Patriot: n. one who truly, though sometimes injudiciously, loves and serves his country.
Nationalist: n. one who favours or strives after the unity, independence, interests, or domination of a nation.
We, the people.
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On 9 Aug 2002, Singapore nationalised the drinking of piss.
"Sai zwee". Shitwater is what my mom calls it. It does not matter how forwards or backwards the osmosis is. Psychologically, it is the source of the water that taints it, and no matter how advanced the technology is in purifying and sanitising, the water remains ritually untouchable. Nevermind that the natural water cycle recycles water from the piss-filled oceans anyway. Today we are urged to be self reliant in water, so that we do not have to buy it from outsiders. Maybe we should not have made them outsiders in the first place.
"Tiong kok lang". China-people is what my mom calls them. It does not matter how long they've trained in this country. Psychologically, it is her birthplace that taints her, and no matter how much she slangs Singlish or lives our way of life, she remains a foreign body. Nevermind that grandpa was born in Fujian. Today we are urged to exploit the economic value of learning Chinese culture. Maybe we should not have shut down the "chauvinists" thirty years ago.
The (Singapore) government has been on the defensive in recent weeks after Ho Ching, the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and daughter-in-law of Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, was named as head of the powerful state investment vehicle Temasek Holdings.
Reuters, 1 Jul 2002
The best defense is nothing personal.
No offense is good intent, we're sure.
Good enough we know you know we know,
or at least you think we know.
But now they know we know what you know.
So our job is done. You did yours well, too.
It's a technique, how to raise your voice,
when we turn our heads. We don't enjoy this either, you know.
First the Communists, then the Catholics, now those catatonic men
selling their books in the crowds of air-conditioned commuters.
We must measure, tend to the reality these pedestrians have.
It's not steel and concrete they're walking on. It's iron discipline.
But we've kept you waiting, sorry.
The papers are in order, and the men are outside.
While you're over there, think about it.
And when you're ready, we'll know.
"It is awkward. We know that," Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told BusinessWeek on May 29. "There is some conflict of interest, but you know, we work for the larger good."
BusinessWeek, 24 Jun 2002
Late Saturday morning in Queenstown
brings to light sulky children accompanied
by sullen mothers and fathers,
all resisting the rising heat.
Recently emerged from
the lower bowel of the housing block via a feeble lift,
I watch a small car settle itself dog-like
in the parking lot.
A family of four emerges like puppies
from its narrow womb
to head for the supermarket,
all mewling with inexplicable hunger.
I have seen this scene many times.
Now I turn my face to my newspaper
to fix it in my mind forever.
Could you find it in your heart to forgive our sins,
I ask a nearby child
who, startled into tears, clutches her plastic bag
half-filled with soybean milk and refuses to answer.
Her mother is nowhere to be seen.
An old man nearby remarks on my piety,
although he has no idea what it is all about.
Meanwhile, the undiminished sun arcs overhead,
dividing the day into its sequel.
The Four, their fierce longing unabated
by an hour of shopping, bear their plastic bags
like millstones to a coffeeshop table,
at the feet of which they are cast down
with remorseful sighs.
For salvation's sake we shall let them all remain nameless,
though the one described here as the mother,
her doughy arms aching for redemption,
aching from bearing the load
of her love for us all,
wears her exhaustion like a halo.
She is our Lady of Perpetual Anxiety and Sleepless Nights.
Her husband lights up a cigarette,
flings a casual epithet at the children
who are busy exchanging slaps
with the intention of sending the other headlong
into a more peaceable world.
Families like the Four
weave by like a river,
each laden with their own mysterious woes,
all barely surviving this most ordinary of days.
Meanwhile, under my questioning eye
the Four begin to shriek:
the woman, the inoffensive man,
the two boys who, you now realise,
are not brothers,
with their identical smudges of hair
and eyes that ponder the meaning of autism.
As for the casual epithetic man,
the exhalations of his cigarette
are a supplication for atonement; for indeed
what comes out of his mouth now cannot
be properly described as prayer.
Under his invocations the clouds gather
and the sun has suddenly become their secret.
The squat shadows of the Four vanish
and they are no more.
"Tell me more about the woman," you say.
There is nothing more, I reply.
No, I am wrong-
there is her name, her documented age,
how many years she has been a mother and wife,
though these numbers cannot signify
in the least degree who or what she is.
There is the forgotten shrine
of her childhood to enter,
where you can stand in a corner and watch
the hours and minutes of her life being burnt
little by little in the crucible of this day.
There is the woman herself,
scraping together their residue
as coarse-grained memories,
soon to be nothing more than
a stir of ashes.
On his wife Ho Ching's appointment as executive director of Temasek Holdings, (DPM) Lee (Hsien Loong) reiterated there is no conflict of interest.
He said: "There's no conflict because neither of us is working for ourselves, Temasek on behalf of the Government and GLCs, the Finance Ministry is also on behalf of the Government of Singapore - so we're actually both working on behalf of the Government so there's no conflict of interest, like if I'm regulating someone doing business."
MediaCorp News, 1 Jul 2002
Get me pregnant
It has been fourteen days,
I am fertile. Now!
We've got our degrees,
bills paid, clubs in tow,
The millennium's over. Now!
I've bought Barry White,
did my sit-ups, and
you've been to the gym.
What are you waiting for now?
Besides, money will roll in.
It's an investment, don't you see?
We are patriotic, so
Answer the nation's call now!
They'll grant my leave,
It's national service!
Just like you,
I'll make it. So, now!
Now I don't want to get fined,
or do you want me to cane you now?
(Ho Ching) sets this matter aside quickly, saying that, in her mind, there is no conflict at all. He is in politics. She is in business. They both work passionately for the national interest.
Straits Times Interactive, "Featured Woman", Jul 2002
Coco Lee's the new Kwan Yin.
Make your dollar offering.
Legs are Asian, pants are Western,
mouth is cute, the song is dumb.
Give me urhu blues tonight,
a tall pagoda of ice-kachang.
Unplug the mp3 and hear
bamboo taking on the wind.
For his part, Goh defends not only Ho but the entire Lee family on grounds that Singapore's talent pool is too small and the family's academic record too impressive not to employ them in key positions. "It is an exceptional family," says Goh. "Do we discriminate against them just because they're related?"
BusinessWeek, 24 Jun 02
"If you swallow it, it will grow in your heart," said the little girl to Jill. She held up a flower the size of her palm and raised it above her head. Jill was intrigued, more by the little girl than the flower.
"Why would I want a flower growing in my heart?" Jill asked, if only to amuse the little girl.
"Because it is beautiful."
The answer did not come from the little girl, who was now playing amongst the rest of the flowers in the garden. But it must have come from somewhere.
Are we stayers or quitters?
I've got a ticket to Silicon Valley that says I've got better things to do.
Entrepreneur about to leave Singapore
Four days on and still no word. i'm beginning to think she's not interested.
there has to be more than just "this". what is "this"? i only know what "this" isn't.
"remove from packaging.bake and serve with garnish." did i miss something?
parsley is the bane of my existence.
you wanna pick a fight? is that what you want? you wanna pick a fight? i'll have you eating those swedish chairs by the end of the night.
time to drain out this swamp.
enough with the wars. petty skirmishes. let's show them a really good time.
a city built on a swamp.full of bullshit.they must have sewage problems of epic
proportions. let them swim for a while.i think they enjoy it.
the 2nd rule of the fight club is,you do not talk about fight club.
barely touched down and already hit with the smell of decomposing matter and
people dying every second of their lives.
this city is dead.there's nothing more to see.move along.
a city built on fear and paranoia should be left to die.
there are far too many policemen about.and they're smiling..don't you love this city?
"welcome to our city and our 'take no risks' policy.all unattended baggage and children will be summarily destroyed."
"the Immediate Removal Act (IRA) is necessary to perserve our way of life"
uninhabitable but yet they continue to live and die there.blank. sleeping and already dead.
nothing to preserve but their paranoia and the misplaced legacy of one old
IRA report: A small unattended child was destroyed outside the grand minister's residence yesterday pm on suspicion of being a Kid Bomb.
No evidence to the contrary was found at the scene.
silence.not even the sound of small children playing.
the old man has to go.
let him judge himself.
you are right. it has always been dark. we only think we see light.
you're completely off your rocker!
i like fireworks!
everything has its own pace.
and yet they all share the same time.
time is shared as a multi-dimensional space. linearity could hardly support the infinite discrete moments happening simultaneously.
and so time is space and space is time,and our limited human minds finds the need to differentiate.
Matt Sho is a traveller. the2ndrule first met him at S-11, a coffeeshop along Stamford Road in Singapore, one night in March 2002. His only worldly possession was a mobile phone. So we asked him for stories over SMS as a project for the2ndRule. He said, "Cool."
Red is the colour of brotherhood
Instant Cafe Episode 9 © 2002 Koh Beng Liang
National mis-education seminar 1: Cycles © 2002 Koh Beng Liang
No Offense © 2002 Gui Wei Hsin
The Four © 2002 Aaron Lee
National mis-education seminar 2: The Call of the Nation / National Service © 2002 Valarie Tan
Chinese Pop © 2002 Chris Mooney Singh
Jill and the magic fable © 2002 Shannon Low
National mis-education seminar 3: Two (23-04-2002 / 13-05-2002) © 2002 Matt Sho
6.46pm © 2002 Wong Zijia