Last week, Feng Tianwei made history for Singapore at the Olympics by winning the singles bronze medal in table tennis. The way she played was inspirational – you could tell that she put in everything she had. Yet, after that tremendous effort, you once again have your detractors determined to put a dampener on things by dredging up the tired old issue of FTs on online forums.
I usually dislike reading these forums as the level of debate there can be so shallow. These netizens conveniently paint everyone with undiscerning strokes of the brush. FTs = bad. Singaporeans = good. Singaporeans who dare say anything remotely in defence of FTs = gahmen lackeys. They often revel in their cloak of anonymity, thinking that gives them the freedom to unleash their taunts laced with spite. Sometimes, I can barely believe these are my fellow Singaporeans, they’ve become so ungracious and mean-spirited.
Look, I’ll be the first to say I think the government handled the whole immigration policy badly. Basically they opened the floodgates and country was not prepared – neither the people nor the infrastructure. Certainly, the grovelling attitude made matters worse. It reinforced the superior mentality in some FTs and antagonised the locals. I think since the General Election, the government has recognised its mistake and is trying to make amends but many Singaporeans see it as too little, too late.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the FTs who did come to Singapore and take up citizenship, they’re already here. And many of them are ordinary folks like you and I, trying to make a life for themselves. What is the point of continuously casting them in the villain’s role? These are human beings, not robots to be treated like punching bags.
Forums have always complained that the table tennis FTs came to Singapore but failed to deliver. Now that Feng Tianwei has won, they’re claiming that she was playing for herself, not Singapore. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.
Here’s my conclusion: Haters will always find something to hate. They don’t seek to build up, they seek to tear down. Some people just need a target for their vitriol and they don’t realise that it reflects badly on themselves. The forums that thrive on fanning the flames of discord are horribly irresponsible, in my opinion.
They say these FTs have no ties here, they have no loyalty to Singapore. But from what I see on the Internet, some of the worst, most disloyal, anti-Singapore comments come from Singaporeans. They think nothing of bashing their own country on the world wide web, for all to see.
It’s like the spoilt child syndrome. They complain about the food they get, the clothes they wear and the toys they’re given. Yet when their parents give an adopted child a toy, they shriek “it’s mine! how dare you give it away!” Birthright does not entitle one to behave like a hooligan. Some Singaporeans seriously need to shed that entitled mentality.
I used to have a colleague who would gripe about her job everyday. She would complain that she had no prospects there, how it sucked that she had to work Saturdays, how her boss wasn’t fair, how her job was not fulfilling, blah blah. When she was finally promoted, she whined, “now they’ll expect me to work harder.” The gall of it all. I never had the courage to ask her but I constantly wondered, “if you hate it so much here, why don’t you just leave?”
Every country has its inadequacies. All things considered, ours isn’t so bad. Patriotism isn’t about hating foreigners or denying its problems, it’s about being proud of your country regardless. Just as you wouldn’t put your family down in front of others (no matter how much you disagreed with them), it isn’t cool to be constantly talking smack about your country.
I don’t agree with some of our government policies but the fact remains that I love my country. The government is NOT the country. If we choose to earn a living, raise a family and make a home here, then we should at least have the grace to appreciate it for what it is, blips and all.
It’s National Day on Thursday. Beyond the parade, the flags, the public holiday, I hope a fire burns in your heart for our beautiful nation.
Happy birthday, Singapore ♥