Sunday, 28 September 2008

There was a Scouting joke I heard when I was still actively in Scouts.

Every two years (if my memory serves me right), the Malaysian and Singaporean Scouts will participate in the bi-annually Goodwill Camp (or Goodwill Camporee or Kem Muhibbah). The camp will be held alternately in either country.

One of the Scout badges or one of the activity as part of a badge (I can’t remember which one because it has been that long ago) requires a Scout to have ‘foreign’ or ‘overseas’ pen friends - and Malaysia and Singapore are separated by the sea (Straits of Johor, to be exact). Hence, the Singaporeans recognises Malaysia as an overseas country, even though we are just a drive over the causeway away - actually any country other than Singapore itself, is an overseas country because they are an island after all!

Anyways... back to the point of this post...

So there I was watching the interviews during the pre-Singapore F1 race, and they interviewed the President of Singapore, S.R. Nathan.

As if having the first F1 night race and first Asian Street Circuit wasn’t awe-inspiring already, seeing that their president (without trying to sound overly prejudice) is an Indian, really intrigues me on what this country over-the-sea is all about.

If you like me, believe and wanting to see true unity in diversity, will understand where this post is going to go to.

I mean, I know where Singapore is. I know what it is like, I’ve been there a few times, I’ve friends from or living there but I think I need to know more about this cili padi of a country.

So, I Googled them.

And yes, I know - take everything you read (online or not) with a pinch of salt.

Where were we…?

Yes. As far as I know, English is their first language, their national anthem is in Malay, and their prime ministers have been ethnic Chinese.

Well, their past prime ministers have been and currently is still held by an ethnic Chinese. Will this change? We can only wait and see.

The national language of Singapore is Malay, hence, the national anthem? - is in Malay.

However, one of the official language and the language of administration is English.


Moving on... their current president is a Singaporean ethnic Indian and their past presidents have been a mixture of Malay, Eurasian, Chinese and Indian descendant.

Perhaps the only lacking in the whole equation is a woman in position.

I’m sure that there will be complaints or dissatisfactions by Singaporeans on their political scene there but on the surface, it does seemed like a country that embraced unity in diversity, in a balanced manner, in the sense of everyone who qualifies has and it has been proven, that they can be a president (for now not inclusive of the role of Prime Minister) regardless of your ethnicity.

Now, what are the chances of a non-Muslim being elected the Prime Minister of Malaysia or *gasp* a Sultan for that matter or *gasp*…?

For a country that strives for self sufficiency, there are a lot of reading materials out there to backup Singapore's desire and will to be that. How about that?!

Does seemed like a ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ country.

...that over the sea country.

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