Singa Crew is the man behind the book “Singapore Sucks!”. I managed to catch up with him recently and decided take the opportunity to conduct an interview for my blog. I will publish his replies in three separate parts.
Singa Crew: Well, I was only 12 when the warrior priests of Torm adopted me and at the temple, I vowed to become a paladin in service to the God of duty… Oh wait, that’s the background info I did for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Sorry.
But honestly, there isn’t much about me that would interest the public. I am a working-class man. When I am not writing, I earn my keep working at menial jobs where I get to meet my fellow blue-collar workers who, too often, get swept under the carpet in clinical Singapore. I would say my work experience gave me the insight necessary to write Singapore Sucks!
Me: Why did you write this book?
Singa Crew: You know, a writer once described Singapore as “Disneylandwith the death penalty”. But many Singaporeans, like myself, who have to put up with the draconian rules for decades now, we are not feeling the Disney at all. Just the penalties. Therefore, we get very annoyed with the mainstream media – especially the government-owned dailies circulating inSingapore– for their unhealthy fixation on the “Disney” side of Singapore.
There is a limit to how high you can suspend your disbelief. So the time came when I said “enough is enough” and pitched the idea to write Singapore Sucks! to some people I know.
Me: How did the idea come about?
Singa Crew: Like I said, many Singaporeans like myself, we are not experiencing the much vaunted Disney side of Singapore. Most people I know are just working-class people like myself trying to make ends meet on a daily basis. We have our problems. And throughout the long years I have lived inSingapore, I have seen my fellow Singaporeans losing their jobs, their homes and generally suffering (in silence) all kinds of abuse because we do not have human rights laws to safeguard our dignity as human beings.
Now, while this is happening and even as my fellow citizens throw themselves in front of incoming trains at the MRT stations, our government is feeding the public with feel good news about how Singapore is a shopping and food paradise.
So I got it into my head to write and publish a book to showcase the other side, the side that is more real to us than the shopping paradise mirage our government conjured up for the tourists.
Me: What do you hope to achieve with your book?
Singa Crew: If we do not face up to our problems, we can never hope to change anything. This book is like a mirror. I hope that when my fellow Singaporeans read the stories in the book, they will see their everyday problems reflected in them and perhaps they can then gain the perspective and clarity needed to come to terms with those issues. That’s the first step towards resolution.
Personally, I think most of our societal problems are too deep-seated to be resolved without an overhaul of the current political system, but we should at least give it a shot!
Me: Why do you think Singapore Sucks?
Singa Crew: Where do I even start? The multitude of problems plaguing our society are simply too numerous and complex for me to be able to summarize in one short paragraph. Have you heard of the phrase “Uniquely Singapore”? There are a whole series of issues that are unique to the Singapore Psyche. Decades of social engineering initiated by the government saw to that.
Read the book. At the end of it, you may or may not agree with us that Singapore Sucks, but at least you would have gotten the insight necessary to make an informed decision.
Me: How are people responding to your book?
Singa Crew: Well, I have been getting a lot of virtual pats on the back. But there has also been criticisms that I am a “Singapore hater”. And I wish to address that here.
I don’t hate Singapore. To say that I “hate” Singapore implies malice on my part. I bear no malice to Singapore. When I say “Singapore sucks”, I am merely stating a fact. Things are truly not well in our country, and in my opinion, I would be doing my countrymen a disservice if I were to lie through my teeth and say “Oh everything is going splendidly well in Singapore”.
You know, the legit parenting manuals out there also do not encourage lying as an option to show affection. Most of the literature I read on the topic agree that when a child misbehaves, the parent should point out the mistake. They aren’t supposed to say “oh my boy-boy so cute!” when the child has just overturned the candy display stand and ate enough candy to induce a high.
Likewise, I love my country and I see it as my duty to point out the faults inherent in our society when I see them.
(To be continued…)
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