Monday, December 25, 2006

Singapore Dreaming - Starbucks Coffee Vs Kopitiam Coffee

One thing that infuriated me since I was back. The more Singapore progresses economically, the more we lack a kind of morality to treat all human beings as being equally created in the image of God. This isn't even about racism. We treat "Bangalas", Chinese scholars (PRC scholars), Filipino maids, Vietnamese brides like commodities. We ignore people distributing pamphlets like they don't exist. We walk straight through sales people or cleaners, refer to them as "those uneducated people" and effectively created a whole strata of invisible people who are supporting our society. If there is any crime or vice happening, it is because "these foreigners" brought it into Singapore. This makes us the Asian modern version of pre-civil war America. Why is Singapore at the bottom of the World Economic Forum's customer service ranking? If you were paid $5 an hour to be treated like crap all day, would you bother to grin and bear with it?

When the bomb drops, or the famine strikes, or the building collapses, it doesn't matter whether you are a rich university educated lawyer staying in a condo or a foreign worker earning $20 a day. You'll still be in the same hole saying your last prayers. As my father puts it, Singaporeans are just the mediocre Starbucks coffee packaged nicely and put in a nice shop. Many of the foreign workers are good robust home brewed coffee that are packaged in plain battered tins and placed in rundown coffee shops. At the end of day, the thing that matters is what kind of coffee you are.

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