Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Pay! Pay! Pay!

So the Straits Times Interactive (online edition for the ST) has decided that it now requires online users to pay to read it's articles. Compare this to the other newspapers around the world, BBC, Washington Post, New Straits Times, Jakarta Post, and others, this seems a strange move.

Well that means that overseas Singaporean like myself, who are not rich, will be deprived even of government stooge news. Exactly like the notion of elections for overseas Singaporeans, some Singaporeans are better than others. The government scholars I am sure will receive some sort of newsletter to keep them updated with home, but for the others, there will be nothing if we don't fork out the money. Many foreign governments worry about the influx of new immigrants and their divided loyalties, but no worries when it comes to Singaporean immigrants, our own home doesn't want us.

Recently I have been asked by several American friends if I would give up my citizenship for an American one, I told them no. I may accept permanent residency but not full out citizenship. Singapore is a place I have decided to call home. Yet the actions of our government linked companies leaves much to be desired.

Last summer at the Youth conference, the then Minister for Community Development and Sports talked alot about making Singaporeans feel that Singapore is home. Migration, he said, was inevitable, and there was nothing the PAP could do about it. He talked about creating a sense of home and belonging, yet each step of the way, I feel as if it only applies to Singaporeans on scholarship. There seems to be a growing caste amongst Singaporeans overseas, there are the so-called quitters who want nothing to do with home, the elite scholars, and the common folk who happen to be overseas for various reasons. We all know how the diatribe goes, and we all know who gets the red carpet treatment.

Sometimes though I pity the scholars who go overseas, they seem almost nannied, while I get to frolic free and taste the fruits of freedom. It seems that while their minds are chained, my mind is free to roam. In them is a parochial nationalism that seems almost forced and sometimes merely lip service. Also there are the brain washed zombies who I know of all too well. In myself I see a romantic nationalism. One that is born from conviction of purpose and love of home (minus the current PAP government). I see the flaws of my home and the merits, and in me is born a desire to change it. Yet too often I must be careful of what I say lest I may never return to my homeland.

So I count on you my other bloggers to keep me in touch with the place that I call home. In your accounts and reports, in your diatribes and criticism, I see glimpses of my homeland, my watan.