Taking the MRT Pregnant Makes Me Feel like…

emigrating.

Makes me feel the harshness of hectic city life first hand.

On the first day I was going back to work, the rush at the MRT station made me faint. People were strutting at fast pace in various directions. And afraid of having to stand all the way on the train, I panick whenever the train draws near my station. There’s a tightness in my neck as I look out for potential competitor who would vy with my for a seat on the already crowded train. Upon getting a seat, the tightness stays on for a while before it finally wears off.

In a city where people wake up a little less tired than when they go to bed, and having to fight frenzied crowd when taking public transport, I do not expect much kindness to have seats given up for me. I don’t think it happens often.

We are at 4.5mil in population strength now. The train is but just a form of transportation of machines – us to work. There being not enough seats, people vy for them like they are lined with gold. There are not enough seats because if they build more seats, there will not be enough space to transport all the people adequately. So having people stand will increase train capacity. I do not feel dignified being transported this way. How are we different from those foreign workers being transported by lorries? Wait, they have a seat. We are but just goods.

And when resource(seat) is scarce, do not expect people to show kindness. I don’t blame them. It’s natural human behavior to ditch courtesy when resources is scarce.

They are going for 6-8 mil in 40-50 years. They say we are an island with no natural resources and human resource is our sole reliable source. No land like Australia and Malaysia, no gold like Africa, no oil like Middle East.

Growing up in Singapore in the past 30 years, I can distinctly feel the change in population density. It never used to be this crowded.

My gripe is this. When you reach 8 mil, let’s say, where do you go next? Is 8 mililion the optimal ? If you cannot create an economy that sustains well then , do you, again increase the target population? Where does it end?

Surely there’s a certain population density beyond which people dun live well and happy anymore. Infact it may spawn social problem. Already, people are getting really cold in Singapore. Do we need to get colder? I do not want to go Hong Kong’s way. Never like Hong Kong or its people. Crowded places make certain qualities out of people. People tend to be kiasu/pragmatic. Only see what they have in front. 2D, no dimension beyond the expensive front they have. A culture without much depth.

On May Day, the Prime Minister talked about coaxing more mothers out to the work force. That will increase the productivity of the whole workforce. Today if we can get 10 mothers out to work and convince them to send their say, 20 children to childcare. Get three teachers to mind them and there! we have a net of 7 workers more in the workforce. That’s called leveraging..

Sure, milk us more. You hear this first on Earthtone ( and I assure you) this is called over-mining of human resource. Killing the goose that lay golden eggs.

Because the competitive people are mostly men, they probably never understood the importance of parental attention in early childhood. Raising children, to them, is probably just some kind of work they broadly classify under the umbrella called “education”. Economies of scale is the priority. Individuality is lost on them. Only when someone quiz them for the development of say our film/creative industry, they suddenly remember the importance. Then will suggest stupid things like invest more in film courses or arts achools.

It’s probably globalisation and we have no other ways to counter it except these ways.

I love Signapore. But there’s only the food and the places for me now. But they are pulling down the places I knew as a child sooner or later. And relationships have gone cold and stayed that way. Now that my Ah Por has left, except for my MIL, there’s nothing to stop me from uprooting and flee somewhere.

Somewhere where I’m not just a statistic or a good. Somewhere where I am counted as a human being, a valued individual who counts, when she walked on this earth. Is there anywhere in the world such a place now?

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