I received an invite from FLY Entertainment to attend this panel discussion held yesterday evening. Knowing Irene Ang is involved in this, I suspected that it would not disappoint. And I was right. It was an evening of fun and laughter.
Irene helped kick off the discussion by asking the panelists what SG50 meant to them.
Patricia Mok: Celebrating how Singapore has been independent for 50 years. It is now more expensive to stay here but still very safe.
Daniel Ang: A lot of heritage food is gone. Some hawker stalls are gone due to higher rentals, no successor to hand the business down to, etc. You will also get fewer likes if you Instagram char kway teow instead of waffles. :D
Kelvin Ang: When bringing kids to the playgrounds, one can’t help but lament the loss of those sand-filled playgrounds from the past. Now we have mainly those pre-fab and plastic ones.
Hayley Woo: Offers a platform for more work. But also celebrating our freedom / independence.
Tosh Zhang: Progress.
Pat Law: There is no one democracy that survives a hundred years. Cause for celebration?
Qn 2: How can you make a difference for the next 50 years?
Pat Law: We jump the gun a lot to rant and complain. Instead of complaining, use the time to do something useful for the country. Stop blaming the government. Easy to say “hey govt do something”. Walk the talk.
Irene: We take our peace for granted. Pretty girls can go home at 3am and still feel safe, right? ;)
Pat Law: Half my business is for profit (bread-and-butter). Two years ago, our tote bags sold out within 24 hrs. Next week onwards, once every month, we will be documenting LKY through the years. 10 tote bags will be launched every month, from the Aug 9 1965 crying scene onwards. Proceeds go to charity. Why this project? We didn’t get here overnight. They did what they had to do to get us to where we are now. We are the ultimate ‘startup’ country.
Tosh: (when asked what NS means to him) I didn’t understand why, at first, we had to give the best 2 years of our lives to the country. But after training and listening to our commanders, we now understand why NS is necessary. We have such a small nation and with no military, ppl will “F” with us. We need a military.
Hayley: (when asked how she can contribute to SG) 传宗接代 – having kids.
Kelvin: (when asked about cyberbullies) Involve kids in posting and teach them which are the right and wrong things to post. Don’t post immediately when you reach a place in case of stalkers. Post a bit later. When FB allows then kids can have accounts. Be flexible and adaptable for the next 50 years.
Daniel: (When asked why it is important to protect SG’s old school bakeries. Is food so important to us?) Food is a big part of our culture. We connect over food and discussions about food.
Irene: It is hard for F&B businesses to find workers and even harder to ensure good service (e.g. some who work in a bar even have the cheek to say they cannot work during the World Cup season). Be kinder as influencers; give these businesses another chance.
[Daniel went back to an unnamed restaurant 4 times in a bid to give their terrible service a second chance, or four. He urges us to not be too judgemental or give 0 stars in our reviews so quickly.]
Irene: If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything.
Patricia: Don’t complain till the point that the point is pointless. Be constructive e.g. if you feel the need to fight for similar benefits for singles (that married couples get).
Bobby Tonelli: How can we combat this rising trend of xenophobia?
Pat Law: Our unemployment rate is not as high as in some other countries and many locals are not keen on certain jobs. My dad sells oyster omelette and is paying $10 per hour yet still cannot find locals to work for him.
There was once when my Mini Cooper (a vintage one) was parked on a downward slope. Tried to reverse but the car still rolled forward towards the other car parked in front. Three foreigners (Caucasians) helped push my car back up. Just because someone is white doesn’t mean he is a bad person. Don’t attack. Just have a civil argument. Don’t be rude or racist.
Irene: It boils down to our sense of entitlement. We have to practise tolerance. Doesn’t mean Singaporeans are the best and foreigners are the worst!
Grace: It was definitely a thought-provoking session for me. :) If you were to ask me what SG50 means to me, I’ll say it is a time to think about what we can do for our country.
If you are a writer, perhaps a book on our history or a certain aspect of our culture?
If you are a parent, perhaps tell your children about how far we have come and teach them to remain humble, hardworking, resourceful and resilient?
If you are a blogger, perhaps a blogpost on SG50 and your thoughts to inspire your readers? ;)
“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”