Singapore Town

Recently our office renamed our conference room following a Singapore theme. On the way into office today, I saw the new signs to “Raffles” room and “Esplanade” room, and for some reason thought of the song “Singapore Town”:

You could take a little trip around Singapore town

In a Singapore city bus

To see Collyer Quay and Raffles Place

The Esplanade and all of us

Chorus:

Because in Singapore, Singapore

Their hearts are big and wide you’ll find

Because in Singapore, Singapore

You’ll find happiness for everyone

This upbeat tune playing in my head made me feel quite sad, because I’m not sure this song really describes Singapore anymore. Singapore used to have “friendly shores” that “welcomed our fathers long ago” (quoted from “This is my  Land”) but these days those same shores are just not as friendly anymore. Those same people whose fathers from China, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and all over were welcomed just one, two or at most three generations ago are saying that they now have a birthright to this little red dot and they don’t want anyone else to partake of it. I’m all for a non-claustrophobic way of living. I almost hyperventilate when I’m at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on a weekend. But more important to me is a caring community, where everyone loves thy neighbour, including the foreigner.

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