Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why an American wants to be S'porean

Aug 25, 2009

WITH National Day 2009 recently behind us, I am engrossed with all the letters and thoughts on patriotism and generally how people are concerned with the make-up of Singapore. As my own day of reckoning comes closer, I feel I have more thoughts on these subjects than I even knew I had in my head.

On Friday, I will take the oath of citizenship and become more than I was on Aug 27: I will be a Singaporean. It is important to note that for an American, it is not as simple as joining a club or group or ticking a little square on an application. For Americans and most others who become Singapore citizens, we must renounce our previous citizenships before becoming Singaporeans. Most people who ask me why I am doing this are Singaporean, and I find this strange as I thought I would get more questioning from expatriates.

To become a Singaporean, you must really believe in this country and its people. You must be willing to give up your ties and allegiance you have harboured as long as you can remember. This is like changing your religion or any deep-rooted belief. You must dislodge that belief and replace it with your belief in Singapore. Fortunately, at least for me at this time, Singapore also believes in me. I can only shake my head when people complain about Singapore without offering alternatives or stating how this place or that place is better. I can only think the grass is always greener somewhere else, but you know you will still have to cut it every week.

Wherever you go, just make sure you have the opportunity to turn ideas into something positive, as you can here if you try. I know, at least for myself, that the good things far outweigh the negative, and yes, there are some negatives. But I choose to make this my home and contribute to its growth and I hope the negatives will become fewer. Free rides? They are on that green grass somewhere else.

Bernie Utchenik

[As usual this sort of letter attracted the usual bunch of no-lifes ragging on the writer, belittling his choice, his decision, questioning his intentions and in general reflecting their insecurities and incompetence, and general poor upbringing and manners, while competing with each other to see who can be more foul-mouthed in their attack on the writer.

To the writer, I agree. This is a good place to be. There may be greener grass elsewhere but each week you still have to cut it. If you don't there's probably a bull somewhere in the vicinity. So watch your step, and watch your back. And yes, I can imagine that changing citizenship is like changing religion. ]

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