Image Source and copyright: Flickr user ChanC
Is Singapore an amazing place? I’ve been to Singapore less than 10 times and from a tourist point of view, the answer is ‘Yes’, the public transport is efficient (better than Malaysia), it is safer (than Malaysia), and most important of all, they have a ‘future’, something sorely absent in Malaysia’s uncharted future.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my country (Malaysia), but does my country loves me? I am a second class citizen in my own country with limited rights because I was born a Chinese and a non-Muslim. The irony of this whole racist ‘son-of-soil’ policy is any Indonesia Muslims that managed to secure his/her Malaysian citizenship are given this so called special privileges, whereas my grandparents and parents with all their contribution towards nation building are considered emigrant, did we not fought the Japanese when the natives welcome them with open arms? Did we not venture into China and brought back lots of foreign currency exchange when China opens its door 30 years ago? We worked hard in Singapore and contributed lots of money towards Malaysia’s coffer and economy, and why are we still treated like a step son whereas an Indonesian Muslims with his/her newly secured Malaysian citizenship are entitled to these special privileges? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
Putting politics aside, progress and development worked hand in hand with urban and architecture, what was once a relentless urban with neo-classical Chinese shop houses were being systematically torn down in the name of progress. It is indeed sad to witness the lost of such amazing piece of old architecture, a unique identity only found in South East Asia.
There was some sadness; perhaps the sense of enthusiasm for the future overrides the sadness. The International Herald Tribune is reporting today that after 40 years of nonstop progress, only one old-fashioned rural village remains in Singapore, and like all rural villages, it is slated for demolition ‘renewal’ in the name of development – a better living environment such as more concrete jungle.
Watch the video – The Last Village by International Herald Tribune. Perhaps they ought to preserve this last sanctuary, and convert it into a tourist destination, and the people living there into nothing more than a tourist product for the white man, like what some racist Malaysians are doing to the REAL natives (Iban, Dayak, kadazan) in Borneo Island (Sarawak and Sabah). I am being sarcastic here!
In all honesty, I hope the Singaporean government takes a step back and look around at the concrete jungle, preserving the village is a must, what done can’t be undone. All these high-rise condo with its imaginary ‘better communal living’ are nothing more than fairytale in an architect’s and developer’s mind, you can’t have the best of both worlds, choose wisely.