that we’re an advancing society and economy.. but really we’re not. Our population is just as backward and stuck in thought. Feel free to comeback at me with this but I am worried that if this continues… we will only have ourselves to blame for the consequences that follow our inaction.

We’re working on our workshops and post-COP15 strategies as a team but we definitely need the support of fellow Singaporeans and youths towards our cause, without whom will we not succeed. So join us!!!

Mel

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 10, 2010 5:23 pm

    Great article, Mel. Absolutely agree that there are larger things in life to desire, strive for and work towards. The best part is that these things last and matter the most. I think the things we want inevitably reflects the people we are. What does it say about our humanity if we place a higher premium on the latest car than we do on the environment?

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