I haven’t been out shopping on a weekend for a long while as I do not like crowded and noisy places. On Sunday, over the Hari Raya weekend, Rachel and I decided to catch a movie at Marina Square and do some window shopping in the city hall area.
Once I stepped out of the MRT station, I feel like a tourist in a foreign land. Seriously.
The sights and sounds of the people around me – I would say only one out of ten is clearly discernible as a second generation or above, Singapore-born Singaporean (you have to be really clear and specific on the term “Singaporean” since it is so loosely used nowadays).
Singapore is a young nation state. It took the government more than 40 years to build up a sense of national identity among our multi-racial and multi-cultural citizenry. Yet in the past few years, the rapid influx of foreigners to spur economic growth has quickly eroded whatever national identity that was slowly evolving.
Uniquely Singapore? Beyond food and a series of economic-related world firsts, what else defines Singapore?
These days, I find it interesting that one actually feel a sense of homeliness when you encounter a service staff who is Singaporean – whether at posh shopping malls, your neighbour shops, uppity restaurants or hawker centres.
I am not xenophobic, but it is strange isn’t it? Aren’t we in Singapore in the first place?
Hence the first question I asked Rachel when I met her outside Raffles City: “What country am I in?”