Geez what a patriotic year it has been.
Two days ago the BF’s family and I celebrated Finland’s Independence Day. It was great to watch war documentaries and then the Linnan Juhlat! Then today is the great Sibelius’s 150th birthday!! 😀
Look at this awesome video “Finlandia”. I LOVE IT!–
Looking back, 2015 has been a year which forced me to think much about national identity, since it has been such a monumental year for Finland and Singapore. Patriotism after all, is a strong force that binds us all.
I think Singaporeans still have a tendency to take our national identity for granted. We tend to still operate under the colonial mentality, a.k.a. thinking that all white people/culture/countries are superior.
I am convinced now that this whole white man’s superiority rhetoric is not necessarily true. So don’t let it get to your subconscious mind. Learn to see your value and brand yourself well.
I think multiculturalism isn’t something to be taken for granted in Singapore. For instance, I’d seen some really weird reports in Finland. This weird behavior probably can be seen as the start of phenomenon– propagated and sensationalised by the media–in most countries with relatively homogeneous native populations. Here’s one recent example of a Nazi-like protests against Muslims/refugees two days ago. And I’m sure there would be more racist protests by a minority group (I hope) to come in future–just that I won’t be here to witness it anymore. Thank God! =)
I guess if some Finns still think that foreigners are evil and want to come to the Great Finland to steal the jobs of natives because Finland is the best place on Earth, then by all means they can continue thinking this way. Not gonna to argue because people all have biases. If you’re interested in what an academic might say about this topic, feel free to read this academic paper on Finland– “Racism in a ‘homogeneous’ society” by Rahikainen (2008).
It seems like a lot of talented young Finns are leaving this “utopia” too. This implies that the future population of Finland will be more and more diversified. Finland after all, started its country’s independence with “(white) Finns” as the core. So since this supposed homogeneity is threatened, fear and distress might be instilled in some who choose to indulge in nostalgia and refuse to accept globalization. That’s why some Finns today in Finland protest vehemently against minority’s rights. You can check how the rights of the Sami people in Lapland have been blatantly disregarded, or how refugees and immigration etc by darker-skinned people are frowned upon, just because. You can also watch how this racist Finnish woman insults a dark Kenyan, tax-paying nurse who has been working in Finland for sometime already.
I’m definitely not saying that Singapore is perfect. Discrimination definitely exists in Singapore too. I’m just saying that at least people of different skin colors or religious beliefs tolerate and co-exist peacefully in Singapore; or at least we have a law to ensure that. My left and right neighbors are both Indians by the way and we always eat nice food together on special religious occasions. I think yummy food bonds us all 🙂 . Heehee. ^^
The #Sg50 project has been truly significant as well. -thinks-
I guess overall, perhaps Singaporeans needs to learn to appreciate our “national identity”. I would go further to argue that it really is largely about seeing more of our value.
I mean–we already rank #no.1 on many metrics, so we don’t really know what we have since it’s just statistics. Until we go overseas and realize “Singapore seems to have many, many real strengths too.” 😀
Thankfully too, Singapore started off with a relatively multi-cultural core–of the (at least) four official races. This is probably why we are at least still relatively less xenophobic as compared to so many other countries in the world.
Many people speak about the grass-is-greener-on-the-other side syndrome. I disagree. I think the grass is always greener where you choose to water it.
So–how can normal Singaporeans contribute positively to nation-building then, given that we are made-up of such a non-homogeneous core as a young nation?
Moving forward, here’s my 2016 resolution towards the greater vision of community-building in Singapore:
- Promote Singaporean companies: Especially Singaporean fashion, F&B and FMCG industries.
- Encourage greater visibility of Singapore in Europe and SEA–Participate in more industry-wide conferences and help important Singaporeans get global media coverage.
- Mentorship–Be mentored by a local mentor, and start to mentor younger folks.
- Volunteer–I’m gonna volunteer with the Meet-the-People’s session long-term.
I actually have a clear idea of how to go about dong this with a team of like-minded Singaporeans, and I really am looking forward to doing these stuffs! 😀 I guess I’m actually quite excited hehe. 🙂
I’d be happy to be back in Singapore in 2 months, really. Let’s make a better SG together! ^^