Saturday, February 16, 2008

Down the drain

My, my, my. It appears that not only have Singaporeans become money-mad, they have also become mad, period. First, there were the complaints about Singaporeans' unwillingness to give up seats in buses and trains for those more in need of one. Now not a few letter writers have been grousing about people not giving space in lifts, especially when those who needed it most - mothers with babies in prams and kids in tow - have been waiting a long time for one. And it appears that Paragon Centre is the favourite place to do this. It also appears that some have turned violent, as in a case where mother AND daughter ganged up to assault a petite Thai women at a supermarket. For what? Nothing more than accidentally bumping into the protagonist's shopping trolley. The reported assault that followed is unbelievable. If true, and the Thai women were to take it up with the law, that mother and daughter pair could be in serious trouble.

What is interesting is that many of these complaints mention women as perpetrators of these ungraceful, rude and violet acts. I suppose that if men were involved, they would be charged with molest, or at least shamed for ungentlemanly behaviour. If what I read is true, then there is something wrong with many women on this island. One wonders where the term 'fairer sex' originated? Certainly not in Singapore! Why are women so aggressive nowadays? Has it got something to do with frustration at the workplace that translates into aggression outside of it? Is it a venting of whatever frustration in public that cannot be done in the office? I can imagine psychiatrist offering this explanation to a judge if some of these woman were charged in Court. Or have we become so insular and intolerant in keeping ourselves to our high-rise pigeon coops that we take offense at any little bump outside of it?

We do not need to shape up because foreigners amongst us are complaining. We need to shape up because otherwise, our kids will take to the example we set them, propagating ungracious behaviour until someone more ungracious comes along. There is a Chinese say, "There is always a hill higher than the present one". Although this saying is about improving oneself, it can probably also be used in the negative sense in these cases. We need to shape up because it is an unpleasant way to live a life, when we have this siege mentality. What are we wary of, anyway? That somebody else is after our rice bowl, that somebody else is after our position in the office, in the supermarket, that somebody else is trespassing into our private virtual space? Sounds to me like a person lacking in self-confidence, a person with an inferiority complex, as psychologists would diagnose. Where has the sense of community and charity gone? You never know but one day, you may need the help of the stranger standing next to you.

It would appear that as we get more prosperous, we get more intolerable. We become worst as a people. Progress or regress? It is a non-brainer. How to reverse this? That's what we need to agonise over, not just build more race-tracks, more resorts and more casinos and think that our future is bright as day.

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