Singaporeans seem to have no idea who or what they are, where they belong or where they want to go. One very prominent trait they have developed is ‘kiasu-ism‘ (fear of losing). Generally they’ve succumbed to intolerance and arrogantly. This is the result of living in a city state and living in high rise apartments, which throw them into rat-race-minded mentality where survival isn’t enough but to excel above everyone else. To their Malaysian neighbor across the very narrow straits of Johor, they seem to suffer from some sort of superiority complex. The children born in the 70’s/80’s labelled as the McDonald’s kids are now grown ups and are facing an identity crisis…eventually leading into a identity foreclosure
(FT) Piyush Gupta, chief executive of DBS, Singapore’s biggest bank by assets, says: “Singapore, in a way, is still going through a crisis of identity. Does it really seek to embrace being a global city or not?” He adds: “For London and New York, the answer has been unequivocal over the past several decades. In Singapore’s case the jury is out because being a global city comes with attendant pluses and minuses. If you chose not to want to be a global city, that brings into question the economic and growth model that you seek to aspire to.”
Aside from rising living costs and a widening income gap, many Singaporeans feel that they are losing touch with a concept of national identity nurtured by the ruling People’s Action party (PAP).
Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, a local writer, says the combination of globalisation, low birth rates and high immigration has “essentially overturned the very essence of a Singaporean identity that our forefathers tried to build”.
…the price Singapore will inevitably pay for expanding financial services is that “you have more bankers, you have more McLarens on the road – and then you have the social angle”, says one
senior banker. Early this year, British wealth manager Anton Casey apologised in the face of public anger when he posted on Facebook of his relief at being able to “wash the stench of public transport” off him, having collected his Porsche from the car repair shop.
…“Because, if you’ve been so successful for so long, like any company you want to stick with your tried and tested formulas and then suddenly you have to change after 50 years of success. It’s not easy.”
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