Happy 50th birthday Singapore! SIngapore is my home – a home filled with many wonderful things. Great hawker food – Ghim Moh market’s chwee kueh, Holland Drive market’s fish ball noodles, ABC Brickworks market’s roast meats, Alexandra Village market’s Shanghainese dumplings, Old Airport Road market’s lor mee, Tanjong Katong Road’s Eng’s wanton noodles, just to name a few. Wonderful friends who speak one of the most efficient and economical forms of English in the world! The salesperson only needs to say, “no stock” or “no size” to one customer and he or she can move on to the next customer. Ordering coffee In a local coffee shop is a breeze, if you want your coffee without milk and with less sugar, all you have to do is say, “kopi kosong siew-tai” – 6 syllabus and you are perfectly clear! And when you feel like some grocery shopping, just go to the supermarket, get all you need and checkout without a word spoken! Nowadays, the cashiers often ask if you have the Passion Card which gives you a small discount and this is how they ask, “Passion Card?” and you just say, “yes” or “no” and once again, all is clear, perfectly clear. And when there is a tense situation at home or at work because you have upset someone, the best way to diffuse the tension is to say, “sorry lah” and give the person a light touch on the shoulder or on the hand. It works far more effectively than “Oh I’m terribly sorry about, I really didn’t know what the right thing to do was, please forgive me, I’ll not do that again next time.” But when you say “sorry lah”, don’t forget to drag the “laaaaaaaaahhhh”. It really does help! Singaporeans are generally non-confrontational, we prefer to mind our own business than to stick our noses into something that doesn’t affect us. This is not always a good thing, but sometimes it just has to be that way or you’ll end up in a lot of trouble and none of us like trouble! Because we are non-confrontational, we have learned to ignore many things – both good and bad, and as a result, there is peace all around 🙂 Well, things have begun to change though, and especially with the introduction of the Internet and social media. Many who would not have otherwise spoken will now go online and make a whole lot of noise because it is so easy to do so. In response, others who feel offended would respond likewise with another lot of noise and nonsense peppered with a dose of expletives sometimes and it just doesn’t seem to end until something else catches our attention. Thankfully, this sort of noise usually doesn’t extend beyond the cyber world here in Singapore because people don’t want to get arrested. In fact, you can get arrested if your cyber noise becomes terribly poisonous and divisive. Whether the arrest and subsequent punishment is a good thing or not, hopefully the rest of us would learn to moderate our online posts and comments. Maybe we’ll all grow up a little too. This is something truly wonderful about Singapore, people just can’t do or say something completely irresponsible and get away with it. Complete, unrestrained freedom of speech may just be a little overrated. The other thing I love about this country is this, there is freedom to practice our religion. We are indeed a democratic society based on justice and equality with the hope that we will achieve prosperity and progress for our nation. Two public holidays each for the Muslims, the Hindus, the Chinese and the Christians. That’s pretty fair. We all have friends from various religious backgrounds and we actually like each other a lot. I love that about Singapore. Some can chant all they want and burn incense all they want in a certain designated month of the year, and the rest of us accept it, sometimes graciously, sometimes not so, but we accept it. And when it’s time for another religious group to decorate the streets with their symbols and emblems because it is their festive season, we are all happy too because we all get the public holidays as well. Many from a different religious affiliation would get invited into their homes to savor the wonderful tastes and flavors that are uniquely theirs. Friendship and comradeship thickens. In many ways, we see in Singapore the blessing of God upon us as a nation. The strong governmental leadership, good governance, a realistic level of accountability, the unity of the citizens, co-sharing of core values, etc. So as Christians, we do need to give thanks on this special occasion as Singapore celebrates our 50th birthday. Let us bless our nation, bless the cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament, bless our friends, colleagues and neighbors from various economic, social and religious backgrounds in Jesus’ Name and pray that God may continue His good work in Singapore keeping us safe from all evil, wickedness and ungodliness. Have a great day!
Today’s Bible Text: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Lk.6:31)
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