by Cheow-Seng Ho
on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 11:13pmA people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. …..
Hi My Friend, You and I belong to the same generation judging by the photo of yourself you have put up. I was born when the Japs were raining bombs on Singapore. So you can guess how old I am.
Meanwhile you can assure yourself of one thing: you and I have lived through WW11. We have seen suffering and we’ve seen pain. We know what poverty means not form textbooks or over the TV. We understand poverty in the way the young will never be able to. I don’t know about you, but my parents were poor when I was just a child. So I have tasted poverty. In our times as children, we have seen civil unrests in the form workers going on strikes and marching down the main Seranoon roads 3 abreast shouting slogans and singing revolutionary songs. We’ve seen inter-racial clashes, and Chinese Secondary School pupils defying the authorities by refusing to allow schools to function. They held sit-ins. We have seen gang-fights in the street and how brutal and gory these gangland wars were. Also we were witness to the life and death struggle against the Communists who wanted to take over Singapore. Some of our fellowmen were more than witnesses. Thay took part in the actual struggle. And before this we were treated very cruelly by the Japanese who conquered many parts of Southeast Asia.
Yes my Friend, we have been there and we saw the ugly things that unfold before our eyes. We were part of the Singapore Story, our Nation’s history. We also understand what it means to have the life of a Nation come to a complete halt for several weeks because of racial unrests. In today’s terms several weeks’ of businesses lost would cost the Nation billions of dollars. But because of all that we’ve beenthrough, we are the stronger for it. We may say we led a richer, more meaningful and colourful life. We belong to the generations who can take painand suffering all at once. And so we are stronger and will prevail against all odds.
Once some members of the younger generations told me that the Government today will have a tougher time ruling Singapore because the young of today, unlike their parents and grandparents, are all very highly educated. They are able to challenge the Government and debate with them on many issues and so the Government cannot push them around.And they could make life very difficult for the Government if they were so inclined. Of the older generation they said they were either illiterate or semi-literate and so the Government of yesteryears had an easier time at governing Singapore. At this juncture I interrupted the one speaking and aked that they listen to several points I had to make:
1. I told them the older generations had tasted more salt than they of the younger generations have eaten rice. I also said that in the riotous days of the mid 1950’s to the early 1970’s we struggled, sweat and toiled to help build the Singapore they have today. I asked them where they were then. One retorted we were not born then. That precisely was the point, I told them. You were all still swimming somewhere. They looked puzzled and I thought it best to leave things for them to figure out.
2. Concerning their point about the younger generation being much better educated and so the Government cannot run roughshod over them, I told them to remember that it was the older generations who had laid the foundation for Singapore’s properity so that the Government now could build enough schools to ensure that no child will miss the chance of a good education. I also differed with them on a critical point. I told them that being very literate was not to be very equated to being well educated. The younger generations today know the price of everthying but the value of nothing. I said that the older generations had a tradition of values and culture orally passed down to them. They were taught by their elders by example to be well-mannered, to know how to manage money and to be hardworking. They knew that there was no free lunch and one had to be prepared to work inorder to eat. The older generations also knew how to save for rainy days. In this sense of having good values and being willing to work hard to do their duties by their children, wife and their aged parents, they showed themselves to be well educated. So the young today may learn more things in school and spend more years learning, but have they become better people because of what they have been given in terms of very well facilitated schools, and the privilege of spending longer years in school. Knowing how to operate and apply all the modern technology to make sophisticated products do not make them better educated. They must have good values to be considered educated. Otherwise they are just being literate, and it is their parents and grandparents who could claim to be better educated. So being very literate does not translate into being well-educated. You are well educated only when you have good values,when you understand that as a person whether old or young, you have duties, responsibilities and obligations. You do not take things for granted and know how to show appreciation for the good things of life that you have been given. An educated person also knows his resposibilities to his/her Community and Country. The educated person knows what it means to be a good citizen, to co-operate with their fellowmen, work together in harmony, always ready to lend a helping hand, and, being caring and compassionate to the poor, the socially disadvantaged and the handicapped. So an educated person is a good fellowman, a good head of the family, a good and faithful friend, and, a dutiful and loyal citizen.
So, .. my fellow Singaporean, rest assured that you are an enlightened citizen who knows how to put Country before Self. Whether or not you belong to any political party is of no consequence. You will be recognised not for the party you belong to but for what you are able to do for Singapore, your Home and mine.
Comments collected from the net :
1. […the Government today will have a tougher time ruling Singapore…]
This I concur.
But, NO, not becoz the older generation are illiterate and can be pushed around.
It is tougher becoz the young today, for the very reason that they r more educated, THINK that they know best & thus DEMAND for what they DEEM is BEST.
It is tougher becoz the young today, has no value of gratitude. What is / has been done for them are being taken as their entitlement.
It is tougher becoz the young today, have parents who give in to all their demands, and they expect the same from the Govt.
It is tougher becoz the young today, are so influenced by the West – they long to be like the West – FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
It is an easier job to rule the older Singapore becoz the older generation are happy with just porridge & egg, while we may only be contented with Sakae Sushi.
I don’t blame the young completely. I mean, it is not their fault that they are born in this internet era. That, they may not even have used a coin phone before. Or a camera which needs to be loaded with a roll of film.
What is it that the young lack that leads them to behave how they are behaving? VALUES, I personally think.
The problem is, children today will be parents of tomorrow. And if the children are not taught values, how then do we expect them to pass down to their next generation?
Perhaps it is high time that, we (GEN X) parents, the society, the Govt start to invest more time / energy / resources into cultivating the good morals of our next generation, lest they become an even more educated ungrateful foolish lot.
2. Better educated for many of them and they start to think and complain. But how on earth they are better educated if it hasnt been the credit of a good government which has long been making sure Singaporeans receive adequate education? Somet…imes it is quite a joke to see some of the cynical comments from some of the people who write on the net so liberally and proudly, why? Is this what better educated Singaporeans supposed to be? Lacking simple social behavior or respect for the elders is coming from people who are nurtured in this country. Better educated does not equate to value for some of the people.
3. As Mr Lee Kuan Yew had said, “we haven’t become brighter as a population, we have just become more educated.”
4. …… I think it is perfectly alright for different opinions from people, we are all different, so as a society is alright to have different choice…s of their prefered politicians or political parties, however, there should be some base line that Singaporeans should observe, crossing over the base line could mean disharmony or splitting of the nation, worst potentially country not moving forward due to mistrust and fights among the people. We are at this successful level both in the region and globally, obviously it has become ‘attractive’ to some other politicians, some popped up from nowhere, to find easy path or even success now if they take over, it is like if a company is already doing well, whichever CEO takes over has an easy task. So it is now ‘ power play ‘, those who are on the sideline hungry to eat up the whole fat meat will continue to find ways and means to over throw the current CEO.