Travel vlogger Nas Daily’s video declaring Singapore as a nearly perfect country has drawn lively debate from both sides of the fence. Detractors have labelled his video as one sided and questioned why the red carpet was rolled out for him. In particular, many were quick to wonder loudly online why he had the opportunity to meet our Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong.
Indeed, some have even questioned the authenticity of the video, wondering if he had been paid to promote Singapore by the Singapore government. While some have debunked this as a conspiracy theory, I note that it is not uncommon for influencers or public figures to be paid to promote certain things. Is this the case here? Maybe and maybe not. But definitely not impossible.
A certain Mr Jeffrey Lautan has shared Nas Daily’s video on Facebook with an accompanying post implying that critics of Daily’s video had a problem with their “mindsets, habits and characters”. While I agree to a certain extent with his sentiment that no country or government in the world is perfect and that people (not governments) are fundamentally responsible for their own lives, I have to disagree that just because you have criticisms of the current government does not necessarily mean that you have a problem.
In making this assertion, Lautan has assumed that there is an even playing field in Singapore. While the government has banged on about meritocracy, there can be no meritocracy without equality and this is where we seem to be having a disconnect between the haves and the have nots. In holding the government to constant account on the issue of equality does not make one a miserable individual. Rather, it makes one responsible. Being grateful for what we have and seeing areas for improvement are not mutually exclusive which seems to be the view that Lautan has taken.
In his post, Lautan has also made comparisons between complaining Singaporeans and friends of his who live in “really terrible countries” but yet “make the best of it”. I don’t think this is a fair or accurate comparison. You cannot compare a first world country with a third world one.
While a third world country may give one perspective, it would be naive to think that the expectations of citizens in first world countries and those of third world countries are the same. For example, if you are a tourist in a first world country like the USA, you would expect flushing toilets and good sanitation while if you are hiking in the mountains of Nepal, you will not expect golden flushing loos. In other words, you have to compare like for like.
Singapore is a first world country. We, therefore, compare it with other first world countries as opposed to other “really terrible countries”.
Lautan ended off his post with asking Singaporeans to try living overseas if they really are that miserable. While I take his point that living overseas will give Singaporeans perspective, he has assumed inaccurately that Singaporean crybabies would be shocked without the creature comforts such as efficiency afforded by Singapore. It may well be that some Singaporeans may prefer the social and civil rights another country may have over the internet installation man coming at exactly 9 am.
Also, what’s wrong with wanting your country to be the best it can be? Why do you have to leave just because you aren’t 100 per cent. happy? Can’t you stay and make it better? Speaking out is the first step of making things better and I would like to think that some of those who have criticised Daily’s video are doing so in the hopes of improving the country. Not just complaining for the sake of it which again seems to be what Lautan has assumed.