#125 a chinese by descent

Interesting that BBC’s James Reynolds sought readers to name 10 top-list about China or people of China.

He prefaced that he wrote for his own people…I wonder about the average English interests in the things of the East or China if not for those negatives that happened in UK and Europe like the recent Olympic Torch protests.

Many young Britishers like their forefathers travelled to Asia to find ‘gold’ as there are greater opportunities today.

Understanding China is still a huge and challenging puzzle…even for a Chinese in the diaspora — our views are so diverse.

I belong to the migrant class of Chinese parents living in Southeast Asia. My father wanted a better life, away from the corrupt and politically unstable nation he was born during the 2nd World War.

I was brought up at a time when Singapore was the new nation. Our focus was on nation-building and a people belonging to Singapore.

My immigrant parents always considered themselves Chinese and hoped to return to China one day until the Cultural Revolution in the mid-sixties…it was then they made Singapore their adopted home. Resulting, they never talked about China or educating us on the things of Chinese.

Naturally I grew up knowing only Singapore and always regard self as Singaporean rather than Chinese. It was when I worked and lived in Hongkong in early 80s that I experienced identity crisis. The HKs saw me a Chinese as yellow-skinned but when I claimed I’m a Singaporean, they could not understand — in fact I experienced some form of hostility and frown upon. However one interesting phenomenon was at official counters, when I started to speak English, I was served hand-and-foot, otherwise these HK officers would bully or deride one who cannot speak Cantonese! You see HK was a colonial island, like Singapore before Singapore became a nation.

Then, I realise I’m a Singaporean of Chinese descent. But this does not make me Chinese as I didn’t know the culture or able to identify with things of Chinese, coming from the diverse cultures in Southeast Asia, though culturally rootless I am. 

Strangely when studying in Sydney (Australia), I was not aware of my difference as I spoke and think English and my caucasian Aussie friends never made me feel different either. During the school breaks I was invited to join life in Aussie families.

You see I’m one of the new Singaporeans where our national leaders’ vision was to unite the different races to become one — one for all and all for one. I grew up not aware of the color differences during my primary school days in an English-stream school.

In those days, there were the Chinese-stream schools. If one studied in such schools, there was only one race, Chinese. The minorities like Malays and Indians do have their schools but there were few.

Parents proudly put their children in the English-stream schools. Some time in the 70s, Chinese schools entered the mainstream as those educated in Chinese-stream found difficulty in getting satisfactory jobs. So the policy changed accordingly.

#124 newly-minted u graduates

Newly-minted graduates from the universities are expecting to find jobs waiting for them — is that realistic? They expect to be better paid for the years spent at the mill.

Some go on to higher studies hoping to secure better paid jobs — is this wise?

The working world is harsh reality. One needs to perform…not mere talk or come out with wonderful plans. If one cannot perform no matter how good the plan is and if there is no money coming in, it’s sheer empty talk.

In some instances, one without a college education performs better than a graduate in performance and makes more money comparatively. 

However in business, it takes guts and the dare to push one’s way. There is no such thing as gentlemen’s agreements.


Last Saturday March 8th was International Women’s Day.

Women championed her cause since “…in 1908 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.”

(Links: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp )

Glad we are given equal rights and access to education since Singapore was first founded.

Today, women are found in almost every arena of vocations and professions in developed countries. Naturally, in developing countries, that depends on its cultures and mores.

The woman expressed in the Christian Bible in Proverbs 31 is resourceful and liberated:

“…She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy…”

Why is there the feminist movement in the West? Why has the church contained a narrow view of the place of woman?

Proverbs 31:11, 12 clearly suggest she is not a threat:

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

and “her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (verse 28).