Thursday, July 07, 2005

Conspiracy Theory 4: Self-identity

This is the search for Singapore's identity. Is it true that Singapore has got no self-identity. Let's investigate:
First of all, we need to take the following ratings as examples and for reference:

Sports: Football
Brazil is synonymous to football, who can doubt that?

London, England
Building: London Bridge
We sing that, we play that, we know that.

Nature: Panda
The endangered cuddly animal can only be found there. China has put in much efforts to protect the pandas. They had tried to present a pair of pandas to Taiwan, who kindly rejected them for they think that by accepting them is to accept the mainland.

After getting an idea of what real self-identity is, Singapore shall now be explored.

What Singapore has to offer:

National Flag
We get flags flagging around the city during National Day Period. People can be seen wearing red or white to celebrate National Day. Students get to see them every morning but cannot tell what red and white repersents. They sing a song with it, and do not understand most words.

Flower: Vanda Miss Joaquim
That Vanda name is too long, sounds like an old hagged spinster. Most people cannot differenciate between them, whether it is Vanda or Panda. It seems that it does not matter anyway.

Food, Singaporeans love their food it seems. Or is it that the authorities are trying to create an identity for Singapore in order to attract tourist? Maybe they are right that food represents us, but what food is representative of Singapore? Laksa? Prata? Chicken Rice? All of them? Cannot decide? Perhaps, it is just an illusion.

Building: Merlion
This mutated combination of a fish and a lion, discharing water from its mouth when tourists arrive. It represents Singapore's history of lion sightings of Sang Nila Utama and growth from a fishing village. Tourists are delighted by this alienated clone, but which local even in their most insane minds will go and view it? A self-identity building need do with only 1, and not 4! I say that it is ugly. I cannot feel any thing for it even when someone piss on it or some terrorist blast it away.

Building: Esplanade
A poseur. Seeing what other countries have achieved, Singapore wants to own an iconic building that represents herself. Amid it resembles the tropical fruit king, it is somehow quite unique for Singapore's skyline and probably reflects the tropical climate that Singapore has.

Building: Casino, IR
(Under Constuction)

Famous People
Lee Kuan Yew, the most influential political figure in Singapore's recent history, wrote 2 volume set of memoirs and just this month, published Keeping My Mandarin Alive. Leading the country to prosperity under his leadership in the dominating political party of PAP.
Li Jiawei, a Singaporean convert who placed 4th place in the 2004 Olympics in table tennis.
Phua Chu Kang?
Blame it on Singapore's size, Singapore does lack of influential people in the wider world.

What music represents Singapore? Singapura? or Rasa Sayang? No, I cannot sing them, I do not understand what it means, I never like them. Other than the national anthem, I really think that none of Singapore's music do really exist.

Musical Instrument
Singapore does not really have a musical insturment that it can claim uniquely Singapore, other than the merlion instrument (do take a look at it). Recently, a local craftsman have specially created this instrument because he felt that Singapore should have a musical instrument of its own, since he saw that other countries also have their own musical instrument. Other than being a geeky piece of clay that is set to lure foolish tourists into digging their own pockets, I can hardly not be embarrassed if this has to become part of tiny Singapore's own national musical instrument.

Laws & Order
This, I think probably speaks most about Singapore. It is uniquely Singapore. Banning of chewing gum, ERP charges, having a need to tell people where to urinate, and the list continues. Singapore is famed for its safe streets even late at night. The authorities have done well to make the inhabitants of Singapore obedient and law-abiding.

Singapore is in a great hunt of searching her own identity. I do not think that by drawing figures on a t-shirt is creating a real identity. I should emphasize that by purposefully attempting to create a self-identity will not become a real identity of the country. It is just creating an illusion only. Perhaps, the true self-identity of Singapore is that it has none.


Anonymous dev! said...

ur BEST post yet to date! non-stop laughter!!
Erm.. about musicians.. i think singapore can boast... vanessa mae? wait a min.. is she born in singapore? *rolls eyes* Maybe Singapore can boast the likes of FANN wong.. who acted in some 'hollywood' shows.. and.. Creative is oso something to 'boast' about wad! BUT, i think.. creative is.. on the decline from wad i see from the papers.. Last, but definitely not the least.. (hopefully) they can boast ME, a true, patriotic Singaporean! Heh

7/7/05 21:47  
Anonymous steven said...

eh u made up all this urself ar? quite impressive if its all from ur thought =]

8/7/05 01:39  
Anonymous NianKai said...

U forgot to mention about KiaSu-ism. The word "kiasu" can be found in dictionaries. Such an important "value" is nurtured in Singaporeans. But then again, it seems like "foreign people" are more proficient in this aspect than Singaporeans(evident in trains and schools), so it doesn't really count as uniquely Singapore right? Haha..

8/7/05 09:41  
Blogger bornappleT said...

I think I would give a good grade on the 'kiasu' aspect of Singapore. But anyway, the list is quite incomplete. Topics like festivals, attractions like zoo or Sentosa have not been explored. If I would to choose 'dev!', I would, with no hesistance, mark with a zero.

8/7/05 10:34  
Anonymous NianKai said...

I think 'dev' will get a negative point... wahahaha.. dun insult singapore by grading dev lar.. haha

8/7/05 13:57  
Anonymous dev! said...

*rolls eyes*

I agree wad steven said.. impressive article

8/7/05 21:50  

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