The idea of the true Singaporean ‘identity’ is one that has been contested and discussed ever since (I presume) we gained independence. Various different terms and even characters have been coined to depict the unique Singaporean culture and its practices.
Here are few infamous terms that are bound to ring a bell to any Singaporean beyond the age of 16:
c) Sarong Party Girl
These terms have all been widely accepted at some point or another but still it seems very difficult to define us. One would have to experience the life and the people in this small dot of a country before he/she could even begin to understand why we are the way we are.
I was deep in thought about this topic, when my cab drove past the Marina Bay Sands on the AYE and my cab driver immediately burst into a serious of grievances and complains he had. He started by complaining about the false promises our government delivered when getting the public’s support for the Integrated Resorts. He then went on to the high cost of living and driving in Singapore.
Midway through one of those points he was interrupted by a driver who cut into his lane. This sparked another series of complaints about the number of inconsiderate drivers on the roads. I was amazed, not at the cabby’s ranting but actually at the fact that I was entertaining his points. Hmm…
I took a bus on the way back that evening and was seated opposite two middle aged aunties who were going on about their displeasures regarding Singapore’s tax structure and how unfair their employers were. To my amusement, I could see other passengers nodding or smiling in agreement to the ladies’ ranting.
This got me thinking. Almost all Singaporeans love to complain. How many times have we come across people complaining on the train or bus about inconsiderate people who do not give up their seats or do not move to the back? I for one have to constant listen to my mother complaining about our noisy and annoying neighbours (note: my mother was born in bred in India and only came to Singapore after marriage).
Singaporeans love to complain. It’s as simple as that. The better educated and concerned citizen would write in to the newspapers’ Forum section to voice his concerns while the less bold or apt citizens would be content with ranting about it to their friends. Can we therefore say that a common Singapore characteristic is to complain? I have discussed this interesting point with various people and they seem to agree that Singaporeans will always have something to complain about: almost a popular culture, no? Something that can probably considered a part of our unique identity.
STOMP is an interesting media portal. Citizens such as you and I can upload pictures or videos about anything and everything. I quick glance through the site will show you articles with the following or similar titles:
1) Feels like home? Woman wears bedroom slippers on MRT.
2) How can a pork rib dish at VivoCity restaurant be ‘out of service’?
3) Students hog tables at Starbucks but leave tables unattended.
These articles hardly seem like news worthy stories but more like the ranting of bored citizens. Has STOMP become a portal for citizens to complain online?
STOMPing has become a popular culture with a large number of followers. There are some very good articles and issues brought up via STOMP, but they seem to be drowned amidst the trivial, ‘complaint’ style of the majority of contributions.
Which do you think is a more interesting popular culture then? Complaining or STOMPing?