Gong Xi Fa Cai (and a bag of concerns)

The PM gave his usual Chinese New Year message this week, touching on a myriad of issues facing the nation whilst emphasizing the need for Singaporeans to “hold on to core values amid changes”.

Reaction from the ground? You can catch a glimpse of some netizen forum reactions here. Needless to say, the comments are generally less than pleasant. One such from a forum user is especially scathing:

“Time and again the way laughs makes me sick. What is there for S’poreans to hold on to? Misery, depression (emotional and economical), anxiety and breathlessness. Utter rubbish. Poor S’poreans, wake up. Are you all happy? No New Year’s day,to celebrate for most..”

Not surprisingly, PM Lee’s message also included a statement attempting to address local concerns about the influx of immigrants. The one phrase that has drawn most attention is arguably his assurance that the government will “only select those who can add value to Singapore”.

Again, reactions from the virtual ground can be found at another forum here. No prizes for guessing the attitude of most responses. Mr. Brown even sort of dedicated a merrily sarcastic podcast in response to the New Year message.

Firstly, what is your own response to PM Lee’s message? Do you agree with his views? Why?

Secondly, do you think such negative online reactions are really representative of our citizenry’s general sentiments? Why? (think about the medium i.e. the internet)


Do you think our Lunar New Year traditions are slowly fading out together with the quiet exit of our older generation? This article from 2008 looked at how young Singaporeans were increasingly choosing to forgo many of the new year customs and practices due to a “generation gap”.  Does the same apply this year?

Along a similar vein, an ST journalist mused in the papers today how

The devolution of the Chinese New Year celebration is not a national phenomenon. There are many for whom the period is still a joyous melee of family, bak kwa and gambling.But everywhere I look, there are many who opt out, in their own way and for their own reasons: To travel or to dodge the same probing questions about their personal life year after year.Then there are those who have simply grown out of their traditions.There is little room for sentimentalism in a country in constant flux. Traditions inevitably die out as those most committed to upholding them do…

Why do you think younger Singaporeans are increasingly choosing to ‘opt out’ of traditional Lunar New Year practices?

Do you think most really reject such traditions or are they simply negotiating the old and new?

Is this something we should be concerned about?


One thought on “Gong Xi Fa Cai (and a bag of concerns)

  1. Firstly, PM Lee’s remarks in his Lunar New Year’s speech
    reveals an immigrant policy, where regardless of nationality,
    people who can contribute more to Singapore’s economy would be
    favoured. This might anger some locals who might feel that their
    rights, of being Singapore citizens, are not protected as they
    might be at the losing end when competing with foreigners for jobs
    that should have been their own. Hence, I cannot agree with his
    comment, because I feel that a country’s government has a
    responsibility to look after its citizens. However, Singaporeans
    should not rest on their laurels too. They have to work hard to be
    as commpetitive as foreigners to ensure fair competition. Singapore
    is after all, an immigrant society.

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