Singapore – My Country, My Home

Note, this is meant to be a Singaporean confession, so as professional as it can be, a lot of Singlish is injected into my musings.

Remember the times when history classes in Secondary School was a chore with a huge thick purple textbook talking about pre-Singapore throughout the Malayan history through World War 2 and finally independence of the country. And I was in shorts then still singing ‘Majulah Singapura’ every morning in the basketball courts of my school every morning. The 50 cents bee hoon with curry sauce from the canteen aunty and the 30 cents grass jelly drink (sorry, but I don’t know how much canteen food costs now lol) always perks up my recess even though the teachers could be relentlessly boring in the class, scaring us with homework and assignments.

How much Singapore has transformed so far since then!

The Transformations, as far as I could remember..

The transport system has came under fire by many since it gets congested very easily these days. I would reckon that the population is really growing but do you remember there were the only two color routes namely the Red and the Green line? Now with so many short cuts that you could take, it starts to become as confusing as when you are in Japan taking their train. Before EZ-link, I remember there was these tickets that could bend like Beckham (silver thin cards, was it red for students? and purple for seniors?).

I remember my dad has to buy those CBD passes to be sticked onto the car screen to enter into the business district before Electronic Gantry Pricing units start taking all over the country (LOL).

You almost couldn’t recognize Sentosa. The changes since my school days till today is unbelievable. The cleaning up of the water along the coastline where pubs and restaurants are now sitting. I remember the musical fountain that spits water and lighting in all different directions that is replaced by a show call “Songs of the Sea”. You have your mega rich global audiences as well owning landed houses in Sentosa Cove, which was never used to be possible.

Gardens by the Bay Shot by Raymond Lam, SRI5000

Marina South has been transformed, from greens and those eat-all-you-can buffets and Superbowl to your now proud water catchment area, The Marina Barrage which is great for weekend gatherings, kite-flying and catching a glimpse of the awesome city lighting bouncing off one building to another (I suppose you have to thank the lighting masterplan as well). The all-new Gardens by the Bay which recently just opened places Singapore on the map yet again.

Despite the changes, there are some places which was already torn down which will stay dear to my heart (The old Macdonalds at East Coast, the old Marina Square, and the Marina South area, the old Kallang Stadium). A good thing is that most of the conserved shop houses are still around as the government tries their best to preserve what would be the heritage of our country.

Every scene from my growing up days seem to be still the black-and-white movies before things get transformed to what it is today, a vibrant, exciting little city country.

Nationalism

I was a Tekong boy; We were the new batch that takes Penguin ferries every weekend to our Basic Military Training (BMT) School, and then for me it was SISPEC after passing out from BMT. How time flies :) No one can ever forget the first day they were pledged into the school singing Majulah Singapura and swearing into protecting Singapore with their lives before their heads were shaved clean. For sure no one will forget the day they drew their Ali Baba bags and changing into those “ARMY” labelled singlets and start to be ‘tekan’ by their sergeants and officers.

Friendships were forged during our ‘siong’ trainings, our ‘lobo’ times. There was no differential treatments despite which race you were (Ok, let’s forget about the white horse stories for now). Everyone was abang, adek. Even after leaving the army, there were very close ties and friendship which were maintained till today, be it through social media like Facebook or offline buddies like my friends who are my colleagues. And I do enjoy my reservist sessions despite how ‘sian’ it seems to me. Dawning green reminds me of the fun times I had before during my regular days, and it still stand the same even till now (I have like a good 4 to 5 times of cycles before I MR.. so…)

A common question is always posed to Singaporeans typically just from neighbor friends especially for men who has gone through the National Service regimen on whether would you stay and fight for your country and will we able to fend and fight should we be attacked; Though most will jokingly put off this issue with ‘a bomb would be suffice to tear Singapore’, what would your answer be?

Indefinitely Yes and I’m sure most of us would have said yes when the question is poised seriously to them. To protect their loved ones, to protect their country.

Standing Proud

Shot by Raymond Lam, SRI5000

The government has done a great job in keeping every aspects of a Singaporean stable and in shape. Whatever any differences between different political parties in Singapore, I would think most of them have kept in checked in terms of wanting the country to improve and advance. Let us put the differences aside for the next few days as Singapore celebrates its 47th year since the day it declares independence from Malaysia.

I’m proud to be a Singaporean. Thank you for keeping my family, my friends safe and sound. Thank you for providing us so many platforms to reach out to the world for my business as well as impressing the world how a small little dot on the map can do wonders.

Happy 47th birthday Singapore, and many more peaceful and prosperous years to come :)

Written by Benson Koh
Benson Koh is a professional real estate realtor with over 11 years of experience specializing in all forms of real estate consultancy and brokeraging of different segments from regal homes to commercial spaces. Also a boutique developer, he manages bothSRI5000 Developments which concentrates on landed homes as part of his land bank segment and Singapore Realtors Inc (SRI), a real estate agency which has over 7 years of group experience. You can reach him here via various channels. [ Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter | RSS Feed ]