45 years of what?
August 9, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

https://i2.wp.com/www.melawend.com/National_Day_Parade_-_photo_courtesy_of_the_Singapore_Tourism_Board.jpgSingapore’s National Day you say?

Yes, yes it is, according to the international calendar and according to historical events, this is Singapore’s day of independence.

While it is a day of celebration to some, a public holiday to all, the happiest people in Singapore come 9 August every year will be Lee Kuan Yew and his party.

What is there to celebrate anymore?

When we became an independent state, there were many hopes from the people as they heard the promises of their leaders. It was then a Singapore for all those who were Singaporeans. Opportunities were aplenty and our forefathers worked hard to build the nation. Things looked so promising then.


Within these 45 years of our nationhood, people were arrested and tortured, falsely accused without trial.

Within these 45 years, press freedom became suppressed with the closure of several newspapers thought to be critical of Lee Kuan Yew’s government.

Within these 45 years, politicians who do not share the opinions of the current ruling party have been destroyed thoroughly by defamation suits, by the use of the governmentally controlled media, by the textbooks that have been used in local schools.

Within these 45 years, there are many things they do not want us to see, hear or read about. There are also so many people they do not want us to know about. That is why they have been banning films, books, magazines and more.

Within these 45 years, Singaporeans are slowly moving away from the country because they are unhappy that they do not have a say in how this country is becoming. As a result, they have been replaced by an influx of immigrants who not only function to replace those who went away, they were also used to replace existing citizens whose salaries were deemed too unnecessarily high.


Within these 45 years, our ministers’ salaries rocketed beyond the term ‘sky high’ while homeless people sleep on the streets and ended up being fined and detained for being homeless.

Within these 45 years, Singaporeans have been verbally abused by the ministers when the problems were due to their own inefficiency, despite being so well paid.


Everything has to be cheaper, better and faster.

Everyone has to keep on smiling despite having no employment security and minimum wage, resigning to the fact that the psuedo-unions under a particular national union will act for us when certain issues arise.

Everyone has to feel pride despite being thrown down into the drains by the leaders trusted by our forefathers.

We are now slaves to a system that does not make sense; slaves to a man and his distorted ideals and silently ruthless iron fists.

So what nation, what citizenry?

What celebration?

This is just a corporation running from an island at the southern-most tip of Malaysia.

I am just a “digit”.

And so are you.

Are you going to resign to this unfortunate fate of yours?

I am not.


21 Comments so far
Leave a comment

wow, way to be patriotic. you can’t even distinguish between the country and the government, and you want to be some sort of an activist. way to discount the blood, sweat and tears of millions of Singaporeans over the past half century. please don’t harbour any political dreams, because you’d be a horrible politician.

Comment by patrick

Honestly, do you understand what I am writing there?

Yes by all means, all of us can celebration our nation’s independence, go ahead. Did I ask everyone not to do that? No.

Did I tell everyone to forget about the blood and sweat of our forefathers’? No.

I can clearly distinguish between country and government, I have said so in my previous blog posts.

My point in this is first of all to say that Singapore does not feel like home anymore because Singaporeans are not valued anymore. We get blamed, we were lied to, things were hidden from us, we got replaced by cheaper labour etc… this is what makes ‘home’ not a home anymore.

So many people were forgotten. So many of them who were involved in the struggle to independence in the past. Only LKY’s name rings repeatedly in the textbooks, in everyone’s ears and minds. What about Lim Chin Siong? What about JBJ and Tan Liang Hong? What about Chee Soon Juan? What about Lim Hock Siew, Chia Thye Poh and the ‘Marxist conspirators’ detained and tortured without a trail? What about all these?

Indeed the government and the country are separate but because of the way the government runs the country, because of the way the government sees us (like digits, according to LKY himself), treats us etc, I am not celebrating.

When I say that I am not resigning to my unfortunate fate of being a ‘digit’, I am saying that I will not bow down to being one. Not quietly, no.

And do not worry, I have no intentions to be a politician. I am an activist and will happily remain so.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Singaporeans spent every year of the last 45 wondering why someone without any care or concern about Singapore’s cultural identity, merge with a foreign nation whose government cared more for their indigenous race and then abruptly leave 3 years later when nothing could work out. Today Singapore is similarly overrun by migrants of foreign backgrounds who can’t be bothered to assimilate themselves into local culture. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, but when in Singapore do as you please and ignore the peasants.

Comment by defennder

I really think you are not fit to be a Singaporean, and you should immediately leave this country and go to somewhere else that can fulfill your desire and welcome your ideas! After all, you do not feel at home anymore, and you despise everything and anything!

Of course you will have to stay as an activist, because beyond whinning and picking on anything and everything you personally dislike, you are incapable of coming with any good solutions yourself…a case of empty vessels making the most noise!

You are the selfish but vocal minority that most rational but silent majority of Singaporeans hate, and we can’t wait to say good riddance to a rubbish like you!

Comment by seet

Hi Mavis Seet,

I do have the ability and the qualifications to pack up and go, I have done that and I will do that again because I do love travelling from place to place. However I will always come back because part of me is here.

But there are things that needs to be done here before doing so.

If I am selfish, I will not be doing what I am doing. Do you think it is so easy?

Activists do not get paid for doing what they do. They raise issues that they see in this society. Why do they do that? Because they care.

This place does not feel like home anymore not only to me but to many other Singaporeans. Do you not read other blogs, newspaper articles, interact with fellow Singaporeans and observe how they go about feeling, what they do and say?

From strangers to the people I personally know, many have remarked that change is needed in this place but they just cannot commit to do what activists do. All they can do is to cast their votes… however unfortunately a percentage of them are not able to do so due to walkovers.

Singaporeans are not really that silent as you have proclaimed. They feel unhappy too but they think that there is much to lose if they are to step forward to do act upon what they are unhappy about.

There is nothing wrong in speaking up. I am not burning buildings, planning assassinations, assaulting people I do not agree with.

I advocate, I write and I carry out activities that does not hurt anyone. I have stepped forward to put myself at risk of being ‘marked’. If I am selfish, I will not be doing this already.

But of course I do know that there will be people in this society who do not appreciate the work of activists. That is ok because I understand that people have different opinions and I won’t attack them personally for that. 🙂

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Keep up the good work Rachel despite being attacked by Mavis Seet. Yes the govt does some good but lately they had ignored the pleas of the poor, the common struggling Singaporean. They have stopped listening to the people. We need change. They have become arrogant. They act like bosses instead of servants to the common people. All the immoral words describe some of the ministers: arrogant, greedy, insensitive,money-faced, bossy, hypocritical, materialistic, selfish, lying, bullies, cruel, stingy, irresponsible, no-balls, lickers, afraid, talk-only, discriminatory, unjust, closed-minded, bluffing, threatening, insulting, pushy, non-forgiving, non embracing, elitist, nepotist, chauvinistic, exclusive, cunning, self serving.

I salute the heroic voters in Potong Pasir and Hougang for saying no to these immoral values.

Comment by EligibleBachelor101

Good article, admire tenacity to stay firm and persistance. You are not a digit. Don’t bracket yourself to the coined word which most apathetic Singaporeans fall into for some selfish reason.
Keep the good work up.
Thank you on behalf of all children of Singapore.

Comment by Digit you not

Hi Digit,

Thank you!

I didn’t coin that term by the way, LKY did:

“At the end of the day, we are so many digits in the machine. The point is – are these digits stronger than the competitors’ digits?” – MM Lee Kuan Yew on Singapore workers, History of Singapore, 2005

Comment by rachelabsinthe

[…] fly the flag! – Singapore Recalcitrant: The Mind-boggling National Day Award – Rachel Zeng: 45 years of what? – Sam’s thoughts: I want a more equal Singapore – Furry Brown Dog: Happy 45th National Day […]

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Wow who is this Mavis Seet?
I don’t usually comment, but i just want to say that i agree with what you have written and feel the same way.

As much as i want to convince myself that i feel nothing more for this country, Kit Chan singing Home still tugs at my heartstrings, and even more so for the fact that i know so much is going wrong.

Comment by Passing Visitor

Featured. Thanks Rachel.

Comment by ed

singapore needs more youngsters like you rachel and not empty headed detractors like patrick and seet.

Comment by urban legend

He used the term to describe us on a few occasions years before 2005 but has since stopped this idiotic habit. Why we’ll never know but we can guess. He’s a little wiser now.
Keep it up and don’t let them discourage you.

Comment by Gmale

Hi Rachel,

A true doom and gloom merchant if ever there was one!

Happy National Day!


Comment by SN

Well said Rachel ! You have just said a piece of my mind!

Thank you:)

Comment by Tekken Heng

Well written and well said…from the heart and soul of someone who still believe in and do love singapore except for the over-rated peanut midget version of the Nazi party in the 21st century.

Ultimately…once the excesses done to singapore reached ridiculious levels and there is no rational and real long term solution for the people of singapore and its future.

The only way forward is to leave and make a better life where the government and the people of another country treat its citizens true and unfalse. And one can be willing to sacrifice and believe in again.

Good day.

Comment by Kute Steiner

Good on ya Rachel. At least you have the guts to say what a lot of Singaporeans think. I don’t live there anymore but love going back for the good “makan” and the friendships from years gone by. Maybe we can catch up one day in the future. More power to you blog.

Comment by Jim Connor

[…] fly the flag! – Singapore Recalcitrant: The Mind-boggling National Day Award – Rachel Zeng: 45 years of what? – Sam’s thoughts: I want a more equal Singapore – Furry Brown Dog: Happy 45th National Day […]

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Rachel are u stil living in Spore? If u are, get lost!

Comment by juliet KT

Yes I am still living in Singapore because this is my home.

Get lost? Well, I have a right to be here but thanks for the advise. 🙂

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Hi Rachel,
I understand your concerns and respect your views but find difficulty in accepting your logic.

There is a Malay term for your tirade, “omong kosong” (empty<talk).

You write well. Put your skill to better use. Please read your article again.

Comment by Andy Lim

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