On complaining

I never thought I’d write this, but I’m really tired of Singaporeans and their complaints about how Singapore is run.

Ironic, coming from me who used to be known in my army platoon as Complain King. So maybe I’m tired of my own complaints too.

Perhaps it’s the Internet – it amplifies every whine that used to be only heard in a taxi, bus or coffee shop. On Facebook and Twitter, everyone’s complaining complaining complaining.

I’m not saying that people’s complaints aren’t valid – the Gahmen needs feedback before they realize anything is wrong, and nothing can ever be perfect. And my philosophy is that if I don’t speak up, things won’t begin to change for the better.

But what is really starting to grate me is how we complain about so many things, yet we often do not lift a finger to resolve the situation or make an effort to work around the situation.

We did not receive a good education so that we can be armchair critics. Instead, I believe the experiences and skills we pick up, should be put to use by changing the world in our little ways.

I was once taught by a wise woman – we can’t change many things at one time, but we can change people one at a time. And in time, our effort will be multiplied by other people who learn to see the way.

For example – not happy about boorish and rude MRT customers? Take action – wake a sleepyhead up so they can give a seat to pregnant ladies. Speak up loudly, but politely, when others don’t give way, instead of just barging your way past shoulders. Show others that corrective action can be taken without starting a fight.

Not happy about Gahmen policies?

Now this is a tough one, and you need to measure what you can change and what you can’t. Singapore is not a cheap place to live in, and is not designed to be. So what do I tell my kids – work hard, study hard, and make sure you don’t end up in some lousy job where you can’t pay the bills.

I don’t complain that the Gahmen is making it so hard for me to do this and do that – I simply make sure that I work on my career hard enough so my family need not worry about a roof over their heads. It’s my own responsibility to make my family happy, not the Gahmen’s.

Sure, I don’t like the ERP system either, so I don’t drive to work (parking rates are nuts in Raffles Place anyway). When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It’s actually faster to take MRT to work sometimes, versus driving on our congested roads. Shall I complain about there being too many cars? I have done so before, but then again, I want a car just like everyone else!

If I’m not happy with the way the country is being run, I should just move out and start elsewhere.

So you might say that it’s not easy nor cheap to emigrate. So how did our forefathers come here when they faced a tough situation back in China? They left everything behind, they got used to discomfort, and they eked out a future for us. Today I look around me, and I wonder how much of the “frontier spirit” we retain today.

And then we complain about how hardworking foreigners are taking away our jobs. What the heck.

Have we forgotten how contentment feels like? Are we always looking for somebody to make our lives better when we have not worked for it? Don’t complain about taxes either, because people in other countries get taxed far worse than we do.

Am I happy if my tax money gets blown on big spectacles like the National Day Parade? Of course not, but does it make my life unpleasant? Only if I get asked to stand in the parade square. Otherwise, I can live with it.

What’s my point here? I’m not becoming more inert and accepting of the way things are being run in this country. It’s just that after working for a decade, I can see a bigger picture and that there are less and less things worth complaining about.

The one thing that I really want to complain about is the pressurizing education system here. But then I think to myself – what can I change about it? It’s not just the system, it’s the parents who are perpetuating it with their kiasu methods. I can’t possibly complain about all other parents can I? I’m fortunate we made the decision for Goy to stay at home to look after the kids and guide them accordingly, and it really does help. 

Then you’ll say, along with my late mother, that double income is absolutely necessary in Singapore.

That’s nonsense – do you know how many of my friends are solo income and not all of them earn big bucks? It’s what kind of sacrifices you are willing to make, and what keeps you happy. A balanced family is what keeps me happy, and fortunately, I’m not crazy about property or cars.

I’ve not turned into a Gahmen apologist, mind you. I’m just so tired of reading and hearing all these complaints, yet so few want to make any effort in changing things for the better for themselves. So many just want to keep to their fixed view of the world, and blame someone else for their unhappiness.

Having been spoon-fed and enjoying a stable society in a region of unpredictability, we are drowning in our own apathy and many don’t even know what apathy means.

Ok, my complaint is over. Back to work.

6 Replies to “On complaining”

  1. Hello, I agree with your points… I guess that’s why I’ve started feeling negative on those so-called opposition supporters online. The worst thing is that they keep using the poor and needy as their call-card. I doubt they are really that concerned about the poor and needy… if they are, they would be out there helping those people instead of spending so much time whining and complaining how the government is mistreating the poor and needy.

  2. opposition supporters? Last time the MSM called them “anti-establishment”.
    i beg to differ – not every “whiner” is an opposition supporter – that’s what the MIWs want you to believe. i think in your dictionary OPPOSIITION are BOMB

    Didn’t the elite govt ALSO uses the poor and needy as their call-card too? So why the double standard.
    Lesser mortals’ feedbacks = whinings????..

    Blame whiners for being NATO?…why don’t u pay them same pay as elite MIWs???

  3. >>And then we complain about how hardworking foreigners are taking away our jobs.

    If u didn’t realised, most of us aren’t against foreign workers…but don’t hoodwink us by claiming they’re doing ALL jobs that Singaporean shun. There’s also a lack of fair playing field for Singaporean eg. males having to do ICT etc.
    If i remembered construction workers were “decent” jobs years ago..and i wondered why (perhaps it was due to the depressed wages indirectly forced by the govt.)

  4. Mee Siam – well, I hate IPPT, but I don’t mind getting paid $200 for Silver and getting full pay for ICT period even though it really impacts my workflow in the office. Foreigners don’t get that. And much as I hated NS, I do appreciate learning so many things about people (esp insecure officers) there.

    Let’s not get into the nitty gritty details, the PAP is not perfect, will never be, and my point is that griping too much about them doesn’t help very much either.

  5. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your respond. Sorry my “angmoh” not so good 🙂

    >>Let’s not get into the nitty gritty details, the PAP is not perfect, will never be,

    Unfortunately they think they’re the betterest.

    >>…griping too much about them doesn’t help very much either.

    Of course “whining” only effective once every 5 yrs or so. But if u noticed recently – whining does produce effect or changes at times – for otherwise they’ll be deaf to critisim and will push policy down our throat.

    p.s. pardon the poor spelling

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