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What Americans Learn About Singapore

April 23, 2010

Disclaimer: The following article is written pretty tongue-in-cheek and is based wholly on my experiences in the past week with my American friends who have an interest in Asia that have been funny enough to merit a blog post. Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program is designated as the National Resource Centre by the United States Department of Education for 2006-2010. This is a huge accolade because alot of renowned professors are stationed in our department and we have a disproportionately large Asian library and faculty to our small department size. Also, therefore, it’s no surprise that alot of Cornellians do enroll in Southeast Asian classes and learn about our little red dot and our neighbors. I find it especially amusing how the information is actually processed.

Scenario 1:

Upon finding out that I am an only child

Friend 1: Oh, is it because of Singapore’s One Child policy??

Me: *Raises eyebrows. Awkward silence ensues.*

Friend 2: *pokes Friend 1* BRITTANYYY! It’s China that has a one child policy!

Friend 1: OH, THAT’S RIGHT! hahahahahaha

Actually, my friend 1 could have actually predicted the impending doom of Singapore’s social make-up. It really does seem like a one-child policy, with Singapore ranking #215 in the births/1000. And, also, how many countries are there in the world? 215? Just joking, but seriously, by the looks of it – we do have an implicit, self-imposed 1-child policy thing going on. Maybe we really are a mini-China.

Scenario 2:

F2: So like in our Southeast Asian class, they showed us videos on propaganda. Don’t you guys have this national song called…One Nation, One People or something?

Me: One People, One Nation, One Singapore?

F2: Yea, that’s that! Isn’t it like your national song?

Me: Oh, no no. There are different songs created for our independence day. Kind of like your 4th of July.

F2: Ohhh. Well, yea we watched the music video and man they were all holding hands and stuff. So patriotic! Do you guys really believe in what you sing?

Me: Erm, no. I don’t think anyone really believes in the song per se but I mean, it’s tradition. Kind of like ACES day in Singapore. It’s an abbreviation for All Children Exercising Simultaneously day. (ey, I’m serious. I don’t think alot of Singaporeans actually know that ACES day means that. SUPER funny.)

F1 & 2: ……

I searched for National Day Song and this image came up. Hm.

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