Monday, July 12, 2004

reading the Straits Times really makes my day

One people, one nation, but are we one class? - JULY 12, 2004

"BANKING officer Alex Tan, 25, has a ritual he performs every working day at the end of his drive from his Hougang flat to his Shenton Way office. After parking his Toyota, he pauses to peel the HDB carpark label off his windscreen before putting on his tie. Forgetting, he says with a shudder, would mean betraying his heartlander roots, and he 'can't afford that'."

setting aside the fact that i dislike the use of 'betraying' because i was totally confused for about a minute until i realised Susan Long meant 'betraying' in the sense of 'exposing' and not 'to turn traitor', the article raises issues that are -as pointed out- all too commonly glossed over, brushed aside, and social-engineered away in Singaporean (and really any) society.

my brief comments: the drive to consider oneself 'middle class' in any (democratic) society is a very powerful one. many people who would be considered by others as 'upper-class', or 'rich' often do describe themselves as 'middle class' or 'upper middle class' in surveys and to their peers, regardless of the fact that they have four luxury cars and a big landed property in the Bukit Timah area. -grin- ok perhaps i am exagerrating. but you know what i mean. i see it all the time in the states too - there's something -wrong- about acknowledging your privileges or your wealth or your background; and there's something wrong in talking about it. something to think about, perhaps - is this a universal notion of modesty, or is this something peculiar to -perhaps- democracy or socialism where human equality and merit hold sway?

oh but -- in the same article there is a glossary titled 'High-Level Vocabulary', choice samples being 'ritual', 'theoretically' (thankfully spelled right -grin-), and 'ideologically'. -sighs- oh, Singapore.


At 11:54 AM, July 13, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol. I like the vocabulary list. It makes me feel better about the fact that I may actually not know the meanings of some of the words that would appear on my GREs. *grin* BTW, did you know that 90 percent of Japanese consider themselves middle class? It's considered one of the keystones of mordern Japanese culture that Japanese tend to consider themselves all the same, in language, class, culture.... - c

At 2:08 PM, July 13, 2004, Blogger J. said...

sounds like the same idea as here, really. 'middle class' is good, 'upper class' is a little too much, 'poor' is totally undesirable.

At 12:56 AM, July 16, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just as least we're modest. what if we had got a 50% upper class and 50% lower class result? :)


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