What makes us Singaporean?

Singaporean | What makes us Singaporean?

The poster to the right is the brainchild of an initiative led by NEA called Make-a-thon, an original project in Asia gathering people from all walks of life to discuss ways to solve community concerns and change social behaviour.

And I happen to know someone whom was part of this team.

She told me that when putting these posters up on HDB lift doors as an experiment, people nearby got curious; an elderly uncle even read the words out loud and started a conversation about life in Singapore with the team of volunteers!

The more I think about it, the more I feel being Singaporean means having the best interest at heart for the country. Not only that, but also recognising that we all have the same good intentions, no matter how or how much we may be able to contribute.

Yes, there may be differing opinions and priorities on policies, just as how a parent would have different methods of bringing up a child. Some parents are strict, others are quite lax. But in both cases, they are raising their child the way they feel is best.

I’m really happy to see open and mature discussions on such topics as wage schemes to help low-wage workers, government subsidies for the elderly, etc. Think about it: a few years ago, no one wanted to discuss such things, almost everyone I know felt it was someone else’s job to worry about these matters.

I think being passionate about helping the nation grow, be it socially or economically, is a real sign of growth.

That’s why I don’t think looking back and feeling nostalgic about the way things were is the best way to go forward; we should cherish our memories and use them as catalysts to go even further!

While there are efforts in rolling out heritage-related measures, it takes a qualitative perspective to truly identify the collective change. A not-so-subtle observation would be Singaporeans’ negative sentiment towards foreigners.

Perhaps when NMP Laurence Lien said that Singapore is in a ‘social recession’, this extends to how Singaporeans are having the ‘it’s you or me who’s going down’ mind-set as opposed to welcoming ideas that can allow both Singaporeans and foreigners to live in harmony.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to addressing social concerns. But whichever strategy we all agree to implement, we should remember that what’s important is for the people to keep an inclusive mind-set.

When Singapore first opened its doors to the world, people were and still are amazed at the nation’s growth rate, and wanting to be a part of the local talent; so maybe being a Singaporean also means being a gracious global citizen!


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  1. When Samantha Lo does it, it’s a felony: vandalism. When a government agency does it, it’s all innovative and engaging: “wow – we’re getting ordinary people involved!” (Ordinary people were always ready to be involved – it’s the gov’t shutting us out in the past – c.f. GCT’s famous OB markers.)

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