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Quit dissing Singapore

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Come on people, give Singapore a break... You have to quit comparing her to places like Hong Kong. It's like comparing an apple to an orange. Take it from a local's point of view...

Singapore doesn't have a lot of history to begin with. You have to be amazed at the fact that what started out as a small Malay fishing village merely decades ago ended up as one of the most cosmopolitan, well-financed, peaceful nations in the whole of South East Asia. Heck, probably the world as well, save the Swiss of course.

Firstly, we are very very young. Compared to the major cities of the world, Singapore is merely a toddler learning how to walk, much less dance the Macarena. Of course you won't find the joie de vivre displayed evidently in European countries, the unique culture every major city from New York City to New Delhi seem to possess, or the fun and entertainment (and possibly the dodgy side that comes with it) that everyone looks forward to.

And while it is true that we try to emulate (or more crudely put, cut and paste) overseas attractions, the only reason is because us Singaporeans haven't really hunkered down to decide what we really want Singapore to be. Do we want it to be fun in the sun? Like Vegas in the middle of a 6 Flags Amusement Park? Do we want it to be Appreciation of the Arts 101, a London's-Proms-in-the-Louvre kind of setting? Or do we want a laid back, au natural atmosphere like Krabi or Bali? There are choices abound, but you have to remember: Singapore is the size of, well, aptly but crudely put by a Taiwanese politician, "a piece of dried nasal mucus" (I shall not delve into this issue now, but what the heck was that guy thinking when he said it? Apparently English and Taiwan don't mix). Anyway, Singapore is extremely small, and we can only do so much to reclaim land without incurring the wrath of our neighbour above and beside us. Try squeezing all that into a plot of land the size of a postage stamp.

But therein lies Singapore's unique culture. It's more of a sponge than a smelting pot. The current batch of Singaporeans is only the 3rd generation of immigrants who came over from places like China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Portugal etc. Singapore's like a mini NYC, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled mass yearning to breathe free". The confluence of multitudes of cultures creates a sort of identity crisis for us Singaporeans. The only way out is to adopt a little from each of these cultures. This is the reason why most tourists who come into Singapore say that it is just like home. 'Cause a small aspect of life in every society on Earth can be found here.

I will not go into the sights and sounds of Singapore. Information about that can be found almost everywhere, even here. My point is that Singapore is different from any country I've been, and though I’m only 20, I consider meself to be well-travelled. I assure you all that Singapore is no Hong Kong or Paris or New York. It is a little of everything.

My advice to those who haven't been to Singapore - Do come. And to those who've been here before - Do come again.

Singapore is like a barrel of freshly produced wine. You have to give it time to mature. Come and see it for yourself. And when you leave, I can wager with you that you know in your heart that you left a little of your heart and soul and culture in the sponge known as Singapore.

As did we...

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