What PRC youths think about Singapore

Most of us would have heard a lot of Singaporean comments about PRCs. Some are good butthey are mostly bad. Then how do PRCs view Singapore and Singaporeans? Do they like us or do they hate us?

Zaobao carried a commentary by Wang Tian, Editor of the International News Department, People’s Daily. She did a poll of 50 youths from 20 to 35 years old. Although the number of youths polled is small, it’s interesting to note the comments made by some of them.

The author mentioned the usual good traits about Singapore being a highly developed nation with good universities and Singaporeans being hardworking and bilingual. However, there are a few criticisms about us which I think are worth examining.

Apparently, Chinese youths feel that Singaporeans are:

1. Boring and non-romantic. Okay, granted we are definitely not the most interesting people around. It could also mean we are non-threatening, right?

2. Racially harmonious but lacking in compassion and human touch (to be exact). I seriously do not think we lack compassion as a society e.g. think about the case where people came together to help raise a truck up to save a man from being crushed. I guess our lack in compassion could be due to us being boring? We’re not warm but surely we don’t lack compassion completely?

3. Singapore youths have a sense of superiority, they are “bananas”. This I’ve to agree to a certain extent. Remember how we like to put down migrants or foreign workers from our neighbouring countries and yes, the PRCs. We call them loud and uncouth. If this is not feeling morally superior, then what do you term it? Bananas… I’m not sure. We do speak English but do we behave like the Westerners? Probably not. Behave like PRCs? Also not. We are just being ourselves, ie Singaporeans.

4. Singapore is pro-West to the extent that it’s anti-China. This is so not true. I’m not a foreign policy expert but I can see the amount of economic cooperation that we share with China. We’re China’s biggest foreign direct investor, going by this single mammoth fact how can we be even construed as going against China?

After examining these comments, you may think they are just subjective. I mean, ultimately who cares if people call us boring and unromantic. However, the writer made an important point. These are the opinions of PRC youths and they will be the next generation who shall shape China’s future.These youths are filled with hopes and unlike the previous generation, they are internationally connected which makes them more informed. These youths also made a point which we should worry – they feel that Singapore has lost its influence over China and we will no longer share a special relationship with China.

So what should we do? The writer has some suggestions which include Singapore should continue to abide by its principles but should not pivot excessively to one side (I guess in this case, the writer means we should not be overly pro-U.S.). We should also improve our communications with China.

Oh well, the suggestion still seems very general and it’s always the details that matter. Like I said, while I’m not a foreign policy expert the rise of China is obvious to everyone. Since these PRC youths will dominate the future landscape of China, I’ll certainly wish to take a second look at what they think of us.

This post was first published over at Thoughts of Real Singaporeans on 31 July 2017. It is reproduced with permission.


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