Ex President Nathan says Singapore has no culture: is he from Mars?
I’m flabbergasted by former President Nathan’s assertion that Singapore needs another generation to develop its own culture.
In reply to a question he quipped, “Do we have a Singaporean culture?”, drawing laughter from the 300-strong audience of students from junior colleges and polytechnics.
He said it’d take one or two generation before a common culture emerged.
Now let’s define the meaning of the word culture. A country’s culture generally encompasses its shared values, aspirations, its way of life and so on. A few examples will exemplify this.
Singapore is known the world over for its cleanliness. Wherever I travel people will tell me “Oh, Singapore is very clean.” Keeping our environment clean is so much part of our culture that even in countries where widespread littering is a way of life, I’d instinctively look for a litter bin.
In Shanghai, sitting next to my table in a restaurant were a group of diners whom I straightaway identified as Singaporeans. How? Because they were speaking Singlish peppered with No lah, ya lah, cannot meh!
Our numerous coffee shops with hawker food from the different racial communities are extraordinary, rivaled by only those in Malaysia. This aspect of our Singapore culture, a coffee shop at every street corner, I’ve yet to see elsewhere.
I don’t wish to bore you with further examples. You know the rest particularly those born and bred here. Newly-minted citizens and PRs may not.
Or those cocooned in an ivory tower like the Istana.
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