Hello, Ms. Eberlein,
I read the post about “
When I am overseas I am sometimes mistaken for a Chinese national but I am actually Singaporean Chinese. My family migrated to
Reading your entries, I feel that you still care very much about your homeland though you are an American citizen. May I know how you see yourself? For overseas Chinese whose family did not undergo the Communist period and is unfamiliar with life under the CCP, mainland
The government has banned all Chinese regional languages in the mass media in the hope of encouraging us to speak putonghua for business purposes. Since there was a lot of regional rivalry between different groups of Chinese in the past, this does have an effect of uniting the local Chinese community but I feel we are slowly losing our identities.
When I was growing up in 80s Singapore, the country was becoming a first world country and there was a sense of optimism and hope in the air. I literally witnessed tall buildings going up and I feel that there was a real sense of togetherness in those days amongst all Singaporeans. Since we were a brand new nation with a heterogeneous population composed of immigrants, the government tried very hard in schools to instill a sense of national identity. I believe that a Singaporean identity would have coalesced naturally but as I grew older, I realize that government policies have consistently led to its erosion.
I feel totally alienated from Singapore nowadays and so do many Singaporeans. As you may know, Singapore has a one-party rule system. As an ordinary Singaporean, I have no say in the way Singapore is run. The wealth gap is growing, we have no labor laws that protect employees and no social safety net. The people who run this country are paid high salaries but the economy is going down the drain. As a result stress levels are ever-increasing and growing numbers of Singaporeans are migrating. Singapore society is becoming increasingly more fragmented and true Singaporean culture is allowed no room to grow.
As such, I’m considering migrating overseas.
If I do succeed in becoming say, a New Zealand citizen, what should I call myself? A Singaporean New Zealander, Chinese New Zealander or just plain New Zealander??? Although I have never been to
So what am I? Someone totally adrift without any homeland, roots or culture? If I do go to a new country as an adult, I think I am too old to ever assimilate totally. Especially since I am a visible minority
Sorry for such a long letter but I liked your blog entries and can see that you are a thoughtful and intelligent person and wanted to hear your opinion about foreign-born Chinese. I am too embarrassed to discuss this with my best friend though she is aware that I hope to migrate. I have talked to many foreign-born Chinese from all over the world and a lot of us are quite confused about our identities. When we watched the 2008 Olympics, we were uncertain whether we should feel proud of
Postscript: After reading the letter, I asked about Singapore's political censorship. Drifting Leaf answered:
"In Singapore, there are 3 big taboos: race, religion and politics that no one dares to talk about.
"The internet in Singapore is also censored somewhat but not as comprehensively and severely as in China.
"Singapore has gotten into rows with China a couple of times by the way. Once, it was over our unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Plus, we are too close to the US.