Two days ago I wrote a ranting piece about how blessed I feel to be living in Singapore and how it is in large part due to the early PAP team led by Mr Lee Kuan Yew. That night, in my dreams, he passed on.
He did live a ripe old age by most standards. And he has made a greater difference in his lifetime than most can claim to have made. From that perspective, his death should not be such a sad matter. But as I watched the numerous snippets of his life shown on TV yesterday, I can’t help but feel concern for Singapore’s future. Already my generation of Singaporeans, those who have not experienced the sharpening of parang knives in preparation for racial riots, appear to be unable to appreciate what a miracle the pioneer generation, under the leadership of the PAP government formed by LKY, has created in Singapore. There is such a general complacency, expecting the government to give more and still more benefits to the poor (which is fine), which call was extended to the middle class (who feel they are “sandwiched”) and now even to the upper middle class. The spirit of working for your own needs and wants is gone. The appreciation that Singapore’s resource is the hard work of our people is gone. What more then the next generation, the generation who will only know the early leaders like Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Keng Swee the way we know Stamford Raffles and Sang Nila Utama, ie merely as a name in the textbook. So too the early leaders’ spirit that made today’s Singapore, I fear, may be lost. It is already being lost. Just to quote a readily observable trend, the bilingualism policy that LKY put in place is rapidly being eroded. Our children’s mother tongue ability is appaling.
During this time of mourning, can I venture to suggest that Singaporeans take the chance to reflect on where we are, how far we’ve come, is there anything we’ve lost that we should pick up again, and yes also the part that much of the online noise immediately before this is calling for: whether any and what change is warranted (and carefully consider whether a suggested change is indeed a change for the better). Here’s hoping that the sad event of a great leader’s passing can be a positive energy for Singapore.
As I am writing this post, I am in the car breastfeeding Sandra while my parents went to pick up Sophia from holiday camp. Out of concern about carbon monoxide poisoning, I opened the door to allow air circulation. I didn’t think twice about it initially but a moment later it struck me what a luxury it is to even be able to do this in today’s world. Here I am wedged between 2 car seats with a baby in my arms practically immobile. In most other countries, whether developed or developing, I should seriously worry about baby and me being mugged, kidnapped or otherwise hurt. I should shut all doors tightly, lock them and wind up the windows. But in Singapore, my home and therefore a place whose conveniences I have a tendency to take for granted, I can leave the door open with complete peace of mind from both carbon monoxide poisoning and criminals.
Which leads me to ex-PM Lee Kuan Yew being in critical condition and all the noise surrounding it. I simply cannot comprehend the ungratefulness (I don’t think that’s a real word but it best conveys what I am trying to get across) of the Singaporeans hoping for his death. To me, they are like the Tommy Thin of the nursery rhyme – the one who put the pussy in the well – the pussy who never did any harm but catch all the mice in his father’s barn. In the grand scheme of things we Singaporean definitely have more to thank than to hate LKY for. Not him alone of course but the team of politicians and governmental officials he led during our father’s time. I read an article saying LKY led Singapore to prosperity but the price we paid was liberty, but the author failed to explain why he thought we lost liberty. Unless this author can explain himself, I certainly feel he is wrong. In my opinion, we have more liberty than people in most countries. The freedom to breastfeed in a car with an open door being case in point. Or the ability of a much younger me to go clubbing till 3am and walk from my car to my HDB apartment (which my parents OWN) swinging my keys again without worrying about being mugged or raped. We have the freedom to go everywhere in the world and to say almost whatever we want (yes, even say that you hope LKY dies soon although I really feel one ought not to say that of any human being). Yes there is that defamation thing which one can write a whole thesis on but for the purpose of this post, suffices to say that the average layman really doesn’t need to worry about it.
So as a Singaporean who has benefitted from the system of security, good education and equal opportunity, I say on balance I am grateful to LKY and the various generations of PAP leaders. This is even though I may not agree with everything he has done or said.
In these days where LKY is critically ill, I seriously hope what Singaporeans display will not be our ugly side. LKY and his family really don’t deserve those cruel remarks circulating. Foreigners who do not understand may say what they want, but for each of us who are here enjoying the fruits of LKY’s labour (of course not his alone but he played an undeniably large part), let’s not be 不厚道 (roughly translated to unkind). Let’s pray for the best outcome for LKY and comfort for his family.
These days I have also gained a newfound respect for PM Lee. Imagine running a country when you have just been diagnosed with cancer and your father is critically ill. I for one probably will not be able to cope half as well with any one of these. I’m not saying LKY and PM Lee are perfect. I’m just urging everyone please be kind. I started this post intending merely to express how blessed I feel living in safe Singapore, but I digressed after the false news of LKY’s death. Here’s hoping this won’t end up being too controversial a post!
as far as restaurant reviews go, this is probably a bad one, since there are no photos of the subject in question – the waffles. In any case, I’m going to give it a go.
Before I was pregnant with Sandra, the husband and I made a trek down to Stranger’s Reunion. He maintains that I tricked him to do it and has refused to do it again. The walk is about 20 minutes long, which to me is perfectly comfortable on a cool night. Husband begs to differ. Anyway, the waffles with fruit and Greek yogurt which we had that evening was good. The waffle was crispy and goes well with the yoghurt. The husband says it’s acceptable but the waffle lacks a fragrance. Overall we like the place and the food.
Today, I went to their sister cafe, Waffle Slayer, with baby hoping to have a civilized afternoon sipping tea and eating waffles which, who am I kidding, is impossible with baby in tow. I felt seriously out of place among a sparse young crowd. Nobody there looked above 25 and certainly none look like they are remotely close to having kids. So instead of my usual warm reception of “so cute!”, I just get very cold but efficient treatment. Can’t really fault them for it, just not what I’ve gotten used to. Anyway on the food, the waffle itself does lack a fragrant flavor and is not even crispy on the outside this time. I had the waffle with peanut butter which came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, sliced bananas, chocolate fudge and a dollop of peanut butter on top. The pluses were that despite the generous toppings it was not too sweet, and the chocolate fudge was thick and dark chocolatey, ie doesn’t seem like the cheap Hershey’s stuff. However, the ice cream, like the waffle itself, was nothing to write home about. Further, I could barely taste the peanut butter. Overall quite a disappointment. I think I’ll stick to strangers reunion’s Greek yoghurt waffle next time I’m in that area.
The tea I had was served very nicely, pity baby prevented me from having leisurely sips.
Its rather hard to find holiday camps for the March holidays and after the previous SRT experience where they kept drilling the kids for one finale performance (so boring according to Sophia), she has pretty much rejected drama camps, leaving us very few options.
Among the few options, learning journey looks good on paper because it combines art and craft, cookery and storytelling and drama. Upon arrival at its serangoon campus, it looks unimpressive compared to the previous camp sites at international school campus. This is at the basement of a HDB flat. Very heartlands. We didn’t have high hopes for it after dropping off but after the first day, Sophia actually gave it good feedback.
She came out clutching her artwork – a map.
And she was excitedly telling us about the map being for a bear hunt. She sure looks happy. I was told they also made bear shaped sandwiches for snacks. So far it looks promising!
In a blink of an eye, Sandra has passed the 10 week mark. I seriously did not remember time flying by like this for Sophia. In fact, I remember long miserable days of marathon breastfeeding and finding things to occupy time till Sophia’s grandma came back. This time round I’m definitely enjoying maternity leave a lot more. Although there are still many moments where I felt very tired or when I really wanted to do something that was impossible with a baby joined to me at the hip – like swim – overall it was a lot more bearable.
On a related note, Sophia is already 4 and so grown up. She does still say and do hilarious things no doubt. As I’m writing this post she was shouting to grandpa who was trying to skip the hair washing part of her shower “yesterday never 洗头！Then 头发痒痒！” on the one hand I worry about the very bad language but on the other, I find such random language irresistibly cute!
Time, please slow down so I can really enjoy the kids while they are young and the most adorable things on earth.
Learning from Sophia’s bottle rejection experience, I decided to take 6 months off work with Sandra, my second child. The idea is that after 6 months, even if she really refuses to drink from a bottle in the daytime, the grandparents can feed her some solids and it won’t be that bad, unfortunately, the complacency led to everyone feeling like it’s ok to leave me to take care of the baby on my own and now she is so terribly joined at the hip to me. She cries whenever anyone else carries her (much to the displeasure of her dad, whom she particularly dislikes). I am now extremely concerned about how she is going to cope when I go back to work. And yes, she does have the bottle rejection problem. Grr…
Here’s hoping the situation will improve!
While I have sort of grasped the secret to making baby sleep at night (bath, lights off, sleeping bag, feed, in that order), getting baby to sleep in the day and at home is a mystery to me. She sleeps well when I put her in the carrier and bring her out. She even sleeps reasonably well in a stroller when I bring her out but at home, I’ve tried drawing the curtains, swaddling, nursing to sleep, sleeping on her own cot, sleeping on the adults’ bed, sleeping on the bouncer, sleeping with her, nothing seem to be able to make her sleep for more than 15 minutes unless someone keeps carrying her, which is of course not ideal. So while other babies are settling nicely into a 3 nap schedule during the day, mine is in a haphazard pattern different each day. I wonder how she’ll cope when I go back to work and grandparents who are caring for her will not bring her out as often. She’ll probably suffer severe lack of sleep!