include("cmp.php");

What does loving your country look like

Since National Day has just passed, I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about the topic of patriotism or the love of one’s nation. If you look at the rise of hard right snake oil salesmen that have been popping up all over the place in the last half decade, you will realise that we are living in a time when the term “patriotism” has been sorely abused.

Patriotism or love of the state has always been a virtue for as long as humans have organised themselves into societies. If you look at who becomes a hero, you’ll notice it’s inevitably been people who have sacrificed their individuality and even their lives for the rest of us. We think of the ideal as set out by the late President John F Kennedy who told the young of his era, “Ask not what your country has done for you but what you can do for your country.”

While many of us grew up encouraged to have develop “patriotic” ideals, there has been a trend towards abusing ideal of patriotism. This abuse is best summed up by former US President George W Bush when he said, “You are either with us or against us.” This became most pronounced during the Trump Presidency when everyone was either cheering in delusion or foaming in the mouth whenever his name was mentioned.

As always, whilst America and the rest of the Western World gets stuck in a debate on personalities, Singapore practices a more subtle but probably more effective form of abusing patriotism. The most visible example is over the debate on the death penalty. The activists make one consistent tactical error, which is to write to the rest of the world about Singapore hanging people. Look at the last incident when Sir Richard Branson got involved in airing his views on the death penalty.

It is a tactical error because the government inevitably moves the discussion away from the death penalty and the chap waiting at the gallows to a question of “outsiders versus Singapore,” and suddenly anyone who anti-death penalty gets labelled as “anti-Singaporean.” Hence the guy’s fate is inevitably sealed because, well its no longer about whatever the guy was carrying but Singapore standing up to the rest of the world on a certain political position.

As mentioned in my previous posting, patriotism is an emotion and when an emotion is stirred up, logic and rationality go out the window. I think of the 2005 hanging of Van Tuong Nguyen, an Australian citizen who was caught carrying drugs. There was a lot of diplomatic noise and an Australian politician mentioned something about banning SQ from Australian airports. Speaking as someone who sees himself as educated in the West and rational, my instinct was – we should not only hang the guy but ensure that the Australian High Commissioner witnessed the event. The emotion of sticking the middle finger at the “imperialist” bully when we are trying to apply our laws was strong enough to overcome whatever feelings I might have had towards the death penalty.

This is not the only example of how the debate has shifted from being about issues to being about “us-versus-them.” It has become all too easy to label anyone who disagrees with you as “unpatriotic.” Patriotism is the blanket used to suppress disagreement.

However, as anyone who has had kids will tell you, like and love do not go hand in hand. As I have said to my kid on a few occasions, “I’ll always love you, but I don’t like certain things that you do or believe in.”

What is true of parenting is also true of patriotism. I do not necessarily like everything that goes on in Singapore and I write blog about it a lot. However, that does not mean that I do not have love for my country, which for the record is the only country in the world that I have a legal obligation to defend.

Singapore is my home, and it is the place where I have been trying to raise a family. There are reasons why I chose to do it here and not elsewhere. However, when it comes to the things that I do not like about the place, I express myself and hope that one day someone with the capabilities of bringing about change will do it and make it a better place.

I do not think this feeling is unique to me. There are, as they say distinctions between Singapore the country and the Singapore government. There are distinctions between disagreeing with certain things and wanting to destroy them.

We need to remember this when we look at people like opposition politicians and activist of certain causes. Just because we do not agree with them all the time, it does not mean that they are less patriotic than the rest of us.

This was a point that was ironically brought home to me by a young man who was active in the PAP grassroots. He was talking about Dr. Chee who has been a proverbial punch bag for the powers that be. His argument was that when you look at Dr. Chee and all that he has endured, it is a miracle that he stays and remains active in the political sphere. This is a man who cold easily have packed his bags and moved elsewhere to make a more comfortable living. He has no reason to stay and like the place. Yet he stays because he must clearly believe he’s got something to contribute.

We need to remember this. People who love the country do not have to like everything about it. People who are critical are not necessarily against the system but hoping to make it work for them. Not everyone can be a superscale wage earner but most of us have to live here and make it work for us. If we remember that disagreement is not unpatriotic, we can sit down and discuss the ways to make things better for everyone. However, we can only do that when the people we disagree with feel confident enough that they won’t be labelled “unpatriotic” for holding different views.

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

27 Responses to “What does loving your country look like”

  • Unions in sg useful or no?:

    Hope these idiots are sincere for once and not just ND wayang wayang TCSS.
    Here it goes “everyone matters” ….

    https://mothership.sg/2022/08/ng-chee-meng-open-letter-ntuc/

    “No one will be left behind”?
    Looks like it’s already happened.

    Also they ought to address the growing homelessness…built more temp shelters to house these folks first and help them get on their feet first..

    Isnt it shameful this happening in one of the richest countries …??

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • xoxo:

    Can LEEders truly say THEY LOVE SG UNLESS THEY ALSO SINCERELY LOVE N CARE FOR sinkingPOOReans n not just $ingaporean$?
    I see many FTs donning Tshirts emblazoned with these words * I LOVE SG* WITH A RED HEART right in the centre.
    Wow! Do you think these FTs love Singapore more than sgs?
    Probably,these FTs love the $ they are getting fron this country.
    No $,No Love,i tell you.
    Those t-shirts shud really be printed like this: * I LOVE $g*???

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • xoxo:

    It would only be right if the MOM N MOF publish DETAILED ACCOUNTS OF HOW OUR $100 BILLION OF RESERVES have been allocated.
    How much per capita to sgs less those NEEDY N JOBLESS N OLD sgs who received $600 out of claimed $23.5K per capita .
    How much PER CAPITA to PRs/FTs ?

    Such details would earn trust from the common citizens.
    In fact,it is the DUTY of the G to do so.
    Integrity is accountability as well responsibility.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    “I’ll always love you, but I don’t like certain things that you do or believe in.”
    ============================================================================
    Yes, teach your children to be upfront and honest like us PAP and follow Americunt style, where applicable

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • The Sun, The Moon & The Truth:

    Similarly, what is the difference between “I like SG” and “I love SG”?

    When you LIKE SG, you just blindly support the party in power for your own benefits.

    When you LOVE SG, you stand up and speak out what is right for the sake and benefit of the whole country.

    So, generally speaking, people who LIKE something do things selfishly while people who LOVE something are selfless and make sacrifices for the things they love.

    I was asked, do I think the PAPies LIKE SG or LOVE SG? Hmm…. isn’t it obvious? PAPies only LIKE SG while those who kept opposing them actually LOVE SG!

    The same can be asked of foreigners. Do foreigners LIKE SG or LOVE SG? (Sama sama, the answer is also very obvious.)

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Hai Rui needed:

    In Singapore, we need more people like Hai Rui who is famous for his fearless criticism of the emperor. Hai Rui is an example of patriotism and of course there are many other kind. Patriotism is not say, say and pretend everything in the nation is alright when things go wrong. Like recently, the pharmacy run out of some medicine which can be use to treat fever, sore throat, cough and cold like panadol for cough and cold, all of which important for covid-19 treatment.Singapore open the border and let covid-19 spread into the nation, repeating mistake again and again. Many covid-19 people told not to go hospital if not serious because up to now the hospital capacity still not enough. All these problems caused by government, not many people point out, shout and complain. This is not patriotism. Yet many people 9 in 10 in survey said that government do well in the covid-19 crisis. Say thank you sir in youtube when things went wrong. This is not patriotism. To be Hai rui, concern of people well being, speak out about issues is patriotism. Whether you fear or not fear the government, we need to speak out for the people and their well being like Hai Rui, only then the nation will be better. Pretend everything alright and keep quiet for fear of losing power, votes, money and fame is disloyal to the nation. It will even be better and more patriotic if people start doing something to correct the wrong and make Singapore better or remove those useless people or people causing problem from power.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Looks about right:

    Patrotism is always supporting your country ; and your government only if they deserve it.
    —Mark Twain—

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Make Singapore better:

    If you love Singapore, help make Singapore better for all.
    A kick from a friend is better than a kiss from an enemy.

    If you like Singapore, you will do nothing to improve it.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • panyusg:

    Loving Singapore is not about Loving the PAP.

    Separate the issues…it is about pride in Singapore…home and nation.

    At least for one day in 365 days, we should put aside disagreements and come together to love Singapore.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • NotMyProblem:

    The Sun, The Moon & The Truth:
    Similarly, what is the difference between “I like SG” and “I love SG”?

    When you LIKE SG, you just blindly support the party in power for your own benefits.

    When you LOVE SG, you stand up and speak out what is right for the sake and benefit of the whole country.

    But the problem in SG, when you stand up and speak out what is right, you will be lock up!!

    Foreigners, including new-citizen, like SG but love their own countries.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Hai Rui needed: In Singapore, we need more people like Hai Rui who is famous for his fearless criticism of the emperor.

    Singapore is democratic, we have no emperor. Period.

    Anyway, we are not China. We are not interested.

    Hai Rui needed: Yet many people 9 in 10 in survey said that government do well in the covid-19 crisis.

    This is correct. Our great PAP did well in managing Covid 19.

    Did you see anyone rush and fell, crash to the ground for vaccine ?
    Facts 1:
    Democratic vaccination were treated like d0g
    https://bit.ly/3wr95YX
    Question: Does Singaporeans have to run and fell for vaccine ?
    Answer: No.

    Facts 2:
    Democratic ROC no money buy vaccine. It has to depend on donation from billionaire Terry Gou and Tzu Chi and others.
    https://bit.ly/3Pnw6T4
    Question: Do our PAP Singapore buy enough vaccine?
    Answer: Yes, we had enough vaccine for everyone.

    Facts 3:
    ROC MP play mah jong…not interested in island affairs
    https://bit.ly/3pimVbT
    Question: Do our PAP MP play mah jong in Parliament?
    Answer: No.

    Update: More breaking news on Chinese fake degree…watch this space.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • YourMoney:

    Get real. When push comes to shaft, money talks. It is a borderless world after all. You have the means and talent, the world is your oyster(home). Well, you can be a “patriot” afar though(ya right).

    Seriously, to be a true patriot, you need to change the social compact. The government and people must be one. Such a social compact does not currently exist as you have been “sold as a slave to Sin”

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • xoxo:

    ONE people,ONE nation,ONE Singapore.
    What is One.
    One means,whOle.
    It the *O* thats bind ALL sgs.
    Are we,as leaders,Striving to make ALL sgs as One,the whOle of SingapOre?
    If sO,we shud ensure ALL sgs are cared for before we even try to care for others.
    When the G took out $100 Billion,did they consider All sgs first?
    The answer is clear.
    When we claim Per Capita Grant is $23.5K,we must ensure All deserving sgs are considered first.
    Why we,as leaders,are so stern to our people,telling them to accept $1K (lower salaries) or be replaced by *CBF*( Cheaper,Better,Faster) FTs but we cannot tell NOW EXPENSIVE FTs to take LOWER SALARIES TO HELP COMPANIES TIDE OVER COVID or BE REPLACED BY SGS?

    Then again,we insist on CLAWING BACK VIA G$T INCREASES INSTEAD OF INCOME TAX,ETC,saying it is more *EQUITABLE*?

    So,was it also *EQUITY* when we grant needy sgs $600 instead of $23.5K n called it SOLIDARITY/RESILIENCE?

    SOLIDARITY with whom?
    And,RESILIENCE for whom?

    One people?
    Who?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Make Singapore better:
    If you love Singapore, help make Singapore better for all.
    A kick from a friend is better than a kiss from an enemy.

    If you like Singapore, you will do nothing to improve it.

    After typing 3 lines, what else are you doing?

    1. show face, Walk the ground to improve things or
    2. continue to hide behind moniker and be a keyboard warrior?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • The Sun, The Moon & The Truth:

    NotMyProblem: But the problem in SG, when you stand up and speak out what is right, you will be lock up!!

    Foreigners, including new-citizen, like SG but love their own countries.

    Fully agreed!

    And sadly, many singaporeans (including the MIB & those in the gangaroo court and erection dept) LIKE SG, not LOVE SG. That’s why people who opposed the party in power often get bullied.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • john:

    to me, ndp is no different from 遊神, in theochew 營老爺

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Spec Ops:

    We are in a planetary zoo run by a hostile off-world Type II civilization engaging in human farming of our energy and effort by extortion through taxes and other means.

    The system is enforced through fear and constant indoctrination of successive generations to believe that working hard and get a good job will uphold the ‘natural aristocracy’. Even though we outnumber them by millions to one.

    A country is just the name for yet another ranch with fenced off borders to keep us in to be managed and controlled, situated next to another cattle ranch with a different group of humans to be managed and controlled.

    Political spats between countries is just two farmers challenging each other to fight while the animals under them marked for eventual slaughter cheer their farmer on.

    ‘I am proud to be Russian, US citizen, Mexican, Brazilian, Argentinian, Canadian, Congolese, Chinese, Nigerian, South African, Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Filipino, Sinkie, etc etc etc’.

    Yeah. So what?

    ‘Are Humans Being Harvested?’ – Legalise Freedom
    https://odysee.com/@LegaliseFreedom:0/are-humans-being-harvested:6

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • James Lee:

    Given how SG were managed by the uncaring PAP elites and their cronies over the past few decades, of whatever trusts that remain have all but gone.All true blue SG should realize something is not right.Act before it’s too late.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • nathan chen:

    In the first place, why is loving your country or even talking about it so important. How true and deep do we love Singapore? Like the Ukranians? Who love Ukraine to death, literally speaking. How do we prove our love for Singapore? What yardstick should we use to measure this love for our country? We will never know until we lose Singapore or is in danger of losing her. Speaking for myself, talking cock and singing songs, display of affection and loyalty to the State does not count.

    [Some folks are born made to wave the flag
    Hoo, they're red, white and blue
    And when the band plays "Hail to the chief"
    Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

    It ain't me, it ain't me
    I ain't no senator's son, son
    It ain't me, it ain't me
    I ain't no furtunate one, no

    Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
    Lord, don't they help themselves, Lord?
    But when the taxman come to the door
    Lord, the house lookin' like a rummage sale, yeah

    It ain't me, it ain't me
    I ain't no millionaire's son, no, no
    It ain't me, it ain't me
    I ain't no fortunate one, no

    Yeah-yeah, some folks inherit star-spangled eyes
    Hoo, they send you down to war, Lord
    And when you ask 'em, "How much should we give?"
    Hoo, they only answer, "More, more, more, more"]

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Dr Fire:

    That’s right.

    There are many Country out there .

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Harder Truths:

    “The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.”

    ― Thomas Sowell

    I will not be loyal ot a pack of liars and thieves. I am not talking just about the Regime. I am talking about the $ingapore-born hypocrite.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Temusik Patriot:

    A Patriot is one who KNOWS where he belongs in times Good Bad or UGLY all Around n Desyroy the Destroyers before it DESTROYS us n Yhe Nation…Or to be mild n gentle Replace the atseholes with their GamiLEES & Cronies

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Temusik Patriot:

    Typo cotrection:” REPLACE the Arseholes with their famLEES N Cronies

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Temusik Patriot:

    Criminal laws of the land on capital punishment should be uphold inline with the crime after a “fair” trial …but murder by LEEgal means through an act of Parliament is HIDEOUS N EVIL n only an Evil system can enact such an act…top it by bringing in a Clone expert Dr Coleman of Dolly fame to clone a brilliant LEEder? N his brillant partners?

    Temusik Patriot:
    Typo cotrection:” REPLACE the Arseholes with their famLEES N Cronies

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Temusik Patriot:

    A Patriot is ONE who love his Gods Country n fellow countryman…NOT one who SPAWN Evil, Division n Hatred in the name of Good for the nation

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • xoxo:

    Friends come and go,but a good LEADER is forever.
    My gratefulness to Dr Goh and the 1G leaders.
    They are models for LW N 4G to emulate.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Temusik Patriot:

    Ditto…not a big mouth Lie n Con maestro…dr. Goh’s epitaph “psalm 23 The Lord is my Shepard I have ENOUGH”…step down after a job well done…the Con stayed until cannot pee n stand without help…n sent out of Istana after the Owl he worship hooted for him

    xoxo:
    Friends come and go,but a good LEADER is forever.
    My gratefulness to Dr Goh and the 1G leaders.
    They are models for LW N 4G to emulate.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...

Leave a Reply

 characters available


Scroll Down For More Interesting Stuff


Member Services
Self-SupportMembers LoginSelf-Support
Sponsored Advertisement
Search On TR Emeritus
Sponsored Advertisement
Announcement
Advertisements
Visitors Statistic
Latest Statistic

UA-67043412-1