Busting The 2nd Class Citizen Myth

All along I have been hearing statements from Singaporeans along the lines of, "I rather stay in Singapore and be a first class citizen," or "I rather go to X country and be a 2nd class citizen." What the hell is this shit? Who gave us the idea that there are different tiers of citizenship in Singapore? What do you really mean when you declare yourself as a 'first class citizen'? How does it work? Like a caste system?

Tell me, what makes you feel first class as a Singaporean in Singapore? Is it the work environment created by the government? Equal work opportunities, non existing glass ceiling? Preferential treatment by employers? Investment by the government to nurture Singaporeans into top talents? Is it is about living standards? Free open space for citizens to enjoy? A reasonable model of work/life balance? Affordable homes for you and your next generation?

Or is it a combination of both?

Tell me honestly. If you are a Singaporean Chinese, would you mind being a minority race? If you do, why is that so? Deep down we know minority races are marginalized in Singapore but no one will ever admit that. Racial equality is taboo in Singapore. No one is supposed to discuss it. That has been how racial harmony has been achieved, the equilibrium is set by eliminating the matter altogether at the perpetual expense minority groups whenever necessary. Perhaps there isn't a cheaper , better and faster way to do it differently so we simply left it at that. Having said that, our racism issues isn't anywhere near the level in some countries where minority races are being severely ostracized.

The way things are run back home left us ingrained with this perception that is how the rest of the world works. From my personal experience, the people that brought up class concerns to me are dominantly Chinese. Minority folks, from my observation, spend their time worrying about the every other typical issue except being a '2nd class citizen' in the new lands. Perhaps the minority thought that they have nothing to lose. Or simply things couldn't be worse. What made things worse was sterotyping and of course, reading too much Right News. When Singaporeans finally gather enough courage to leap out from the little well, little did they know most of them will find themselves surprised that things are not as bad as they think and the minority realise things are better than they dare hope for.

So we heard phrases like, "I'm sick of running the rat race in Singapore. I'm off to Australia." In case folks that think this way didn't realise, I'll tell you the truth you don't want to hear. You may leave the rat race in Singapore, but you will just end up running the rat race in Australia. On the similar front, you import your so call class level as well. If you think you are being treated as a third class turd in Singapore, you will be treated as a third class turd in Australia.

Just imagine if the fucker Minister decide that his ceiling cleaning days are over and move to Australia, do you think he will be that same 2nd class citizen that you thought you will be here? With the right contacts in the same league of fucker friends here, you can be sure you will not be sitting opposite him drinking cappuccino in your regular Sunday cafe anytime at all. If you have plans for that, I warn you that puking into rivers in WA is illegal. Please bring along bags.

In every society since the history of mankind, there has been a class structure regardless of whichever model of governance it runs on. I am not implying that there isn't a class structure in other countries such as Australia or Canada or the UK, just not the way you think it is. The class barrier in our minds can be easily explained by the overused cliche of "It isn't what you know but who you know." Your so-call class status is correlated with how fast you get around. Anybody will require a great deal of time to learn the new rules of the new land. It is similar to joining a new company. If you could recall the last time you did that, you would remember you struggled a while before (hopefully) establishing yourself as a contributing unit of the company. If you were unable to connect well with your own people in Singapore, you will struggle even more to do so with a different set of people with different lingo, beliefs and culture. That explains why Mr Ceiling Cleaner will do better than you in Australia, even though he has that same Asian skin as you. Many of us would love to think that our fucked up Ministers will never make it elsewhere if they try their luck somewhere else because only the Singapore brand of meritocracy made it possible for them to excel the way they did, career wise. Unfortunately, we would be wrong. These people would still encounter the hard bums, no doubt about it, but they would still get there faster than you would on a faster vehicle.

With that in mind, you will realise that 'class' isn't permanent. It is still well within your hands to reach where you want to be, albeit with a higher level of difficulty as compared to the locals because of their advantage of knowing the rules and building their network way before you came. It just takes longer and it depends on your attitude at the end of the day. If you think it can be done, you are right. If you think it can't, you're right too.

Unless you are moving to a region where praying for rain by performing complex tribal ritual is the only occupation in demand, things still run generally in within a meritocracy framework in most of the countries that Singaporeans want to migrate to. One thing to note, business owners are business owners. While there are some who start business to troll stakeholders, the figures are low. Profit is still the main purpose of any business at the end of the day. Will business owners hire their own kind for the sake of patriotism or mateship? Ask yourself this question and answer that truthfully what you will do if you are Tow Kay in Singapore. Chances are you will end up shedding a few dramatic tears and tell people on government television that you are unable to hire local dishwishers for $3,000 a month to make yourself feel better hire cheap new migrants who can do the job as well, if not better, for $800 a month.

These examples are well and plenty in Australia. Simply do a search and find out how much information you can find about locals being annoyed with both big corporate and small business owners for insisting on employing workers on 457 (work) visa rather than giving them the jobs.

One friendly bro tip for you. If you are still unable to smash this "class" mentality within your thick skull, by all means bring that along with you. But bear in mind, you are not judged on your wealth or what car you drive here. There might be Singaporeans like your ilk who may be impressed but most wouldn't. For all you know, the haul pack driver staying next door may be earning twice as much as you but all he does is to push his lawnmower around his garden during Saturday mornings while you try to grab everyone's attention driving around the neighborhood in your well detailed Porsche. If you are genuinely nice, friendly and helpful to the people around, you will be accepted as part of the community. If you are capable and willing to contribute at work, you will be appreciated. What is the missing "first class" you are asking for?


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  2. If you are genuinely nice, friendly and helpful to the people around, you will be accepted as part of the community.


    1. How about Malaysian Chinese? Should they called 2nd class citizen?