12 September 2005

the tiger city

i'm doing this piece not in response to any pieces out there on the net. more like a response to a conversation i've had with a few folks over dinner a few days ago. so, there, this is independant from other threads of similar discussions elsewhere.


somewhere tucked at the end of the main continent, there lies the world's most efficient city-state. it's a small island just a short swim from the main continent. we'll just call it the tiger city. tiger = "think i greater than eveli-one in the region-ma."

tiger city is a small city. no resources. doesn't mine gold, doesn't have oil wells, doesn't grow marijuana or poppies. like i said, no resources. this city doesn't even have its own supply of drinking water. its water comes from filtered piss and from a nearby nation. so they have to be trading things they don't have a business trading anyways.

its people, who are its treasures, are also the greatest liabilities this city-state has. the efficient people are exactly that: efficient.


my few travels to this city-state/shitty-state revealed to me that they don't smile because they are efficient. smiling requires muscle movements and it's also not in the standard-operating-procedure document. i know, it takes even more muscle movements to frown, so the efficient shitty-zens don't frown as well. not only is that not efficient, it's also a no-no. so they remain expressionless.

same thing applies when they speak. they speak in monotones, and use monosyllabic responses where possible. the inefficient use of slang language is tolerated in this shitty state that prides itself on perfect english (yeah, right). general rule of thumb: every 3 english word must be punctuated with at least 1 hokkien word. no, that's still perfect english hor. you don't know meh?

too comfortable?

the efficiency of this shitty-state creates a comfortable zone for its people. all needs are looked after. buses stop where they should, arrive when they should. trains zoom in and out of their stations on the dot. taxis observe meters all the time. there's a 7-11 everywhere, there are co-op shops everywhere. no one is found wanting, nothing is left to chance. in a country where land is scarce and thus expensive, tiger city has public housing. when the poor suffer, shitty-state government officials give money away. all is well, all are happy, all are looked after.

the consequences of these is that the people don't know how it is like to live in the real world. really. outside this comfort zone, they can't fend for themselves. i can vouch for that.

they whine about other countries they go to that are lesser than they are. in some countries, they don't dare to wear their watches, and change into less branded clothings - they're afraid they will get robbed. in some countries, the roads are crappy, the police is always corrupt. in some countries, they're no queues to board the plane, the toilets are less than clean. the water elsewhere dirty. the food unhygenic. the people rude and inefficient.

tiger-citizens don't understand that they are highly priviledged people living in a small nation controlled by a pretty autocratic, control-freak government. pissing in a lift is an offence there. so is plucking flowers from a public park. or chewing non-prescription chewing gum.

theirs is a society with ob-markers that are only starting to loosen up.

they live a place which has, through the years, transformed into a world class place to stay in. i think now they need to look outwards. they should be thankful and happy about what they have, but it doesn't qualify them from

world: imperfect

the world is not perfect. it is not fair. not every government is relatively corruption free. not all can afford to build all the facilities shitty-state has. few governments in the world pay their civil servants salaries that are on par or better than their private counterparts'. not many can build a water distribution system that is clean and perfect all thru their nation. or a train system that traverses the entire shitty/state/nation. the scales are simply different.

while this country has been very successful, i think their people have a lot of growing up to do. they have to open up to the fact that they live in a world of many inequalities and much problems. when some countries are still struggling to eliminate hardcore poverty, i don't think they can put a streetlight along the entire country long highway that the shitty-zens complain about. and if they're going to speed and pretend they're not, don't complaint about getting booked. and if they are willing to pay the cops bribe, can you honestly just blame the cops?


i have been caught up in debates at times about the shitty state's relations with its neighbours. all i can say is that they are again, efficient but shitty. they are courteous, friendly, but they are pushy. they are always right. they always want to win and get the final say. and the others are always wrong.

yes, that's the mentality you need to succeed, but that's how you piss people off too. a little bit of tact hurts nobody (i know i lack that, but that's besides the point, isn't it?). what's wrong with admitting that you can be wrong too. or that you can't always be right? ada apa dengan ego?

if tiger city hadn't had alliances with the world's super bully, i think it would've had some very hostile situations over some of its behaviour. and of course, there's the jealousy thing its neighbours might have.

tiger city

i understand how tiger city works and respect and admire what they have achieved so far. while they are far from perfect, they have achieved thru their own efforts what many nations can only dream of. they are a society built on meritoracy. my own country is someways behind that. my country will no doubt, someday reach the heights tiger city reached. still i love my country, warts and all, now and forever.

i wish for tiger citizens to understand that they don't have the right to always be right. the world is not perfect and not an extension of their perfect little comfort zone. a bit more international understanding will go a long way. and please, we have better food. when was the last time we folks from the mainland went to your island for food?

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