I am convinced that most Singaporeans are prouder to be in Singapore than I am. There’s this sense of belonging most Singaporeans have that didn’t seem come as natural to me as it did for others. It got me thinking about leaving Singapore experience what it is like working overseas because that’s what people tell me — you go overseas few years la then sure you miss Singapore one.

So someone from the US pointed this out to me yesterday that in his country, ignoring the party lines, there are people who would just bitch and bitch about America and then continue to be proud of USA. And how it works is that they have the sense of ownership over American and this gives them to right to critique about her.

And my mind’s just blown, although save yourself from imagining that, I know you love to see that. There are two separate things really:

1. A sense of belonging VS a sense of ownership

Ah, the word play. It seemed like, at least to me, that I belonged to Singapore and that would somewhat imply Singapore owns me. This is opposed to what the American dude thinks, he likes they it’s their America, they collectively owned America. I would previously never dare say sense of ownership to describe anything Singapore, it felt brazen.

All this while I am searching for things that make me feel I belong to the country and it takes a conversation to make me realize I don’t have to, I own the country. It is my country. So get off my lawn, will you? Okay, mow it before you leave, thanks.

2. The relationship between criticism and ownership

Supposed I am a fashion designer, I design and manufacture these shirts and blouses and pants and everything. I wear my own clothes and I let others wear the clothes I designed too. Once in a while I would sit and reflect, hey, the white buttons gotta go it’s really ugly. I feel I have the right to say that because I make the clothes. If others were to tell me the white buttons aren’t pretty enough, I will get offended. I think that really is what People’s Action Party (PAP) thinks for many years. (PS: I love the white outfit.) When people start complaining about Singapore being the way she is, her designers felt betrayed.

But, it’s a good thing to critique. And if you feel you own the country, it leaves little wrong to criticize. I would also go a step further to say that the more you critique the more you feel that this is your country due to the time invested on babbling away at common areas. People will have the perception that Singapore mattered to you a lot and you in return have to live up to the impression that you have created. Criticism ends up reinforcing your sense of ownership.

Side note: The Hong Lim Park Speakers’ Corner speech of February 16, 2013

I do not agree with the points discussed. I do however like that people are sharing their opinions and listening to each other. This is yet another critical milestone for my country. All I see is love, baby, all I see is love.

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