It is common for people of any nationality to think that the grass is greener elsewhere. That's because it's natural for us to see other people's lives through rose-tinted glasses but when it comes to our own problems, we magnify them. Singaporeans are no different. You hear the most complaints from taxi drivers. The government is blamed for just about anything that happens. We have no natural disasters and things really are hunky-dory here unlike in Malaysia where everything that can possibly go wrong in a third-world nation goes wrong there. And yet people here continue to complain. Even minor floods become a big issue and the government is given a rap on the knuckles.
I used to say that complaining Singaporeans should be made to live in Malaysia for a year and they are sure to return with gratitude in their hearts for all that they are blessed with here.
Before I go on, I must make it clear that I'm not a pro-government man. By nature, I tend to be anti-establishment and I do have a lot of respect for many Opposition Party members in Singapore. When I hear of someone joining the Opposition, I KNOW he's not doing it for selfish or monetary reasons because in my books, selfish and money-minded people don't join the Opposition. But at the same time, I believe in being truthful. Things are wonderful here and when you look around you, there really is no place on this planet that most of us would rather live in than good old Singapore. Forget politics, forget how "paternalistic" the government may be. The fact is they have done a good job. OK, they are paid a lot but they have done a good job. Just look across the Causeway or look at Indonesia and think. Our leaders may be paid a lot but they don't take a penny more than what they are legally entitled to. I prefer this sort of open honesty. But the bottom line is they have done a really good job. And is it so wrong to reward those who have done an excellent job?
And I'm not the only one who says this. The Economist has just reported that Singapore is now the 6th best country to be born in. Just look at the list:
If this is not a firm and unequivocal affirmation of how well Singapore has done, I don't know what will satisfy people who refuse to see that the grass here is the greenest in the whole of Asia and it's the 6th greenest on the planet. If you throw in the other factors which I'm sure the Economist Intelligence Unit failed to consider such as how delicious our food is, I think Singapore will easily outstrip Switzerland.
But there will always be the rabid naysayers who can't see anything good about Singapore even though you have shown them the facts and I always wonder why they remain here if they dislike this place so much.
I will show you one more piece of evidence and this time, I believe even Chee Soon Juan will concede that the government has done a fantastic job.
In 1988, the Economist Intelligence Unit did the same assessment and Singapore ranked 36 together with East Germany. Malaysia followed at No. 38. USSR was No. 21 and even India beat us and tied with Mexico to stand at No 27! China (yes, Commie China) then ranked 32.
What does that tell us? In just 25 years, Singapore managed to raise itself to No. 6 in the list of the best countries to be born in. I don't know about you but I think anyone with an ounce of gratitude in his system will have to acknowledge that the government of Singapore has done a magnificent job. And the next time there is a minor flooding in Orchard Road, just smile and remind yourself that we're No. 6 and kudos to the leaders for this.
NOTE: The above information is obtained entirely from the Economist. At least there can be no dispute as to the reliability of the facts stated.