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National Pride – Singapore style

I don’t do winter in Europe (a bit too cold for my liking, especially the forecast for winter 2013/14), so I booked my usual November ticket back to Penang, Malaysia and headed home.

The middle seat in rear economy on an A380 is actually a pretty comfortable ride and comes with a full catalogue of movies to watch on the in seat TV as well as power supply to recharge my two laptops and my Kindle, so I was tired, but not crippled 12½-hours later when I disembarked at Singapore’s Changi airport.

Now a lot of people have some funny ideas about Singapore, some viewing it as a capitalist paradise on earth, others as an autocratic totalitarian state, the truth (as usual) is somewhere in the middle and changing. Certainly the congestion caused by the never-ending construction of the Singapore MRT is a sign of purpose, but also very frustrating for those who drive there.

Singapore - the rise and rise of a modern city

Regardless of this, I had an interesting experience when I visited on Thursday morning, which says something about the character of the place.

I was sat in the T1 departures area abusing their free wifi, when I noticed a crocodile of kids go past (probably 5-7 year olds), led by their teacher. A few minutes later another gaggle of high school kids (around 12 year old) each of them being shown around the airport, about how it worked and about how it was very important to Singapore as the gateway to Asia.

Finally, I was very politely accosted by a group of giggling school kids (around 15-16) who were doing a survey of non-Singaporeans to see what people liked and didn’t like about Singapore and Changi airport in particular.  Afterwards they asked me to pose in a photo, so somewhere on some school wall this week there is probably a picture of John Galt looking bemused and surrounded by smiling teenagers. Let’s hope the Daily Mail doesn’t find out.

What the experienced demonstrated to me was that it doesn’t matter about who you are or where you come from, if you can manage to instil a certain amount of pride and optimism in your children, even about something as mundane as a visit to an airport, then you’re doing well.

Compared to the negativity of their peers in the UK, the difference was palpable.


  1. Julie near Chicago says:

    [I]f you can manage to instil a certain amount of pride and optimism in your children … then you’re doing well.

    Which is why it’s important for the Brits to remember the good Britain has given the world over the centuries, and to quit bashing the Americans … and for us Americans to learn to be proud of ourselves as a country again, despite our many mistakes, and to continue to honor Britain for all she has done.

    (And of course, regardless of political affairs, a healthy pride in himself is necessary to a healthy child. Not to mention, to a healthy adult.)

    Good posting, JG. :)

  2. John Galt says:

    One point that I keep making here, but will make again for the sake of it is that most of the problem us Brits have with “Americans” is not actually the people, but your government acting like a bunch of jackboot fascists in your name.

    We’ve got another storm brewing in the UK over a hacker being threatened with extradition by the US for activities solely carried out in the UK.

  3. Julie near Chicago says:

    I know, JG. It’s just that I think morale is very important — it’s difficult for individuals and countries to defend themselves when they lack moral self-confidence, and a sense of effectiveness too, and a sense that they aren’t pariahs and that others are pulling with them, especially when those others are like-minded, and are (they hope) friends.

    Americans should cheer for the British people and their history and traditions and values, LOUDLY, thus supporting the Brits who are less than enchanted with their government, and hopefully saving the civil societies and the sense of the importance of liberty of both countries. I’m sure that my non-American Anglospheric friends here and on Samizdata (and even one or two on the LA) would much rather I mostly supported them (never mind their governments) genuinely and publically, as opposed to spending my bandwidth reaming out “the Brits” or “the Canucks” or “the Aussies,” etc., en masse.

    So I would hope that the others in the Anglosphere also see the importance of mutual support.

    Also, I meant what I said — we Americans need to learn to stick up for ourselves again, and I have railed and lectured about this at some length on Individual-Sovereignty Yahoo group, and elsewhere. And the same goes for the Brits, and so on. I mean this in the sense of fighting the Left and the Islamics, who would like to destroy our sense of self-respect and of efficaciousness. (See the Yuri Bezmenov videos I posted a couple of days ago in a comment on Samizdata.) And the same is true of you guys, although I honestly don’t know whether you’ve been attacked as viciously in that particular way as we have. I just sort of take it for granted that you have. :>)

    Anyway, I assure you that we are just as upset with our “government” (I do not in fact recognize it as a legitimate government, or at least not the current putative Executive branch) as you are. So, “don’t feel like the Lone Ranger”!

    And I am very upset with most of our “libertarian” legal professoriate, by the way. *SNARL*

    It was still a good posting, and upbeat. Made a good point, and I wish I hadn’t spoiled the mood.


  4. Flaxen Saxon says:

    Hear, hear, Julie. But you forgot to mention New Zealand. Have a heart for expat Englishmen in exile who have deserted their native land to live elsewhere. Hail Nuzzyland and hail the free world. Lefty, hand wringing commie bastards can bugger orf. As for Islam- don’t get me going, yet. Me, I’d burn the lot in one big conflagration, and dance. But not to George Michael songs. I like Katie Perry. Sadly I watch all her vids with the sound turned down.

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