Tuesday, March 14, 2006
  Dim sums and basketball
Ted defends his right to say nothing:

"You guys expect the sky from overseas Singaporean students. Other than the hanging of Nguyen, even for the American students overseas in other countries, they are not fantastically vocal either of GWB's hawk policy against Iraq. The most I ever seen was from a fiesty exchange American student who defended the decision to invade Iraq based on September 11 in a philosophy class, other than that they don't go around waving flags on campus. Yes granted I am describing it in Australia but nontheless it's a valid example. Sheesh.

And yes, organising basketball games and dim sum sessions are ways to gel Singpaoreans studenst overseas for those once in a while occasions,so that they won't feel too homesick. Those who don't participate in such events are able to take care of their own social lives, it's all done on a voluntary basis. Not all overseas Singaporean Student Orgs are representative of the home government's decisions nor should they be expected to defend or attack such decisions as a priori assumption/expectation."

Just to straighten things out, I don't have a problem with dim sum eating, basketball playing Singaporean students abroad. But I will say that Americans don't go around campus with a patriotic flag supporting the war namely because (a)wherever you are in the world today, you will find yourself severely outnumbered by people pissed off that Bush lied and (b) more than half of Americans did not support the war from the beginning and a report by CNN today shows that Bush is as unpopular as ever today.

You have to be one arrogant American retard to try defend the war in this year. If Bush and Blair can't even defend nor explain the absence of WMDs, how is anybody else suppose to... Some americans I come across take it upon themselves in fact to start ranting off about what an idiot Bush is. Hmmm.

The difference between the American and Singaporean student, while involving 2 completely different issues, is that everybody knows what the American probably thinks of Bush and his invasion of Iraq. Show me an apathetic American and I'll show you a Singaporean who doesn't just eat dim sum all day.

Second, and this is strictly from personal experience, Americans seem more sporadic in overseas institutions compared to Singaporeans who seem to cluster at all the popular universities en masse. Therefore it'd make more sense for a sizeable demographic of Singaporeans in Aussie to have spoken up. Take part in a protest. Join a campaign. Either way do something to show an opinion that actually matters. I completely challenge your assumption that student orgs shouldn't be held representative of their country. I challenge the embarrassing culture of apathy and the right to bear the "Singapore Society" tag and not have any association whatsover with government actions that have an impact on the outside world. The absence of politics from the Singaporean identity, whether at home or abroad, is what's completely wrong with the typical Singaporean. The definition of 'uniquely Singaporean' to me right now is for one to be completely divorced from politics...and probably know where all the good dim sum places are. And these are suppose to be the bright leaders of tomorrow?? In a recent article, Alex Au (Yawning Bread) observed how few people he saw whose minds were really at work, in any sort of meaningful way. An overwhelming majority of people immerse themselves in their own worlds, rarely bothering to explore anything else, whether it's another culture, or the political machinery. I see many Singaporeans go overseas, but sadly few ever open their minds.

See, this is the problem with eating too much dim sum and playing ball all day... Eventually you'll find you're still living in Singapore no matter where you go.
Hello! I actually responded on rench's blog again, can you just read it from there?

Hello again, here's a link to a typical young Singaporean (she seems typical) thoughts on the hanging case:

Hi Ted. I'm very well aware of what the average Singaporean thinks, and there is nothing new in her somewhat 'empty' attempt to defend the death penalty or Ngyuen's execution. If you haven't been following S'bloodypore during Nov/Dec 05, I suggest you go through our archives where we posted much relevant material that included diverse comments from both side of the fence. Another hotspot for discussion was Mr Wang's blog (see links section). You can also read my own thoughts on the issue from my November archive, which will provide you some relevant links to the aforementioned articles and hotspots.

Joo herself admits a simple reason to a complex issue. And an explanation to such an approach for a majority of Singaporeans basically boils down to a lack of understanding for human rights. Reasons are always simple when one limits him/herself to 'the law was broken. So someone must die.'
Well, I do follow the discussion at SBP and Mr Wang, apparently my contributions are quite insignificant, so that's why you don't remember my moniker.

Oh well, I being a non-law, non-int'l studies person, my arguements on those sites are only worth a grain of salt. Hehe, yeah a little self-deprecation won't hurt me.

I actually think some percentage of any overseas educated Singaporean hold views like the LALA Land blogger, that's why I put up the link. :)
Ha...that's good to hear. Then maybe if you had read the 50-comment long threads, you'll know that advocates of the death penalty run completely factual-less arguments which stem from ignorance and/or a chronic case of nationalism. Most of their arguments borderline on being offensive to their own general knowledge.

The thing is though, it doesn't take a political scientist to be able to discuss such issues on the death penalty or politics close to home. I doubt most political bloggers out there actually have sociopolitical academic backgrounds, except maybe Steve McDermott. It's just about opening your eyes to all the facts and drawing your own conclusions. Which many of the s'poreans you're referring to fail to do. The average citizen hears about some vietnamese aussie guy who carried drugs through s'pore, either from a friend or newspaper. "Big deal, it happens all the time. He should have known better." In a space of less than 60 seconds, the person has judged another human being and swiftly passed on support for his death. ANd then they hardly think about it ever again until it comes up at some coffeeshop talk. Do you see how easily Singaporeans LOVE to simplify and pass over such issues?

I may have said overseas Singaporeans failed to voice their opinion, but that's not to say few are capable of drawing up their own 60-second opinions. Which in my view are equally useless as having no opinion.
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