Who am I? What am I? Where am I? Where am I headed to? I really don't know. RNFI. Really No F**king Idea. A cynic, an idealist, a person with ideas, but NATO. Am I? I really don't know. RNFI. Really No F**king Idea.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tongue in Cheek=Thorn in Flesh?

Tin's blog had this song:

Sing to "We are Singapore"There was a time when Richard saidThat TT Durai didn't do it, but he did
There was a time when Richard said That NKF didn't do it, but they did
They built NKF, strong and rich, reaching out together
For more and more money

Chorus 1:
It is our money, it is our blood,
It is our kindness, it is our tears,
Don't take our money, to be your bonus
Don't cheat Singapore, Singaporeans

Tin felt that, though creative it is inappropriate because it is a national song. i disagree. i am of the opinion that a matured people, a matured society is one that doesn't take itself too seriously and can laugh at itself.

have you heard the things that the brits and americans do to their own national anthems? and yet, they still sing their own national anthems with such pride when the occassion calls for it. why? because their pride is something that is so ingrained in their collective psyche that it is almost innate in each of their individual nature and so parodies of their national anthems are seen as superficial jokes and they don't lose sleep over it.

so the issue is not whether people write parodies of our national song, but whether, despite of all these tongue in cheek fun, do people fundamentally have pride in their nation such that we are willing to sing these songs, at the appropriate occassions, with pride and gusto?

the same goes for racial harmony. as Cherian George writes in "The Air-Conditioned Nation":
"With Singapore becoming more cosmopolitan and porous to information and influence, multi-racialism can only be sustained if it is embedded in the instincts of each individual, rather than imposed by authority."

is pride in being Singaporean embedded in the instincts of each Singaporean? do we, at the bottom of our hearts, love Singapore? if we do, then we should be able to make fun of ourselves and not let such superficial jesting get to us.

7 Comments:

Blogger jasmi said...

Of course, ideally, we'd be a mature society and behave as you have described. But even if, as a society, we're so 'conservative' and take offense at every jibe at our national songs, it'd still be better than the current situation where singing the national songs is an embarrassing thing to do.. worse still, having the mentality that the parodies have more meaning. Do you think this might be the prevailing attitude?

9:10 AM

 
Anonymous L said...

I hate to say this but I think you take too idealistic a view of American s and Brits. 3/4ers of them can't sing beyond the words "Oh say can you see, from(past?beyond?whatever) the dawn's early light" and then it all degenerates into humming... albeit I suppose very proud humming if humming can convey a sense of uh.. pride.

sorry for being wordy and a little off topic :)
I think the issue here is that Singapore is so small and dependent on everyone else's goodwill. We have nothing and we're made constantly aware of that fact whether we're conscious of that knowledge or not (okay kinda paradoxical but not really..) That's why we're so hard on ourselves. Americans and Brits on the other hand don't give a rat's ass about anyone else. They are the biggest, the best, the WWF-title belt holder!!! *cheers and whistles from the stands* Com'on an American prof of mine once lectured that the USSR is now Russia and when confronted by my very pissed off Uzbekistan friend about all the other countries that are not "now Russia" proceed to say "well what's the difference?" in a truly innocent and naive manner...

11:18 PM

 
Blogger rench00 said...

i think that the fact that we are small and yet able to be where we are today should be a source of pride. and yes, we should continue to be hard on ourselves so that we are not complacent. i.e. working hard and yet being proud of what we have achieved are not mutually exclusive.

and i guess what is more important about giving a hoot about another country is whether or not we give a hoot about other people around us, about other people in our society.

i'm not pro-PAP, nor pro-Opposition. I am just Pro-Singapore. because our forefathers pulled off a miracle to get us where we are. now it is our turn to make sure that the miracle continues. that is challenge enough for me to want to stay, to contribute, to love my country.

11:33 PM

 
Anonymous L said...

I agree that singapore has alot to be proud of and I guess if pushed I'd say that I am proud of who we are (although you'd probably never get that from my constant grumbling about "these singaporeans ah" but then not everyone is as fortunate as me to have been overseas and allowed a view of an entirely different way of being)

I think alot of Singaporeans care about what "they're doing over there in NY (insert other big city here)" because we're so insecure about ourselves. It's a terrible shame because given the circumstances, like you, I think we damned near pulled off a miracle with what we've achieved.

However being female (or perhaps it has nothing to do with gender) I suppose the issue at hand is not so clear cut for me as simply "having pride" there's a whole lot of other emotional factors involved when it comes to being able to laugh off superficial jokes. After all, one can be proud and still be insecure (those being only two of the many facets to nationalistic fervor).

Or maybe you could be proud and just have a bad sense of humour. Shame on our poor dour, sour-faced Singies. *grin*

11:45 PM

 
Blogger rench00 said...

when i studied in London, my favourite show was the "Bremner, Bird and Fortune Show". it was a show with 3 stand up comedians by the name of *drum roll*... Bremner Bird and Fortune!

it was political satire, Brit wit at its best. they did damn good impressions of Blair, Iain Duncan Smith, George W., Kofi Annan, etc. and they made jokes out of very serious political topics. yet these jokes had a point. they were very pointed commentaries on politics, international relations, society, culture, etc. what i would really like to see in Singapore is a day when we could have that kind of show (to that quality... Hosanne Leong, entertaining as he is, is far from it) in Singapore. and having Singaporeans actually being able to appreciate it.

btw... I said... do i know you?

12:05 AM

 
Anonymous L *pronounced AL!!* said...

Actually it's supposed to be an "L" but somehow the darned "other" username doesn't register Caps.

Anyway no you don't know me. I'm just a random voyeur, randomly commenting. :)

11:18 AM

 
Blogger tinrina said...

Hey RC, don't get so worked up lah! :) I have responded to you on my blog too.
Would have responded earlier but was too busy haha... :)

3:04 PM

 

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