I’ve an American friend who used to snigger at our hive-like Asian minds huddling together in the safety of our little Hobbit holes.
I’m not sure how true this is for my fellow Asians, but I do think that it is acutely true for a timid person like me with a cringing and subservient personality.
There’s something distressing suddenly realising and awakening to the foundations of Singapore cracking before oneself. How can one describe a generation who has grown up under the comforts, security and benefits of a benevolent paternalistic government only to suddenly realise that the entire infrastructure rested upon quicksand?
How to describe the feeling of suddenly realising that your “Founding Fathers” are nothing more than opportunistic elder brothers, seizing their parent’s land for their own goals? What was going through the mind of our Elder Statesman as he determinately severed us from our colonial masters and set Singapore down the uncertain path of merger and then independence? Did he truly believe that we would survive longer than three generations? Was he so convinced of the manifest joint destinies of Malaysia and Singapore that he would drag us to that future kicking and screaming?
I admit, I’m very frightened and very scared for Singapore’s future. For now, the bread continues to flow, the trains continue to run, and the streets remain safe. But for how much longer? One watches in horror as the PAP’s performance wavers and flounders while the opposition’s seeks to replace it with a cacophony of contradictory promises which cannot possibly be fulfilled together. It’s like watching an unfolding disaster in slow motion, and yet unable to do anything about it.
I feel very much orphaned in the vast sea of history. When the illusion of our paternal government has been shattered, one gazes into the infinite dark abyss of a hostile and indifferent sea of history, ready to drown Singapore at any moment should we slip. One feels alone, cast adrift upon the vast ocean of history, looking nostalgically towards the sturdy ship of the British Empire which once has towed us amidst the storms of global history, safe under her imperial captainship. Once we were safe under Father UK, but now, having ran away from home, we are alone out in the dark.
Possessing an Asian cringing hive-like mind, my first instinct is not to bravely presume to be able to confront the storms ahead alone but to seek for another master which can protect us from the rages of history.
I’ve probably dreamt of a thousand and one different scenarios for us to rejoin the British Empire, become a protectorate, come under the administrative oversight of Australia, etc. I’ve also imagined a thousand counterfactual scenarios to joining Malaysia. What if the British had simply transferred our colonial administration from the UK to Australia? Then we could nominally remain under the British Empire while under the protection and oversight of the Australians, administering our colony on Britain’s behalf.
But these of course are highly unlikely. I’m not sure what it says about me, but lately, I’ve even been thinking of Singapore becoming a vassal state of China.
Curse my cringing hive-like Asian mindset I guess, always looking for a big bad ass empire to protect us and make us feel safe…