To Fix a Mocking Peasant

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Is there a Nation in that City of Possibilities?
Perhaps Singapore is really a city of possibilities. After all, it is not as if anyone is claiming that it is a nation of possibilities. Perhaps as a city, it is full of possibilities. The cosmopolitan city has lots of possibilities and opportunities—even for foreigners. And no one is saying that the possibilities are for everyone. A city of possibilities for some people is still undeniably a city of possibilities. And no one is saying that it is a city of infinite, unlimited possibilities. There is no contradiction when it is possible for the Prime Minister earning three million dollars a year but impossible for the people to say (decide) No.

I see people, miles away, doing things with their lives. And I see things being done to mine.

So is the notion of a city of possibilities inherently meaningless? Of course not. The city of possibilities is simply the city of possibilities.

Or it is simply the city of impossibilities if you have the energy to penetrate beyond its surface. Possible for certain politicians to sue others for defamation; impossible for other politicians to win defamation suits. Possible to work (if you are “not fussy”); impossible to draw your meager CPF till you are reserving a lonely hole in a columbarium. Possible to get into the Parliament, impossible to have a voice. Possible to serve NS; impossible to object. Possible to speak, impossible to reject. Possible to be gagged, impossible to resist. Possible to fall sick; impossible to pay. Possible to love; impossible to get married.

It’s even possible for the state to hang fresh flags in neat columns on HDB blocks when the people’s conscience finds it impossible to do so.

But, of course, all sensible, self-respecting subjects of the city of possibilities do not bother to penetrate the surface of the city of possibilities. While dwell in the impossible realm of impossibilities when you can revel in the simulacra of possibilities? It’s just not practical or rational and it serves no economic purpose.

A city of impossibilities. A city of immobilities.

Yet, what is the nation in this “city of possibilities” (a term coined, it seems, for the National Day celebrations)? City of possibilities, not nation of possibilities. This year’s National Day, judging from the slogans to the theme song, is bent of removing the nation from the nation whilst obstinately still seeping the clichés of nationhood into vulnerable minds.

We still have people wearing CMIO costumes happily hanging out at the Esplanade while NSmen pick up toys for a baby whose pregnant mother could do with the help. Sure, we are definitely still a nation. No, wait: we are an open, cosmopolitan city, so everyone (foreign talents included) can be part of this nation, no … city, really. Wait, we are really nation.

What are we really celebrating for on (actually before and after as well) National Day other than grotesque images of baby-making women getting help from gallant NSmen?

It has been claimed that “we” (another fake term) do not have a nation yet. Quite untrue. The assumption that we would have a real nation one day is questionable for “we” wouldn’t be “we” then. More importantly, we do really have a nation. That is quite undeniable. In fact, what we have is a Pure Nation.

A nation is not a pure nation if it is made up of individuals. The Pure Nation not made up of individuals, but of one statistical average subject who is not anyone. A Pure Nation is one devoid of impurities such as individuals. Such as unwed mothers, gays, lesbians, poor people who are unable to survive on Public Assistance, beggars. Singapore is a Pure Nation. NS serves the purposes of no one; it serves the purposes of The Pure Nation. We need to raise the CPF withdrawal age because it works for the Pure Nation which consist of the average(d) subject whose life expectation is getting longer, not the individuals who might have shorter lives. There are no such individuals in the Pure Nation. A Nation more pristine than NEWater. Elsewhere, spring water exists naturally with minerals. Our sanitized PureNation must undergo fluoridation and chlorination instead.

Wash my blood off your brutal hands, if you will. Purify yourself. I, too, wish I could wash myself away from this squeaky city that dismantles my chastity belt with its mandate.

It is not that subversive sediments do not exist. It’s just that they have to be distilled from the PureNationTM. They can only exist by the side of the PureNation, not within it, unless stated otherwise. Of course, the status of purity is always dependent upon the (expurgated) existence of the subversive sediments. Seditious Sediments. Pure Nationhood built upon effacement, just like HDB flags over kampungs.

This National Day, let us celebrate the success of the tedious process of purification. Purification severing its ties with Sister Putrefaction.

We are not a Nation.

We have a Nation. Constantly a Nation. A consternation.


Xenoboy the Great writes on a similar topic
here. He says there is no nation. Molly says there's a PureNation. (We aren't necessarily contradicting each other though.) What do you think?

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"I see people, miles away, doing things with their lives. And I see things being done to mine."

That is so true.. but still.. people willingly accept this fate destiny. So deprived of freedom, people are giving up the will to live, or rather, accept their destiny as the right way to live.

And some have begun to love it.

Agree with you.

We are not even human ! We are animals, dog and cat etc.
Molly is a cat, our president is a dog (Genius universe's record of most expensive dog !), and most Singaporean are rat (run rat race). I sometimes become dog because I have to bootlick my boss's ass.
Majority of Singapore make up of dogs. You warn the dog, kick the dog, threaten it, the dog will just do nothing with just make a few bark, nothing else. Some dogs are paid high just to be another person's dog. No matter how they are paid, they are still animals not human. Once poor dog outlive their usefulness, in the future, they may be send in to SPCA, Batam is the SPCA version for the SingaDog. The rich and elite dog continue to be underdog to terrorise and tame, bully the hopeless and complaining dog.

Nation consists of humans not animals.
Indeed, we are not yet a nation.

We are not a nation. But then it wouldn't be right to use the word "yet" either. For we would no longer be ourselves if we become a nation.

And we do have (not in the sense of "possess" though) a nation. Singapore is a nation. We are just not part of it.

Hello Molly,

We are not a Nation

Perhaps you can enlighten the KTM on what to you is a nation? :-)

Re: What IS a nation?

If Molly could, she would have written it in the post, wouldn't she? But Molly can at least say that a nation isn't necessarily anything good.

Re: What IS a nation?

Good reply, Molly.

As if he needs enlightenment. What a pretentious question coming from supposedly a 'elite'.

Kway Teow Hater 2

Re: What IS a nation?

I also don't know what a Nation IS. DO you know?

KwayTeow Hater.

Re: What IS a nation?

We don't know what Nation is, but we know what Nathan is.

Want me to define Nathan ?
Nathan => A very rich mega-million president, one of the richest president in the world. Can feel George Bush's saliva dripping now.

How I hope Nathan=Nation because we will be all mega-rich, and mega-useless as well !

Re: What IS a nation?

George Bush probably isn't much poorer (maybe even richer) - it's just that he can't get very rich from his presidential pay.

Re: What IS a nation?

Hong Kong might be one:

Lol. This is a pleasant coincidence.

There is indeed a PureNation. Fabricated water. To wash the Sins away.

Even as the words sit uncomfortably with each other.

Trying to tear themselves apart.

Even as we want to tear them apart.

But they still sit. Two words on a fence that goes neither way.

happy day molly. happy day.

And no i am not Great. pureless perhaps.


Like cojoined twins except that the two words aren't really twins?

Pureless, Peerless.

'Nation' can be viewed in many ways. 1. It can be viewed suspiciously -- hence Foucault's and Althusser's notions of self-policing state, self-disciplining through the gaze of a 'fellow citizen.' 2. It can be viewed as something liberating, as something that creates enabling conditions for individuality and agency -- Edward Said's notion of 'imprisoning nation' seems applicable here. Said's vision of the colonial city is an optimistic one. Self and foreign other come together within a system to enjoy a close relationship which is textually mediated. Censorship is part and parcel of nationhood, for better or worse. It happens even in the most cosmopolitan societies -- the US, Canada. 3. There is another view of the nation as encouraging too much freedom -- here, the self thrives on a rootless modernity. All beliefs and moral values are copies of copies of copies... 4. 'Nation' is also a story that we tell ourselves, as individuals rooted in imagined community (Benedict Anderson). 5. Nationhood can be also be totally banal, crude -- a matter of pinning flags onto flats and just that.

nice one

(Deleted comment)
Thanks, hehe. Wish I can change my birth date instead.

(Deleted comment)
Since the birth date follows the birth date of the "nation," maybe it would be better to have a different birth date. Such as July 4. Or maybe 8 August like Faye's.

Molly, if you can change your birth date, may as well change your identify to be Nathan's son ! Papa always has time for his son because Papa doesn't piss his boss, LCY despite Papa's boss show disrespect to him for not asking him to parade in National Day. But Papa say, what's the fuc#$#k I care ! As long as I have millions dollars package await me, LCY can fuc23$k off humiliating me. MOney more important than dignity ! Moral only exist with money, that you can't have one without another !

I would prefer to change identity to Goh's (or whoever) daughter who is happily not in Singapore.

A Mere City of Possibilities

I used to be excited, happy and proud whenever I watched our National Day Parades before.
However, this year, the 2007 NDP, the 42nd Birthday of our new Nation, and despite
the amount of money extravagantly spent to build the water platform and
spectator stands and fireworks,I not only do not feel excited,
happy nor proud, as I watched the parade, I become very
reflective of what we have achieved and
I have these sickening feelings:

The feeling of injustice;

The feeling of neglect;

The feeling of despair;

The feeling of disgust;

The feeling of hopelessness;


The feeling of Sadness.

Those are my feelings of this National Day!

Yes, Singapore is a City of Possibilities! It has not been a country.
It is not a country. It will not be a country. It is definitely
not a Nation yet. It is no more a city of opportunities
for many of us.

Yes, Singapore is simply just a mere City of Possibilities!

Non-Elite-but-Caring. (Young PAP)

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

Yup, a City of Possibilitites, not a nation, alright. For me (no longer proud to be born-Singaporean), it is about possibility of exiting this huge private company, following the footsteps of my foreign talent friends who used this place as a stepping stone to their final destination.

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

Good luck.

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

Thanks! Same to you for your dreams of exit ;-)

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

Why did things change for you so suddenly this year?

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

Why things changed so suddenly? No, its not suddenly. Rather it has been a gradual process, since the last General Election, 6 May 2006.

The feeling of injustice - I saw only the PAP contingent on the Parade, and
I asked myself why did not the other political parties given a stake in the NATIONAL parade? My heart gave me the answer = INJUSTICE, which is not what
one of the five stars in the national flag says.

The feeling of neglect - While giving a bit more help to those who are actually disparately in need of financial assistance is so difficult, extravagantly and insultingly throwing away good money by the millions in the preparation and conduct of this parade and the fireworks don't even warrant a little bit of thought from the mind of those who keep our money.

The feeling of despair - While injustice is going on, I am not able to do anything about it except to rant and whine. So are many others who are also powerless. If you are deprived of your voting right, through no fault of yours, how can you influence the outcome of any election?

The feeling of disgust - While all the rest of the spectators watching the parade wore different colors of clothing, those on the Grand Stand wore white and white. What does that mean to me? It means that they are not part of us. They are a class of their own. I felt really disgusted when the song One People, One Nation, One Singapore came over the air, which reminded me of the PM's National Day Speech just the night before, telling us to be united as ONE people yet he and his gang do not practise what they preach.

The feeling of hopelessness - As I watch the two miserable helicopter gunship displaying their prowess, I asked myself: Why only two? Suddenly, I realized how small, weak and vulnerable Singapore is. All those military hardware on display, together with latest technology, would not be able to win any war against any would-be aggressor, simply because we would not stand a chance at all. Moreover, I think those in whites would have run away first in order to protect their own wealth and their own lives. During peace time, already they neglect the majority of us. What can we expect if there is an impending war with our neighbours? Therefore, my feeling of hopeless arose.

The feeling of Sadness - Despite the 42 years of "Success", material success, and despite the highly intelligent and highly outstanding leaders that the govt has been boasting about, they simply do not realize that all these so-called progress and achievements do not mean a thing to many of us.
They simply do not meet our needs and our aspirations. They are like dreams, rainbows, mirages, illusions and magical shows - exciting and nice to watch for a moment but disappear the next moment. They are like dreams. They cannot last. Therefore, sadness arose deep inside me.

Therefore, I agree with you that it is a mere City of Possibilities, like dreams, rainbows, mirages, illusions and magical shows. When are we going to wake up? Or shall we continue dreaming?


Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

"The feeling of hopelessness - As I watch the two miserable helicopter gunship displaying their prowess, I asked myself: Why only two?"

The answer are so simple. There are four seats together in two helicopters. One for dragon prince and Hoinx, another one for LCY and his wife. Others cronies will take the speedboat. In war time, the helicopters and ships will go off just like in national day because Singapore doesn't worth a shit anymore during wartime. And in meantime, the cronies can enjoy swiss standard of living elsewhere having park all their so-called asset in other countries.

oh yeah, before going off, let opp party taste the power of gunship with dose of millions dollars hardware.

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

What recourse do we have but to persist in cynically hoping against hopelessness?

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

It takes a leap of faith at the moment but the only way to overcome learned helplessness is to first believe you can help change the situation. Even just a little bit.

Sure, the situation won't change by your thinking positively but it shapes your perception and attitude. Otherwise, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy - the worst kind of self-inflicted doom.

Re: A Mere City of Possibilities

Hehe, did you just come from Mr. Wang's blog?

I found this off google, strangely. Interesting addition to FriendsPage, but font is a tad ack.

Happy Imagined Community and Manufactured Enthusiasm National Day!

The journal somehow looks different on different computers and different browsers. Thought it doesn't look too bad on my screen, but I don't know about other screens.

Happy Belated National Day!

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