What kind of a tree am I planting? 

What a February …. and we are not even halfway there!

Crazy adjustments to the new environment at work for me, crazy adjusting to mummy’s absence for Little Foot. Grateful that Papa is as always reliable as lighthouse. He’s stepped up to playing a bigger role as I adjust gear up at my new workplace. Exciting and trying times all at once. 

Whenever overwhelmed by my tiredness, my head starts going on overdrive, forming little thought bubbles about issues close to heart. 

Several things in the news recently kept making me ask myself each night, “what kind of a world, what kind of a Singapore, are we building for Little Foot’s generation?” 

  • Malaysia wants to try to claim Pedra Branca back from us (again…? Didn’t the Court of International Law already ruled that it’s ours?) 
  • Trump makes headlines for all his divisive,  anti-foreigners politics and remarks.
  • German immigration officer at airport made a Singaporean lady squeeze her breast to prove she’s lactating (all because she handcarried a breast pump)
  • Not too long ago, our SAF Terrexes got detained in Hong Kong enroute back to Singapore after a training in Taiwan (and China wasn’t shy about telling us while holding our armoured vehicles hostage that Singapore ought to respect the One China policy)
  • Malaysia wants to save Rohingyas
  • Whales are washed ashore because of climate change

Amidst all these, the goverment announced the strategies laid out by a Committee of the Future Economy painting a realistic picture of trying times ahead if we do not adapt and adjust fast enough to make ourselves useful and relevant to the rest of the world. 

And we will head into a Presidential Election in September. 

(…As you can tell, I do think of random things quite a lot… )

Back to my rhetorical question – what kind of Singapore will it be when it is time for the next generation to take it on? 

The Chinese has a saying 前人种树,后人乘凉 (the earlier generation plants the trees, their descendants get to enjoy the shade).

As this world gets more and more complex, existing as a small nation in times of troubled peace is no means feat. As a parent, I wonder what kind of a country we would hand to our children, one that is prepared and ready for change and already a step ahead of our competitors? One where women will truly enjoy equality where it matters? One where friendships cut across race, religion and gender? One where Singapore continues to be a respectable and respected nation on the international fora? 

The idealist in me hopes so, because the other end of spectrum is a bleak one.

In order to leave to the next generation a Singapore that is in good shape, we have to make a difference, whether small or big…from the choices we make – what to complain about, who to vote for, how we teach and guide our children, to the way we conduct ourselves – making sure we eliminate from our thoughts and actions any xenophobic/racist/sexist inclinations. To letting go of old habits and complacency. It has to be now. 

The world tomorrow will not get better. It is worrying to watch as progress gets undone, especially in terms of women’s rights and social harmony around the world, but we can only hope that the trees we plant today will provide sufficient shade for our kids in future. 

I could ramble on really, but  I shall leave this as food for thought.Are we waiting for someone else to make sure the Singapore of tomorrow is a good one, while we continue to be myopic and focus on immediate issues like whether COE prices have gone up or down, or if NTUC is selling fake rice? These are relevant to us today, but it is also time to start asking ourselves “how can it begin with me?”.

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