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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

SG51/NDP Thoughts: Living in Japan made me love Singapore More

Last night, after I finished watching the Singapore National Day Parade (NDP), I realised something. Living in Japan has made me love Singapore more.

Japan is basically the first place where I've lived overseas by myself. I've been to a few countries, like US, Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia, etc (these are probably the most 'exotic' ones in the list) but to be honest, I can only say that I've visited them. I don't understand them at all. And while Japan is a good place to live in (low crime and good food, not to mention generally friendly people), it is not perfect.

I don't want to make this a complaint post, but life is not perfect here (it's not perfect anywhere). The politics here is messed up (not to mention the problems associated with low voting rates), the pension system is terrible (my friends are basically not going to be able to survive on their pensions) and I haven't even started on social problems like mental health and their attitudes towards foreigners (thankfully I've generally had a good experience).

Oh yeah, and education. We do a way better job teaching second languages (as a whole), and the fact that we actually look at CCAs and non-academic accomplishments during uni entrances (or so I'm told) is way better than the Juken system (at least in my opinion - Japan is luckily starting to move to include non-acad stuff).

While Singapore isn't perfect, by any means, what I've realised here is that we've got it pretty good. And by the way, living here is why I refuse to vote/support most opposition parties here: because not only is the anti-foreigner stance troubling, the lack of foreign policy views is a sign (to me, anyway) that their view is way too narrow.

So basically, living overseas showed me that there is no perfect place (even if it may seem that way on a short visit), and that we really do have it pretty good. We don't have it perfect, but living overseas has made me a lot more forgiving/favourably disposed to the system and less understanding of certain complaints (like those about the CPF).

Of course, I recognise that I may not feel this way if I went somewhere else, but yeah.

Oh, and I just remembered: one more thing living in Japan has made me do is to get me to understand more about Singapore. As a Singaporean (and there aren't many of us in Kyushu, I think), I become the 'representative' of Singapore and am expected to be able to answer any question. So I've had to look up things, which actually got me to understand Singapore more.

By the way, I wonder what all the other overseas people think. Has living in another country made you love Singapore/your home country more or less (or the same)?

And to end on a completely different note, my NDP dinner last night:

I don't know why, but I really like munching on things when watching TV

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