Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Song for Kitana, for Ben

When I read Ben's brief farewell post last week, I wondered whether Kitana would go too. Its pretty sad to read her farewell post. There is always this question why young Singaporeans are so unhappy, ungrateful to their country; why they want to leave, why they quit. Its not that at all, most of time. It is disillusionment. Helplessness mostly. Its tiring to keep resisting a reality that makes little sense. And in the end, you let go, you cannot live with the make believe anymore. Its like breaking up with your country.

It doesn't matter what you say
i just can't stay here every yesterday
keep on acting out the same
the way we act out
every way to smile
forgetand make-believe we never needed
any more than this
any more than this


Sometimes, you try hard to fight. You fight because you "fucking make more sense", to borrow a phrase from another good blog run by young Singapreans, TSFT. Borrowing from the blog's tagline, you enter this contest between the relentless march of ignorance and the unworthy timid intelligence obstructing progress. But, for some, this contest overwhelms their sensibilities and leaves them hollowed out,

It doesn't matter what you do
i know i'll never really get inside of you
to make your eyes catch fire
the way they should
the way the blue could pull me in
if they only would
if they only would
at least i'd lose this sense of sensing something else
that hides away


We are surrounded by this place called Singapore. We are told many things, many stories. But the stories themselves are hollow most of the time. we are promised many promises but they remain deferred. They remain there in that fictitious ending of that story of promises, always out of reach. And slowly, as you grow up, as you mature, you realise that this place called Singapore becomes alien to you. A strange land out of your reach,

From me and you
there're worlds to part
with aching looks and breaking hearts
and all the prayers your hands can make
i just take as much as you can throw
and then throw it all away
i throw it all away
like throwing faces at the sky
like throwing arms round

yesterday

i stood and stared
wide-eyed in front of you
and the face i saw looked back
the way i wanted to
but i just can't hold my tears away
the way you do

It is not idealism. It is not wrong to think of that something in Singapore that is always hidden away and try to will it into existence. This need is part of politics, the political life of any society, whether totalitarian, authoritarian or democratic. But like all political struggles against the odious system, the odious machine, it grinds you down, tears your sensibilities to pieces, wears you out, leaves you dry and you give up. It is not wrong to give up, it is infinitely better than giving in and living in this lie called the Singapore political life,

Believe i never wanted this
i thought this time i'd keep all of my promises
i thought you were the one i always dreamed about
but i let the dream go
and the promises broke
and the make-believe ran out...


I have said it before. When you are left helpless and without choice, it is okay to run, it is better than running from the darkness in the night. Because it is better than giving in. When you know it is not right, when it is wrong. Because it is better than smiling and forgetting in this make-believe that you do not need any more than this, because you know there's nothing else you can really do.


It doesn't matter what you say
i just can't stay here every yesterday
like keep on acting out the same
the way we act out
every way to smile,

forget

and make-believe we never needed
any more than this
any more than this

and every time i try to pick it up
like falling sand
as fast as i pick it up
it runs away through my clutching hands
but there's nothing else i can really do
there's nothing else i can really do
there's nothing else i can really do
at all...

So a song for Kitana, for Ben. Thanks for the great writing. Hope you will resurrect soon. All the best as you both find your lives to live.


Respect.

Words adapted from The Cure, A Letter to Elise

20 Comments:

Blogger Kitana said...

Hello Xeno,

Thank you for the song. Ben read this post last night. =) It's a nice song. I've only heard 1 song from The Cure (it was that cheesy "Friday I'm in Love" one so I suppose that doesn't count), but Ben is proud to say that he owns a CD! =) Oh, but this post makes me feel rather honoured. At first, I felt like it was an eulogy and we'd died. =)

But on a more serious note, I suppose that is the thing about being too idealistic, and being ill-prepared to deal with the realities, the ugliness and the utter disappointments. It cuts you more than you realise.

I think that our decision was something in coming. Mine was, at least. I'd lost the inspiration to write, I suppose. But I don't think we'll be leaving per se. I'll still be commenting here and there, reading, etc. And well, you know Ben. =)

Thank you for the song. We appreciate it muchly. =)

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! I am a unemployed fifty six year old bumisingaporean who has wallowed melancholy for well over four decades> And just when I found companies< warmth and hopes in you all for our country< you are leaving me to rot with emptiness with your leaving blogosphere and maybe even singapore! Should you leave us the toothless to the vagaries of some conceits when glimmers of hope have just risen from the horizon? The conceits have just destroyed their own credibility collectively and its" decay seems imminent> Not that I am lamenting its" demise but rather there is needs for potentials to replace them and many of you are suitable calibres! Perseverve my dear countrymen! You all will prove your mettle soon

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Xenoboysg, :)

We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll x 2

Say you dont know me or recognize my face
Say you dont care who goes to that kind of place
Knee deep in the hoopla sinking in your fight
Too many runaways eating up the night

Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio, dont you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and rollx3

Someone always playing corporation games
Who cares theyre always changing corporation names
We just want to dance here someone stole the stage
They call us irresponsible write us off the page

Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio, dont you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll x 3

Its just another sunday, in a tired old street
Police have got the choke hold, oh then we just lost the beat

Who counts the money underneath the bar
Who rides the wrecking ball in two rock guitars
Dont tell us you need us, cos we' re the ship of fools
Looking for america, coming through your schools

Cheers

1moresg :)

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Jol said...

"It is not wrong to think of that something in Singapore that is always hidden away and try to will it into existence. This need is part of politics, the political life of any society, whether totalitarian, authoritarian or democratic. But like all political struggles against the odious system, the odious machine, it grinds you down, tears your sensibilities to pieces, wears you out, leaves you dry and you give up. It is not wrong to give up, it is infinitely better than giving in and living in this lie called the Singapore political life..."

I think it would be wrong for anyone who felt that that 'something hidden' really resided in... a community of people, rather than just in their own diseased imagination. But I certainly never felt like there was anyone else there whom I would be giving up on by giving up, anyone I would be betraying (there were nothing but sneers for what I believed), so I just upped and left. Singapore's blogs sometimes make me wistful, as if there was in fact something I overlooked in feeling like this, but the fact that so many people succumb to the same desperation also suggests to me something else, that this virtual wailing and gnashing of teeth isn't enough even as a first step... Chee Soon Juan and his ilk are the only ones doing what actually needs doing. And even then one suspects it's too late.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSJ did not suceed in his political endeavours due to his own imprudence which in my opinion even jeopardised the standings of the other opposition parties and the reults of the last election> As a psychologist< what he did was something I could not fathom! But CSJ is a politician which most bloggers and commenters are not> As a whole< the need for an equitable society for all is perpetual and the intellectuals must lead the lots> When the learned leaves the troddened to fend for themselves< many end up lesser beings

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSJ did what is right for Singapore. There is really no point having constructive critisim, nice talk over coffee over gov coffers.

It seem that whatever you tell gov, gov tell you to fuck off.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I guess when it comes down to that, it's not too hard to resist telling them to bugger off.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous ruyom said...

Of the 30 richest people in Malaysia, only 8 are malays. One is Indian and the rest are Chinese.

12 billionaires in the list and only two are malays.

36 years of NEP and still more Chinese billionaires and millionaires.

What else does the government have to do so that our malay brethren can catch up!

So all they can do is blame the Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore for keeping them down.

Anyway for 22 years the twisting Mamak tried his level best to bring Singapore to its knees. He couldn't. So now he thinks the Thais can do it. And he is egging them.

Poor soul. He will never see Singapore on its knees.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous yuking said...

Let me be the first to tell you that Singapore is not a perfect society. But in Malaysia, we are citizens but still treated like second class citizens, right!

Let me be honest with you. I am better off in Singapore as a PR than as a Malaysian. In the 10 years I am in Singapore, nobody has told me to get lost and I have never felt like a second class citizen despite being a PR. In Malaysia, you know the story.

I feel so let down to know that Singapore treats us better than our own country. What a shame! Ask any other Malaysians living in Singapore and they will tell you the same.

If I am given a choice to serve in the army of Singapore or my own country Malaysia, I would have no problem choosing Singapore despite you claming it is unfair (and you maybe right too).

Why? Do you think the Malaysia government cares for me to putting my life on the line for the country? Let us be honest.

Like I said, Singapore is not perfect, but it is anytime better than living in Malaysia.

While Singapore government is sincere and doing all the right things, saying all the right things, in contrast, we can't say the same about Malaysia government, filled with hypocrites who only sing song, nice racial harmony song on certain occasions, the once in a year Merdeka speech, in general elections vote-fishing speeches, that is all.

And talks are cheaper than bull shit, or dinosaur shit for sure. Cause on many other occasions, during Umno assembly, meetings in kampung etc, we see the apes come out of their cages, instigating hatred, this is our land, waving keris, we are the tuan, we deserve this and that, we need to be strong so that other races won't get to take advantage of our weaknesses, blah blah blah……….no more Chinese schools, no more funding, blah blah blah. Same old shit from the same old clan of monkeys.

Open your eyes, go and live in Singapore for a few years, then you will feel differently perhaps.

On the surface, Singapore government is doing everything right to forge racial harmony, that is important, because perception is everything.

In Malaysia, we have all the opposite. That is the difference. Big difference. Big mama difference. Huge difference.

When I first lived in Singapore, I had the mentality of a "Malaysian".

Guess what? I now don't think like that. Every time, you hear a speech given by the Singapore prime minister, you know he is speaking from his heart and that matters.

I am a very skeptical person and it is very hard to buy me over unless you are speaking the truth. Do you know the government tells all their citizens in their national day rally speech to welcome us foreigners?

I personally admire the Singapore government, they actually walk the talk, really! I can see this with my own eyes! Nothing is more convincing than this. As for our Malaysia politicians, all they care is their bloody self (MCA, MIC, Umno) and their hoodlums.

The large publics of Chinese, Indians and Malays have to fend for ourselves. Why should I go back to Malaysia if I believe I have a better life in Singapore! I don't want my kids to grow up in an environment where they are told there is a distinction between malays and non-malays. Think about this!

This is my personal answer. The 10 years of being happy in Singapore is nowhere compared to the 30 years of rubbish I have got from Malaysia as a non-malay.

I will pass you my Malaysian passport next year (hope you are happy now).

Yup right, what an irony, I am willing to die for Singapore being a PR and not for Malaysia being a citizen. That shows much we feel we belonged in Malaysia.

In 1994, I tried to apply a scholarship in Malaysia but I couldn't get it due to the impartial system albeit I desperate for a scholarship as I was very poor. I tried to re-appeal but to no avail.

Fortunately, Singapore had offered me a scholarship and I was in fact forced to leave Malaysia no matter how reluctant I was.

Having stayed in Singapore for 10 years now. I salute the Singapore government for its efficiency. Whatever promises they make to the citizens, all will be materialised. This country practises meritocracy and if you capable and work hard, you will definitely be able to hold high post regardless of race.

I agree that Singapore is not a perfect country but it treats everyone in Singapore fairly whereby there is no discrimination at all.

On the contrary, Malaysia marginalises the non-malays which ultimately will have great impact on itself. I believe eventually Malaysia will lose (already lost) the competitive edge in which all the capable and smart non-malays will leave to other countries.

It is no doubt our Malaysia education system is getting down the drain as almost all the key posts are filled with all the cronies who are incapable and apple polisher. Besides, lots of our ministers act like an uncivilised person and speak with no substance.

We have already suffered a high level of brain drain - a lot of Malaysians have left for greener pastures in Australia, Singapore etc. Some of these are my friends and they are very happy where they are.

These are people whom others recognized as huge contributors not only to the company they are working with, but the country as well.

Imagine how great Malaysia would have been, if these people are working in Malaysia, and contributing to the growth here.

A lot of non-malays are feeling the pinch of staying in this Malaysia country, especially when our politicians are becoming more confident about being louder and vocal at being racist to win more votes.

But I have heard very few Singaporeans saying they would prefer Malaysia. I know - I was there for about 10 years.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous aston said...

I agree with one that the media in Singapore is controlled. In fact, arguably more controlled than ours Malaysia.

However, take a look at their qualifications and the results they have delivered! Until today, there is yet a single shoddy and blatantly outrages personal business deal involve any of them. Don't they qualify on their own rights?

Is the grass greener on the other side?

Let us ponder:

They are in the first world category. Ours?
They don't have racial discriminatory policies. Ours?
They don't have ministers who act more like circus clowns. Ours?
Their country's coffer is loaded with money despite having no oil. Ours?
Their citizens don't have bread and butter issues. Ours?

The grass is indeed greener on the other side.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous vesewe said...

Yes, if you take up a two years vocational course in New Zealand, your family could follow you to go while you could work there after finishing studies. It is not difficult to study, then work and get a PR in New Zealand.

Basically, Indian and Chinese and other ethnic groups in Malaysia are peaceful, hardworking excel, economically and academically.

The presently ruling party does not appreciate for what non-malays have done. Even Oxford graduate like Khairy said Penang businesses have been dominated by non-malays. He thought setting up businesses is free and running it also easily.

Why doesn't he set up in Penang many businesses like motor and car workshops, supermarkets, sundry shops, saloons, real estates agency, electrical chain shops, etc……….?

Those who could emigrate just emigrate. Nothing is wrong. Survival of the fittest meaning - if you don't like to stay on in Malaysia. Just go. Go where you like if you are mobile and a professional.

Those who are less fortunate, they have to stay back and fight economically and to survive in this. They are still many non-malay politicians in this country who would still do their work peacefully for people without showing sword or keris.

There are still kind opposition parties members who dare to risk their lives to report to the passive and inefficient Malaysia police to 'sedition'. All these opposition parties members do not want to see racial riot again to happen. So, they have done a good and brave job to upkeep peace in Malaysia.

It does not matter if you are younger or over 30 years old, sell your house, car and pool all money to go to New Zealand. This country would welcome immigrants who have skilled. Their immigration department has not mentioned about age limit. In Australia, to migrate based on skill is below 45 years old.

If you have vocational qualification, you could also work in New Zealand. If you do not have qualification, study vocational certificate would be the shortcut and good prospect due to shortage of skills there.

But those who has money like A$700000, you could put this money into Australia government bond and earn interest while you would get a provisional business visa (leading to PR) to live and work and study in Australia for whole family. So, send your money to Australia if you have that amount! Age is not a problem for this business visa.

So, send your money out and retire in Australia is a good option for your children education - universities in Australia are good ranking and fair.

It is easy to get PR in New Zealand. Once you have got a PR of New Zealand, you could always to Australia.

In New Zeland and Australia, you could work full time during holiday and during school days, you could work part time.

Yes, go to enroll a vocational course like mechanic, electrician, air-con etc. You could always work part time during study days. During long holiday, go to work full and collect money.

Even if you work part time in New Zealand, your total monthly salary would still higher than you would get in Malaysia. So, go for it!

Pool money to show you are going to study for first year. If English is a problem, study English as a start for several months there before starting vocational course.

Vocational qualification is high demanded in New Zealand and Australia.

You just need to pool (sell your property or borrow) first year money to study in New Zealand. New Zealand has a lower living cost and you just need to have a vocational certificate to work in New Zealand and lead to permanent resident. You could also bring your family members who might be able to work there too.

Yes, work overseas, so that less paying taxes to Malaysia government.

Yes, send your children to study overseas, after all local public universities are of low ranking. At least send your children to Singapore universities which are of higher ranking.

But in New Zealand, you don't need to study university to work and stay on. Just choose vocational course. Send this info to all your friends.

It is easy to work in New Zealand and Australia now. Those who have the below could apply visa to work in New Zealand and Australia quite easy.

1. Nurse
2. IT
3. Engineering degrees
4. Doctor
5. Almost all vocational, trade or polytechnic certificates
6. Accountant (ACCA degree from New Zealand or Australia)

Salary is often higher than you could get in Malaysia for any jobs. In New Zealand, minimum wage is NZ$45000 per year while in Australia is about A$39000 per year.

Be prepared to sit for IELTS. You just need to send your transcript for assessment and have IELTS to apply visa. You could sit for International English Language Test System at British Council.

For those who are without qualification, just go to New Zealand is the best option because of lower living cost and enroll for vocational course would qualify to work and to residency.

When you get New Zealand residency, you could always go to Australia to work.

Opposition could start this campaign by reusing the independent university fund. Select some poor students to study in New Zealand and Australia. Lobby those Chinese conglomerates to donate to the trust fund.

Hope those entrepreneurs would each one considers to sponsor one non-malay guy or girl to study in New Zealand or Australia. Condition must be from poor family and none of their family members have studied in New Zealand or Australia or elsewhere.

In this way after graduating, this young man or girl could work there (should be the job on demand occupation list). Then after graduating so, this young man or girl could apply for PR there and have family bridging to bring their family to go over there.

Yes, crime is on the rise in Malaysia couple with millions of illegal immigrants and previously admitted immigrants from neighbouring country (many of them carry red identity cards).

So, plan well and if you possess vocational, university or polytechnic degree, you could easily apply for work visa to work in New Zealand (no age mentioned) or Australia (provided under 45 years old).

It is worth to sacrifice ourselves to protect our loved one (family members, good friends and relatives). This mean, go to work and raise our young child or children in an unbiased country and safer country like New Zealand. At least Australia has anti discrimination law and if you excel academically, you would get the course you would like to have.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous coolooc said...

Malaysia for sure is better than Singapore as per below:

Better in making a fool of ourselves to the world - water talk, Proton car, crook bridge etc.

Better in illegal stuffs - pirated VCDs, DVDs, CDs etc.

We brag about Twin Towers - (serves as a white elephant) - tendency rate is so low - it is losing $$$$$.

Yes, nationalism and irrational pride have fooled most people in Malaysia.

Don't fool ourselves - go check on the Internet and see what other countries perceive us……….

Petronas operations in exploiting the national treasure (oil and gas) are essentially run wholly by the highly paid experts.

My expert friend in Petronas told me that he does most of the work (analyze, study, writing recommendations and reports) and the local national managers take the credit. He has no quarrel with that as long as he got his good salary. (A typical Malaysian engineer earns RM5000 a month while he earns RM50000 a month.)

Petronas is producing 700000 barrels of oil per day (excluding natural gas). Assuming US$40 a barrel and a conversion rate of 1US$ = RM3.8 - the revenue per day is RM107100000 - I wonder where the money goes……….

Proton car in the eyes of the experts is an imitators and the quality does not come close to that of Toyota, Honda, Ford, etc.

The university is accepting unqualified students of a certain race and churn out graduates of useless academic degrees, the private sector is well aware of what these graduates skill sets and not hiring them.

If we don't recognize our shortcomings and starts amending, we will always be stagnant……….

2:21 PM  
Anonymous tim said...

Badawi can formulate any policy. On the ground level where the heads are not qualified themselves as their staff - many problems will arise.

Further the NEP will somehow make good researchers frustrated and will certainly be the main causes of frustrations. At best we can get the second rate staff to stay - the top ones will have no problem seeking better salaries and futures elsewhere without the glass ceiling overhanging their heads.

Our national sense of belonging will be lost when day in and day out we feel the impact of marginalisation in almost every sphere of educational or economic activities.

I think we are in even more for hubs of abandoned projects because it is the brains that matters, not real estate buildings which politicians are only good at how to initiate to build for their own gains. When coming to real research and real productive work, you only have lots of unemployable graduates lining up to fill them.

Best of luck Malaysia, while Malaysians of the best calibre are in our neighbouring countries creating state of art products and discoveries.

The people with brains first go to Singapore, then Australia, then the US. Apparently roughly 2 million Malaysians have emigrated since the 1970s. Wow, what a brain drain that is……….

S/he did the right thing by moving out of Malaysia. As long as is a Malaysian non-malay, you will be suppressed. They don't need scientists but more keris wielding morons to run the expensive labs.

So anytime the experiment didn't work out, they can go straight and blame that the equipment is outdated. Anybody disputes their claim, they can take out the keris and showed their "power". Good for them. Malaysia is turning to a baboon infested country.

Let alone those whose have already left. How about those who came back earlier with their foreign wives! The immigration department has made their renewal of visa a living hell, and they are not allowed to work no matter how qualified they may be. Eventually these "loyal Malaysians" also end up packing their bags and leave.

The politicians can say one thing but it never gets implemented at the ground level. Look at the mess surrounding Malaysia "My Second Home" campaign - how many have actually come here and then left in deep frustration!

The racists in Umno will also make certain that such policies will be doomed to fail. They would rather give citizenship to unruly and uneducated illegal Indonesians than some non-malay PhD holders.

Get your children out of this sucking country before it is too late! This is a hopeless and dirty country with all the lousy ministers and corrupted politicians.

I am afraid there is nothing second class citizens like us can do.

Emigrate to other countries looks to be a better option. Of course, the exodus has started decades ago. In fact, Umno will be most happy to see us go (race ratio, you know what I mean).

Umno does not depend on the second class citizens for the brains. They have the many universities in Bolehland to train their kind and churn out any number of experts you want. So brain drain is not a problem.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous San said...

Singapore's prime minister mentioned during the 2006 National Rally that Singapore needed a population of 10 million to stay competitive and thriving into the future. Now it has 4 million. So, it needs a population injection of 2.5X.

And to sustain a larger population, it needs a larger land mass. I remember reading during the sell sand fiasco that the Johor sand was supposed to sell to Singapore, could have increased the island land mass to accommodate 2.5X its population, i.e. 10 million.

Malaysia has 25 million people. Roughly 24% are Chinese, i.e. 6 million people.

So ~ if we put 1, 2 and 3 together, isn't the road to solving Malaysia racial and religious problem as simple as selling the required sand to Singapore and then allowing all 6 million Chinese to emigrate?

If Malaysia and Singapore allow dual citizenships, or if Singapore loosens its PR processes, or if the commutes between Malaysia and Singapore is made simpler - the cows will naturally move themselves.

In any case, I just wanted to highlight the convergence the figures 4 + 6 = 10 million, from the seemingly independent issues.

At the end of the day, I doubt Singapore, given its track record, would want all 6 million of the Chinese Malaysians. They'd take all the high net worth people, the professional and the skilled, but would not go out of their way to court the rest.

They have got to make room for other sources of very, very talented people - China and India.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous reek said...

Singapore was not evicted from the Malaysia. Singapore chose to leave, get it? There is a difference. Lee Kuan Yew knew that he could not be the prime minister no matter how good he was. He is second class citizen in his "own country".

That did not go down well with him. After all he is a very talented man. He could not kowtow to his malay master, just like me. That is why I chose to leave that country to settle in Australia. And I never look back since. I had found my Australia dream.

I am a millionaire in my own rights. If I am still in Malaysia, I would be just another Chinese living at the mercy of my malay master. All my other brothers and sisters are marginalized under the so-called NEP. The malay apartheid system.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Stoned said...

Guys, can you stop spamming this guy's comments section please?

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The politics of diversion is here.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the malaysians who choose to leave Malaysia for elsewhere< please go where you like> But do this bumisingaporean a favour< do not tell singaporeans how to understand singapore politics! Most of you should do what some of you suggested here< go to New Zealand or Australia!

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all you Singaporean ingrates,

Try living in Iraq. Consider yourself a miracle that you are born on this little red dot. Why don't you Sarong Party Girls and Boys vacate your citizenships and go to the west you so adore so much and pretend to be white (until they put you in concentration camps when the US decides to fight a war with China), and let others in the neigbhourhood take your place.

Whatever the flaws of the PAP govt, Singapore is still a pretty good place to live in

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful< there maybe many Cho Seung Hui (of Virginia Tech Shooting Episode) here> The only consolation is the absences of guns and bullets< otherwise it will be unthinkable! Just look and listen to talks around you< the frustrations cannot get any higher!

6:54 AM  

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