Friday, July 25, 2014

We, the citizens

I try to stay away from the topic of politics in my socialmedia updates. I know of people breaking up their friendship on Facebook because of politics. They do this by 'unfriending' a friend (or should I say then friend?). Curses are exchanged online between 'friends' because they are rooting for different parties. Even objective comments are received with venom. Suddenly, I see a side of some friends and acquaintances which I otherwise don't get to see when they are posting pictures of their food.

(Taken with the Fujipet Thunderbird, Lomography Color Negative Film 400ISO)
Kit's school is located near the Elections Department, and he always asks if he can go in. I don't know why. I always tell him it's not THAT kind of place you can visit just for fun. ("Why, why, why," the questions continue.) I think most of Singapore forgets about the Elections Department until voting time. I think most of us don't think about our role as a Singaporean until election time or until August every year.

(Taken with the Fujipet Thunderbird, Lomography Color Negative Film 400ISO)
During our last trip to Japan, I was bowled over by just how often I get thanked for the simplest things like when I gave way to a stranger on a crowded street, for instance. But as we were queueing to board the plane after a two-week stay, I was transported back to Singapore although we were still in Tokyo. A Singaporean mother had dropped her family's boarding pass. I picked them up and passed them back to her. With just a blink of her eyes, she took it from me sullenly and walked off.

I don't read eye language, thank you very much.

But on certain days, I get pleasant surprises. Bus drivers who waved thank you when I gave way to them. A truck driver who stopped just so I could turn although he had right of way. That dear man really, really made my day.

Nasty people exist everywhere but somehow it feels worse when you're treated badly by your own countrymen. And if I could pick a song to describe this feeling, it'd be "We take care of our own" by Bruce Springsteen.

And then there are days where it feels extra nice, extra special when that someone who is kind or who responds with kindness is your fellow countrymen. I don't have a song for this; just a pledge that starts with "We, the citizens…."

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