Strangers Gave Me 3 Good Reasons To Like Singapore

It was not my encounter, but my dad’s.

He was at an OPD, Outpatient Dispensary, which I still cannot differentiate with vis a vis a polyclinic, and during the wait was chatting with some old folks waiting alongside himself.

I wonder if it is because he had the tone and mannerisms of a former civil servant that they responded to him but, with benefit of doubt, they gave him some truths on how they felt about Singapore when he asked them.

1. Singapore has one of the best public healthcare for their citizens, lady answered. She has traveled to China many times and the queue of patients waiting in government clinics stretches out into the streets, many of them squatting on pavements and, under worse circumstances, lying down and waiting for their turn.

2. Singapore does not have a homeless problem, someone else replied. Having gone to developed and prosperous countries like Japan, the many left behind by economic progress are left helpless and sleeping in the streets.

3. In Singapore, you are not afraid to die. This must be the best one. One chap recounted a story where a friend has passed away and his son was hesitant to collect his father’s corpse because he had no money to arrange a burial/cremation.

There are a few charities that undertake to arrange a proper funerals, for lack of means or lack of kin, they will even throw in funeral rites and rituals for the deceased on request.

I do not make it a habit to keep comparing or I will suffer a doleful existence indeed.

That I am able to empathise with their logic, is a SIGN that I am over the hill, like they are, for they are retirees and stripped of life’s ambitions and need for ostentations, perhaps ?

Yet I will not push it to say that Singapore is the model society and city for the world. Who are we kidding here ? And that is the reason for the horde of critics out there, onshore or off. Those chaps my dad spoke to have not seen western social welfare at work or experienced the free speech thing that I am unfamiliar with, too.

In exchange for graffiti free walls and ghetto free neighborhood charms, I suppose its a decent trade.

I remain blasé, not because the status quo is good but because the true test for Singapore lies right around the corner, ahead of us.

Yes. When the waves of retirements hit in force and Singaporean kids are too precious to waste as store clerks in remote parts of the island and former managers, now retired, cannot be cleaning plates in hawker centers.

The strains will show up, in healthcare, personal finances and, to a certain extent, infrastructure and workforce shortages which will lead to wage inflation.

Not very nice thoughts and thus the importance for the country to keep on improving because I will be one of those hoping for some handouts in my golden years.

Happy Holidays !!