"artificial" Singapore

Crossing over the causeway brought us to the land used to be our place. Not anymore—physically or otherwise. It has become so foreign even the resident seems to be out of place. An old balding Chinese man with shorts ,slippers and a plastic bag walking along a well-manicured pedestrian path with a sophisticated building at the background, so contrast of each other that I wondered if the connection between the two has lost. It seems that everything around this place is built for someone other than its own people. I followed the tree line as we move along the highway with the road signs displayed in English with some traces of Malay heritage. Maybe that’s all what is left from the yesteryears when the place was used to be our hulubalang playground. I wonder if that would also be of us in the future when Malay culture would become a heritage of some long lost tribes of the past. I refused the analogy to be refuted and justified. We are different, I assured myself of the circumstances. But how different? No good answer to that, I supposed. But to tell you the truth I don’t see anything here which is better than back home, nothing excited me and nothing to be looked up for. This place is so artificial that I would be rather living in my kampong than putting up with all this hiked-up modern city. I want to be in a place that I can call home. You know like my place in Shah Alam where I can go back , put my feet up and feel so “saved” at the end of the day. It’s not an “anjung seri” interior but it’s my place, my home.

But some people would go all the way furnishing their house with expensive sofas , magnificent dining table and luxurious decorations so to entertain the guests. Maybe that’s what happening in Singapore; everything is done for the guests not its own people. The locals are tucked into the flats and housing estates as if they are the shame of the country. I smiled for I have never been so proud of my country, Malaysia. We are doing alright. I noticed how the faces of the locals have become everything but their own. The Chinese, Indians, or Malays without race identity as if they have become a new race of the land—-or given up as someone told them to. It happened during the colonial time, so I can accept that. It happened when you were in a foreign country. So we do out of respect. But why does it happen in your own homeland? The words “ slave of the states” keep flashing up without warning; but not sure whether that’s a good thing or bad. I guess they keep the colonial yard stick to this very day and read it like some kind of a holy book. Can you imagine to see a Chinese boy who could not speak a word of Chinese; and told the Chinese couple to read the instructions themselves. The instructions were obviously in Chinese. Within that boy I could see a new generation that has lost their heritage and done away with history. Maybe they want to let go the things of the past for it has brought back nothing but a painful reminder of the brutalities they endured to defend this land.

I moved on to see the fish, the big crabs, the sharks and the jelly fish. I waited for the dolphin show only to find the tricks were outdated (I saw that more than 25 years ago in LA). The seals were also as old as myself. I was bored to my stomach could not even have a mood to snap some photos.

Could not get into the Universal Studios because the tickets were sold out. But again I supposed all the rides were at least 10 years old. I left the place angry to myself…..fooled by the belief that my place is not any better than this one.

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