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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions." - Albert Einstein

Random Playlist Song: Schubert - Moment Musical No 5

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Extracts from a conversation with a Foreign Talent based in America: quitting singapore is one of the best decisions that i've made

now when i read the singapore blogosphere it does sound miniscule and sad
confused
full of commentary
and well.. perhaps infantile

its a whole new world here gabriel
every singaporean i know in america is HAPPY
DAMN HAPPY ok

so many of the singapore students here not on bonds, are talking about getting an american passport

we talk about discrimination
but we have discrimination in singapore
as someone succintly put it to me "the minorities in any country get the most shit"
kinda true.. like being chinese/indian in malaysia, chinese in indonesia, malay/indian in singapore

people talk all the time about leaving, talk aboutt this and that, and all the bad parts of singapore
but they don't see the bigger picture
america isn't perfect.. but it sure is honest about its flaws

when my friends here read that bloggers are sent to jail, chewing gum is banned, and students are suspended for writing stuff in their blogs, 11 years jail for stealing
it just feels so much different to have them put things in perspective for me
its like.. "hey wait.. this is ridiculous man"
and its like... 2 years of my life wasted in ns, i got reservist to serve
why bother

i think its true
quit lah quit lah
at least you're happier
my cousin has quit singapore, jobless in san francisco for 9 months
INCREDIBLY HAPPY HE CAME

i don't know gabriel
let's be honest lah
job market squeezed by imports below and foreign talents from above
we're fighting for the middle ground, and its so competitive in singapore
here you finish your work you go home and enjoy life!
everyone here is so laid back .. so relaxed, so happy

and yeah.. there's racial discrimination.. but who cares
not like we don't have it back at home
back home we discriinate according to education qualifications.. race.. religion... sexual orientation
its damn sad

the policies here are very liberal
i agree to say that as a singaporean.. i'm a 2nd class citizen in my own home country
why bother
you know.. let's be more honest
how come so many guys aren't getting married? how come so many women stay unmarried?
let's not generalise but for the sake of listing out a few things
money.. security.. emotional stability.. blah blah
and why bother with the average singapore guy who is SO BORING, when there's always a white guy to entertain
i realise the colonial mentality is something very difficult to shake off

you should just come to america.. live and work
may not be the best thing, but surely something you don't regret
its a free country, do what you want, enjoy your life, be happy

Me: well in america you can be suspended for bringing scissors to school ("zero tolerance")

Foreign Talent: that's nonsense gabriel
the press plays it up so much
you can bring anything you want to class
weed, go ahead

it is a free country... alot of stuff here that is imposing on rights of people are struck down by the supreme court as unconstitutional

they give so much chance
high schools? there are so many high schools
zero tolerance is noted in a small tiny number of schools in california
it is every american's right to an education period
they can't kick you out of school
if they do so.. its a huge beaureaucratic mess of them
school officials and all, to transfer you to another school that willingly accepts you, and you willingly accept it

its a free country
no need to be slave here

70% of harvard receives financial aid.. even if their parents earn 100,000 a year
especially with the private univerrsities
they are generous with the financial aid

Me: NUS doesn't have much financial aid heh

Foreign Talent: i agree
2k.. 1k.. 500 bucks

Me: aiyah
come back next year and tell me if you still feel the same way
the US has the highest proportion of its populace in jail among all the developed countries

Foreign Talent: the jail problem i've studied it
alot of life sentences that were expected to be commuted ended up being stretched from what the judge thought was 12 years.. to 35 years
you dont' always see the whole story in numbers
that's why in anthropological studies in AIDS.. practically no one eeven bothers about % and numbers

well lets see in those day alot of murderers blah blah, rapists were given life sentences because the judges interpreted it to be a 10 to 12 year sentce
harsh enough, and fair for the people
today you find that judges help appeal for the release fo the very people they sentence 35 years ago

i've the stories
social analysis - writing class
its more than the figures
and its not a handful of judges
its ALOT of them

Me: well the fact remains that so many people are in jail
what does that tell you about the judicial system?

Foreign Talent: it was tightened up in later years.. because of paedophilia.. rape.. murder.. terrorism
and as a results.. these men who expected to be free by thei 12th year were implicated in the process
there's always two sides to the coin

the judicial system here is great
you dont' commit crimes, you don't go to jail
you get a parking ticket and you feel its unfair, talk to the judge!
if he thinks its unfair, revoked
simple as that
i know of many students who look to the judge for a 30 dollar fine

i mean i came here with the intention to go back home cos i missed it
somehow.. i don't miss home so much anymore

i hate to say it
but at the end fo the day
singapore isn't as great as i thought it would be or might be or could be
its in the little things that count

Me: one of the most annoying things is that people will say "nowhere is perfect. so there's no point emigrating"
by that logic, since we can't live forever we might as well kill ourselves now

Foreign Talent: true
i accep the fact that its not perfect in america
but overall.. the experience is just way better
this country is full of flaws

still? its pretty worth it you know
not good enough go canada lah


[NB: I was doing a term paper at the time, which explains my uncharacteristic reticence. Readers, especially those who have dwelt in the USA for longer periods of time, are welcome to provide the counterpoint.]
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