The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page – Saint Augustine

My recent trip in Singapore has opened up new perspectives on how man should be able to live in harmony with its environment. Sadly, I could not help but compare the Lion City to my beloved hometown Manila. Though Singapore is a model city that is extremely impressive, the Philippines would be far more superior only if things could change drastically.

Marina Bay Sands was billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including the land cost

Since it was my first time in Singapore I had a few impressions. First, the world class city  was very interactive. It felt as if the city was speaking to you. Wherever you go, there are signages on what you are supposed to do and not supposed to do. It seemed that the city itself had its eyes on you, seeing your every move and hearing your every word. It’s perfect keeping citizens and tourists behave properly but at times all the information seem to have a brainwashing effect. Commercialism is so blatant that everywhere you go it gives a feeling that I have to work my ass off to purchase a thousand worth of Bvlgari jewelry and flaunt it to my colleagues. It was as if these ads were meant to make a slave out of them and give a desire to cope with the materialistic social standards.  Same goes here in the Philippines, our city talks trash. Literally. Signages are more of a nuisance. They are more like: masabi lang.  Some are mere guidelines especially in traffic signs, they are more of you either follow it or not, its up to you. Filipinos are so complacent that people seem to be above the law and that the rules they abide is based on their own preferences. Walang paggalang sa rules and regulations. Worse, walang pagalang sa kapwa at sa sarili.

Chilling in the hotel room with a glass of Jim Beam Bourbon. OWWWWWWWW!

Second impression was that Singapore has an excellent urban planning. The train system was very convenient unlike the traffic situation in Manila where you always have to be aware of painstaking traffic situations. It was a breeze travelling in Singapore going from point A to point B. I felt envious that their transport system was so efficient that it gives more time for productivity. On the other hand, our transport system in the Philippines is like a survival of the fittest of sorts. Pinagtitiisan natin ang pawis, pagod at hirap makasakay and this should not be the case. Paano na lang ang mga pagal na magulang na nais pang bigyan ng oras ang kanilang mga anak? Paano na lang yung estudyanteng gustong makauwi at makapagaral pa ng husto sa bahay?   Paano na lang ang mga trabahador na pagod na sa pagbubuhat pero pasasabitin mo pa sa halos di umuusad na dyip? Ok lang sa inyo na ganito?

The SkyPark on top of Marina Bay Sand has the world’s longest elevated swimming pool

Third impression of Singapore: it is a disciplined city. People prioritize senior citizens. They don’t litter. And best of all they are very considerate. One thing I noticed though, most people are so much into their daily routine that some seem to behave like robots. They just swipe their cards on the train look straight, see their phones and they don’t mind anything else. On the contrary, here in the Philippines, people here have so much time to check out women on trains and buses. They would even go as far as cat calling. They also spend time going with friends to buy fishball and kwek-kwek in a street corner for meryenda. Which for me is very cool but at times the merrymaking gets to much that we Filipinos tend to forget about our priorities. Back in Singapore they seem to be zoned out of what they are doing that it looks like people aren’t living in the present whilst pinoys are too much in the present not caring for the future.

singapore merlion
Its name combines “mer”, meaning the sea, and “lion”. The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name—Singapura—meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”.

My observations in Singapore lead me to the conclusion that Filipinos should develop respect in their own country. All of us has noticed that we generally obey rules outside our country (even in Subic) so why can’t we do it in our own? Ibig sabihin ba nito ay nirerespeto natin ang awtoridad sa ibang bansa at dito kebs ka lang? Bigyan naman natin ng dangal ang ating bansa dahil kung ganito man ang sitwasyon wala rin dangal ang taong naninirahan dito. I think that the issue of colonial mentality among us has also lead to the idea that if we are on a different land we have to obey them because they are superior and when I am in my home its ok to be self-assured. Bakit hindi na lang tayo sumunod sa batas? Kasi pakiramdam mo naiisahan ka. Pakiramdam mo inaapi ka. Sa ibang bansa susunod tayo kasi banyaga sila eh, ok lang na sumunod. Bakit kapag kapwa Pilipino tayo-tayo ayaw natin pakingan ang isa’t-isa. Lahat pagdududahan natin. Let’s stop this egotistic attitude and give our respect to our country and countrymen! Much of all the things that we are encountering now are more on our psychological upbringing as Filipinos. The age old issue of crab mentality. Lahat aawayin mo just to feel you are above others. Ngayon, hangat hindi tayo magising na ang pagbabago ang magmumula sa ating sarili ang Perlas ng Silangan ay magiging basura ng silangan na lamang.

sentos singapore
It felt like I was in a real RPG game when we went to Sentosa

The Philippines can be so much more. Kung bibigyan lamang natin ng respeto ang ating sarili, ang ating kapwa at ang ating bansa mahihigitan pa natin sila. I have discerned that everything should comes from within ourselves. If there is no conscious effort to change then this society will stay as it is.  Sabi ko nga lahat tayo kapag nakakapunta sa ibang bansa nasasambit natin na: sana ganito din sa Pilipinas. Ang sabi ko, sana ang mga pangarap na ito ay hindi hangang pangarap na lang, sana kilusan din natin. Huwag natin tiisin kilusan natin. Tama na ang Juan Dela Cruz na underdog at sabihin natin na kaya din natin! Bigyan natin ng dangal ang ating sarili para ang dangal ng bayan ay muli rin manumbalik!

singapore china town
We stopped by at China town to buy some pasalubong

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