Over a cup of tea


This issue of Newzzit is a multifaceted one. We have stories related to law, history, foreign policy, higher education, and gender inside. There is also a photo-essay about Vietnam, which its citizens proudly call as “the last power to beat a super-power”.

Hope you enjoy the read. But before you go any further, let me share an anecdote.

Some of my friends went to Hong Kong few years ago. On returning, they were full of praise for the “character” of that city. “Hong Kong has so much character, so many distinctive features, so full of life. Compared to that, Singapore is so bland, so boring. There is no character here,” one friend told me.

I never quite understood what that meant until I myself got a chance to visit Hong Kong last year.

Though I experienced the same thing, my inferences were very different from my friends and I came to appreciate Singapore's “blandness” so much more.

Yes, Hong Kong has a “character”, a uniquely “Chinese character”. Wherever you go, that distinctly Chinese identity is evident, clearly visible.

Contrarily, in Singapore, in-spite of it also being a Chinese-majority state like Hong Kong, we don't see that. The other three races – Malays, Indians, and Eurasians, all feel comfortable in calling Singapore their home.

It's a wonderful achievement. After the tensions experienced in 1960s, all institutions and the people of Singapore have worked together and must be hailed for this.

Of course, it's a work in progress and much more needs to be done as we have reported in our earlier issues. But the intentions have been noble. The nation is young and one day hopefully it will develop its own unique “Singaporean character”.

And till this happens, even if Singapore remains “bland” or “without any character”, so be it.

Till November 16th!