If you're perpetually flummoxed when asked, "What makes Singapore, Singapore?" or "What is a Singaporean?", this following video is a crash course on one aspect of our country's uniqueness.
An elderly Indian man with blue beard, which is the height of fashion, took to giving an epic rant in fluent Hokkien about the injustice of evicting the elderly stallholders at Sungei Road market come July this year.
His seemingly unrehearsed piece to the camera in the heart of Jalan Besar is a combination of everything Singaporean: A technologically-savvy elder with a quirky fashion sense borrowed from the more radical elements of youth culture, having zero qualms letting the rest of society know about his lifelong disdain for the government, no filter, in a dialect he picked up from his Chinese peers.
In case you don't understand what he just said, here is his speech parsed into English:
This is Sungei Road Market, where old stuff are being sold. The area is about 80 years old. As long as you aren't a criminal, you can come here to do a legitimate business. The government would allow you to do business here. But in the current Singapore, under the PAP, all the old people here, they do not have a place to do their business and what they want. They aren't informed enough about having to move by July this year. Under colonial rule, Lim Yew Hock allowed the people to do business in this area, the Indian sold a variety of food, the Chinese sold old stuff, made sandals and rode tricycles. Under the new prime minister now, there is no reparation or allowing a new place for these businesses. Where can these old people go? Singapore's government don't care. How can it be like that? The old people keep getting rounded up. These old people are not into criminal activities. They are just doing their business. The government of Singapore doesn't negotiate with its own people, how can it be like that? These old people who don't have food to eat, they will die. They don't have money for bills, or for their children. Our government is unthinking. They keep rounding up the old people and they don't make reparations. How can it be like that? That's terrible. The government doesn't take care of the elderly.
A disclaimer here would come in handy: This article is not advocating taking this man's claims at face value, as what he says is not entirely correct.
Assistance on some levels are being rendered to the soon-to-be displaced Sungei Road vendors.
Banners at the site are calling for the elderly in need of assistance to give a toll-free line a call any time they need help.
But what he got right is perhaps the part about letting the elderly do what they want in their twilight years as long as they are not breaking the law.
Because what they want is not just money, but agency. Take that away and the old folks are perhaps better off dead.
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