M's Tree

Wa buay song!
"Why is my orange green?"

"It's so big but why still green?!"

Singaporean Mum, M, was livid. In a typical Singaporean tiger mum fashion, demanding for an explanation from her son's 98/100 test failure in school, she wasn't too impressed with her Mandarin orange tree.

That tree... Where did that tree come from? Ah! It must be that spot that was previously occupied by some useless ornament hedges. I remember hiring a strong pulley to do that job for her. Goldilocks helped me drag that cool device all the way from Midland to Twilight Brook. I was given a trailer to do it. 

So I heard after the day when we pulled that offensive bush out, Duke and Duchess went to the shop and planted an orange tree in its spot. Yes, I have lesser hair by now but surely that couldn't be that long ago? The fact that the tree have produced sizable globes that look like fruits since is quite remarkable. Yet tree is still being asked, "Y u no orange?" I made a mental note to make a cheap signage titled "Stressed Tree" and place it in front of the tree when nobody is looking the next time I visit Brook Palace. Haha. When I used to work in NParks, my job was to rescue trees from evil beings. Haven't fully kick the habit.

It's the thing about growing up in Singapore. Everything has been done in a jiffy. Obtaining steamed rice is lift ride away. Most of us today do not even know the time required to cook a bowl of rice, let alone the time taken to nurture a grain of rice. Efficiency was ingrained in us since we were little kids. We were taught to achieve our goals at the shortest possible time. Any time taken to rest or smell the roses was not encouraged. Don't believe it? Let me share my Primary School Song with you. (I love my Primary School and the memories it gave me btw)

Forward and Onward Rush to Fame
Let us to the World Proclaim
Queenstown Primary School’s the name
Our youth’s and nation’s pride

So onward go and clear the way
And forward march with no delay
So onward go like fearless men
And forward fight unto the end

Together we will do our best
Till tasks are done there’ll be no jest
In us, our nation’s hope do rest
So keep the flag a flying high

My school meant business. Don't mess with us.

I am assuming most Singaporean kids were brought up this way. To be efficient and expect efficiency. After my dear friend LC Ong went on a few overseas tours and experienced a several pleasant acts of motoring patience, she urged Singaporeans to do the same. Unfortunately, patience and efficiency rarely blends in the Singaporean context. The quest for efficiency, combined with our thirst for perfection makes us an admirable yet detestable nationality. Many of us are able to shake off or dilute these traits after a long time of resettling in a different environment. Some will do it faster, some slower, some never do. Many of us 'older birds' found ourselves parroting similar phrases along the lines of "keep your old Singaporean mentality behind" to the newcomers because we know that those traits will only retard the speed they will settle down. The speed. Spot the irony. We can only subdue ourselves but never kill the demons in us.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, thank goodness you remembered the lyrics of our old school! Best wishes to you from Chyun