'Instead of developing its identity, Singapore is gradually losing it.' How far do you agree?
Singapore, a tiny piece of land poorly endowed with resources is now a sovereign cosmopolitan country. Since forty-six years ago, our forefathers worked hard to bring us to where we are today, advocating the importance of harmony amongst different races and forging a common Singaporean identity. In the little red dot on the world map, our dreams stay big. Now, Singapore is known for its 'Uniquely Singapore' slogan with characteristics like a fine city, cosmopolitan state and a newly crafted language that we are proud of; Singlish. I do agree that Singapore is conforming to trends due to globalization. Nonetheless, I think that the Singaporean Identity can still be felt here.
As Singapore seeks to be an attractive, global city, we are conforming to global trends. Singlish, a language we created, is what that distinguishes us from the many other cosmopolitan states in the world. However, we are gradually doing away with Singlish. In this ever globalizing world of today, English is an important language as a mode of communication. As such, the government has been trying to create a professional image of speaking proper English and not Singlish. Singlish has all along been something that all Singaporeans share in common and has already become part of our lives. Gradually doing away with Singlish would be akin to removing a part of our body from us. Though painful, it is crucial that we move on such that we can catch up on the development ladder. As such, with the governement advocating proper English, we are gradually losing the Singaporean identity by doing away with Singlish.
With globalization, Singapore is also losing our Singaporean identity instead of developing it. With the imminent pressure from neighboring countries that are developing their cities to attract investors and tourists, Singapore is doing the same. Competition in the global arena in the form of tourism has urged us to come up with new and more advanced attractions. We continuously search for better attractions that are able to help Singapore attract a steady flow of income for development. Singapore has the Night Safari that is unique to Singapore and has been attracting tourism. However, it is not enough. Recently, Resort World Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands and the Universal Studios have been built. Universal Studios is founded in United States and we adopted their idea to build a world class theme park in Singapore. Similarly, we adopted the idea of casinos from other countries or cities such as the Las Vegas and Myanmar, to increase tourism rates. These attractions are not entirely new to people. We merely adopted various ways to increase the attractiveness of Singapore. By doing this, people turn out to be unsure of the Singaporean identity because we are a 'mash-up' of everything. Eventually, we turn out to be losing our Singaporean Identity as we try to develop one by building new attractions.
Nonetheless, as Singapore develops, we are building on the foundation of our Singapore identity. Singapore started out as a country with immigrants from all over the world and now, we are an ethnically diverse country. We are a small city with big dreams. Racial and religious harmony is what we have enjoyed and are still enjoying. We accept the many differences amongst all the different race and religions and live harmoniously. This is a rare trait that is valued. Many other countries resort to violence when disagreements could not be solved. On the contrary, religious leaders in Singapore dare to speak up and apologise publicly when they offend people of another religion and in the past, we have had many racial riots like the Maria Hertogh riot but it was resolved in the end. This is what that is unique in Singapore. Despite the differences, we may offend others accidentally but we quickly pick up the broken pieces and patch up. In Singapore, the government has been working hard to make sure that we continue to live in harmony. For example, in various estates, there is a quota for the number of residents of different races. This is so that there is a balance of all races in every estate such that we can all live together and learn more about each other. Civics and moral education is also part of the school curriculum, teaching students the virtue of tolerance and accepting differences in our ethnically diverse country. Hence, I believe that we are still developing the Singapore identity.
Singapore is also known for being a fine city where the word fine carries two meanings. Firstly, as a fine city to be living in and secondly, where fines are used to kept Singapore in order. Singapore has a country that has very good security where one can feel safe even when walking alone at night. The crime rates in Singapore have been low as compared to many other countries of similar development. This makes Singapore a pleasant place to live in. With the fines for littering, eating on trains and buses, jaywalking, possession of chewing gum and many others, it keeps Singapore ordered. These fines help to deter potential crimes that could have been committed. Hence, fine is uniquely Singapore as it describes the way of life here. Therefore, I believe that Singapore is still building on its identity and is not gradually losing it.
Lastly, Singapore has a population of 4 million and within these 4 million, majority are Chinese. Though we are gradually conforming to global trends, the government has been promoting the importance being educated about our roots with the various campaigns. These campaigns seek to educate us about our cultural roots by educating the younger generation with the use of mass media. For example, a Chinese campaign to engage youths is The Chinese Challenge. Following this campaign, there were various excerpts of foreigners speaking Chinese as advertisements to inform the youth that even foreigners can master Chinese and hence make youths believe that we can do it better. With the government to ensure that Singaporeans continue to be connected to their roots, I believe that Singapore will not gradually lose its identity and will be developing it instead.
Thus, from what I discussed above, one can be sure that Singapore is doing well in developing its identity. Though there are many challenges that Singapore faces in developing our identity, there are many other avenues such as racial and religious harmony and cultural roots that we can strengthen our identity on. Thus, I believe Singapore will not lose its identity.