Friday, December 08, 2006

Singapore vs Malaysia

I just came back from a one week visit in Singapore last Monday. My eldest sister had just given birth to her second child, Dylan. Yup, I am now an aunt of four. ^O^ Even though I can't stand children, I cannot deny that all my four nephews and niece are all so very adorable, if just a little spoilt and hyperactive!
So anyway, spending a week in Singapore with all the debate in Malaysia raging, I suddenly got "enlightened": I never did understand why many Malaysians (including myself) just love to hate the Singaporeans - claiming that Singaporeans are snobbish and kiasu. The one week there made me realize that we Malaysians are just plain jealous of them. That is the real reason behind all the criticisms - to make us feel better about ourselves!
Truly, what is there not to envy about the Singaporeans? They are a developed country. They have all the public amenities that Malaysians can only dream of having - consistent and trustworthy bus and taxi services, consistent and well-maintained MRT services, community centres that serve as a gathering place and learning centres for residents near them etc. Their road systems are so much better than that of KL's. Their cost of living is half of what Malaysians are facing. Most Singaporeans are well-versed in English and Mandarin. Their crime rate is so low that the daily newspapers report issues such as a wife being scratched by the husband's mistress.
The list is endless. This is not just an issue about seeing the grass is greener on the other side. Many Malaysians prefer to be a permanent resident in Singapore after just a few months of living there. And you know what is ironic about this whole situation? I think half or more than half of the contributors of the success of Singapore might have been Malaysians.
See, Singapore practices meritocracy. They see the benefit of hiring people with the expertise to do the work rather than hiring people just for the sake of fulfilling a quota. And most of these people with the expertise come from foreign countries e.g. Malaysia. I remember someone told me that in the autobiography of Lee Kuan Yew, he mentioned that he personally went to the kampung of a well-known Malaysian to invite him to design the city of Singapore. Therein lies the secret of the beautiful, green city of Singapore.
Crossing the causeway back to Malaysia, I cannot help but see the differences in these two countries. The landscape in Malaysia is that of a more backward country. Heck, even the Sultan what what complex at the second link sucks. What an embarassment. They don't even have a proper scanning machine at the immigration! My mom said that it may be because they think that the Singapore authorities are very strict so they don't have to worry about the travellers from Singapore. (???) But, interestingly, the two lazy officers checked my luggage (because I was smirking at them, thinking that they are an embarassment) while twenty or more people walked past with huge luggage, without a care for the two officers who were checking me. Hmmm...
I don't know. I'm getting tired of the NATO (No Action Talk Only) attitude of the government. I think many are too. All I know is that we have much to learn from our neighbouring country. We have to stop the brain-leak (and stop exporting the best of our country and keep only the second best - as in food stuff and agricultural products etc) and do something to make the country a better place. Stop all the self-pitying about who doesn't get enough of the country's wealth or who got more, because if the situation continues like this, there will be no wealth to be fought over at all. Like so many columnist have said in these past few weeks "It's time to grow up, Malaysia!".
I find this interesting. Take a look:
A moderate Malay's perspective: What is a Malay?

1 comment:

fluotone said...

hi sweetheart, surprise! :p
I believe that what you've said is to an extent true on how the deteriorating condition of malaysia. Well, we've both read Michael Backman's critique on malaysia and its backwardly evolving condition, but there's no one to blame here except those people who are selfish and put the importance of themselves in front of the rest. For example, reports of how subcon's have misused funds that were supposed to be used for remedial works to be conducted on school structures. Who knows how long this has been going on. And mr.rocket man to space? well i'd vote for the improving on schools in the rural arears anytime instead of sending a malaysian on a Russian Soyuz which totally bites. hmm... well I generally think the majority group in malaysia are big babies who like to be spoonfed, and only good for no good. I know Singapore is a developed country, which cannot be compared to still developing country-malaysia. But my guess is this silly place will still continue to be developing 20years from now due to the attitude of certain people.

So canada it is then honey? :p

ps: so who's that "grandpa" fellow u keep mentioning in ur bulettin posts?...hehe love you grandma... xoxox...B