Archive for August, 2007

What’s Happening to Singapore?

Usually my posts are about positive things that help in self development. However, I just wanna take to time to rant about the burden I feel for Singapore and its people, my home country that I love so much. To take this opportunity to stir some social consciousness.

I just watched a video that moved me deeply and at the same time stirred a deep sense of despair towards my home country. Why is our country that is SOOOOOOOOO prosperous still having such people living in poverty? It pains me to see such old folks needing to work so hard to earn such meager wages! I know I explicitly appreciate those aunties and uncles who clean my table at the food courts and hawker centres, whom I think deserve a “Thank You” from every Singaporean, unfortunately I still don’t see such appreciation for them from many Singaporeans.

Anyway, why is there still no minimal wage guidelines? Is it a problem with the system? Even the price of public transport is going to increase for the 4th time in 5 years but has our wages increased 4 times in the last 5 years? With our nation’s leader saying in his national day message (ref: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ndp07/message_english.htm)

My fellow Singaporeans,

We celebrate National Day in a happy mood. It has been another good year for Singapore. Altogether now, we have had four good years of growth.

We have many things to cheer about:

a. Our athletes are winning medals

b. Our chefs are winning culinary contests

c. Our entrepreneurs are launching new businesses

d. Our students are excelling at all kinds of international events – robotic championships, choir festivals, debates, creative problem solving contests, and mathematics and science Olympiads

e. We are gearing up for new and exciting projects, like the Formula One Grand Prix and the Integrated Resorts

Economic growth in the first half of this year was 7.6%, higher than we had expected. For the whole year, MTI has raised its growth forecast to between 7 and 8%. The good news is that we have added 111,000 jobs in the first half – the highest number ever. Unemployment is very low, at 2.4%. Workers are enjoying good wage increases and higher bonuses because businesses are doing well.

Singapore is growing not just because of more investments or more workers. Our people are adapting and working smarter. We are organising ourselves more efficiently, and making better use of our resources. In short, we have increased our productivity. Our efforts to transform our economy are paying off. The global economy is continuing to change. If we keep on adapting and readapting to it, we can keep growing strongly for many more years…….

I just wanna ask again. What is happening to Singapore? If the country is soooooo developed and prosperous, why is there still poverty? Perhaps the world needs to know what poverty looks like in Singapore.

What needs to happen?

The video on this post entitled “Nation Builders of Singapore” is created by Martyn See (http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/). Just wanna appreciate him here.

Please visit www.theonlinecitizen.com for more discussions about Singapore related issues.

It’s been 2 weeks since my last post and I promise to make this a good one. It is about Self-Esteem. Something that many people, including myself, struggle with. The basic question here being: “When does tolerance become unhealthy? When does a person say enough is enough?” Hope you find it useful.

Qn: Why do perfectly noble, normal, well-intentioned people get bullied? What gives?

These are people who go about their daily lives seeking to be good, to do good and to genuinely make a difference, to give value, earn an honest living, do no harm, be kind to animals kind of people….. you get my drift.

Of course I can go about the Karma route and explain it in a Spiritual sense of cause and effect. I can even talk about it through a Law of Attraction sense. However, today I’m going to take a purely scientific, psychological approach to discuss this topic.

Is it really about family background and upbringing, as Freud suggests? Or is it a chain reaction of things that happen to a person, causing him / her to “absorb” more and more of the “S*#t” people dump, letting others trample upon them like a doormat, sometimes even to the point of imploding…. sometimes exploding? (metaphorically speaking of course). Ultimately, it causes a lot of harm to the individual, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We can see an array of physical manifestation as a result. Stuff like broken relationships, eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, mental disorders, eczema etc, all manifestations of ‘taking in’ too much.

Let me give you an example. I have a friend who believes in reciprocity. Do good first and then good will come back in return. He has an unconditional positive regard towards others and genuinely looks for the good in other people. He has a forgiving nature and understands that people behave the way they do because they are heavy laden with their own baggage. But here’s what I observed, people take advantage of him and I’ve seen him being bullied in his workplace where he gets promised something and later the person who gave the promise does not fulfill it. In one of the portfolio his team was handling, I know that he’s doing most of the work but in the end, someone else takes over the credit and he does not even protest. I’ve even seen him get an oppressive tongue-lashing from a superior and he didn’t even stand up for himself. (BTW, I was a colleague of his). I saw him took this kind of treatment for 2 years and every time one of us colleagues asks him why is he allowing such people to take advantage of him, he usually has an excuse to justify their behaviour or he says that he contributed to the problem in the first place.

So one day, after I got trained as a counsellor, I sat down with him and had a counselling session and thankfully he was willing. What he revealed to me was not surprising. He was frustrated and angry with himself, even depressive, having irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and eczema. However, he said he just couldn’t help himself. He knows that he’s feeling bad and miserable but cannot bring himself to stand up for himself. He’s got a believe system that says “Nice guys don’t get angry and I’m a nice guy”, “Harmony is maintained when no conflicts arise so don’t start conflicts.” There are also some disempowering spiritual beliefs of his that I can’t mention. Anyway, I was curious about where did he these acquire such belief systems and started asking him about his childhood and his relationship with his parents. To cut the story short, he was very much abused by his father (physically and emotionally) as a kid and was made to feel that when bad things happen, it is his fault and he was a lousy person if he cannot “do things right” (right being subjected to his father’s opinion). With that kind of low self-worth that was implanted within his psyche, he went on with life getting bullied even outside the home, in school and even socially. That was his pattern, getting bullied is normal!!??!!

Today, through many sessions of counselling therapy and motivational seminars, he has become more balanced a person. I still see certain times when he gets bullied and revert back to old patterns but I celebrate his progress. Compared to the man of the past, he’s much better now, able to assert himself when necessary.

Though I’m just using my friend as an example here, I know that many of you can empathise with his story as many of you have experienced such things in one way or another. Perhaps there is some programming that was implanted in you previously that cause you to be who you are today.

In my opinion, a low self-esteem is accumulated through the years, starting from childhood. There is always a point when a person is in the right time and situation to allow massive change to happen. Metaphorically speaking, that is the time when the “rubber band snaps”, when the person says: “I’m ready for change.” Certain questions help people get to this stage, questions like: ” Should you continue this pattern, how is it going to affect you and your loved ones?”, “Are you tired of being bullied and treated like a doormat?”and “It must feel very painful to be in your position, doesn’t it?” If you find it difficult to pull through and come to a decision, know that usually for something to improve, a little tension and discomfort is necessary.

Should you be in such a situation, my encouragement to you is to first recognise that there is some kind of a pattern within you. Accept, forgive and know that such patterns can be changed. Know that with help, you can live life with confidence, assurance and a healthy self-esteem. Seek therapy when needed. Healing can happen in a heartbeat.

In my following posts, I’ll be talking about the 8 stages of life, the 8 kinds of love required during those 8 stages and what are the crucial things that need to be fulfilled at each stage, in order for you to be a whole person.

Meanwhile, should you have comments about this post, do share them so that readers can benefit.