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Common Wealth

They're showing re-runs of Commonwealth Games table-tennis matches on the telly. After all the hulaballoo about our paddlers not being Singaporean by birth, it is interesting to note that the Commonwealth table-tennis tournament looked like a mini-Chinatown. Singapore isn't the only one "importing" foreign talent when it comes to sports. The whole world is in on it.
Which brings me to question the idea of a birth-home, and whether it is fast becoming an obsolete idea.
Back a few hundred years you were likely to live and die in the place you were born. Then there were ships, and people migrated. It wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap. We weren't that distant from the pre-travel era, and the idea of the birth-home was still a strong one.
Now in a time when air travel is almost as ubiquitous as that on land, people move all the time. You don't even need a very compelling reason to move. My sister, who's tired of Tucson, is thinking of moving to another city. Truth be told, if air travel were cheaper and immigration laws less a pain in the behind, many of us would have moved out of the country in which we live.
Being born in a place means nothing to me. It probably means nothing to you. My memories of Tucson are every bit as real and precious as my memories of my childhood in Singapore. You cannot tell me to stay in Singapore because I was born here, or because this is the place I grew up. You need to convince me, and the many like me, that Singapore is an idea I can believe in.
If you're selling Singapore as a good place to stay because we can make money here, we're out when the tide changes. This National Day, I hope for hope. I'm tired of being battered into submission. I'm still disgruntled about the government building <strong>two</strong> casinos despite most Singaporeans not wanting any, as if to spite us. I don't want to be kept in the dark, or be thought of as too stupid to handle the truth. Why no one has given us an account of what's happening with Temasek's investment in Shin Corp is beyond me. I'm no economist, but I'm pretty sure the stock arrow is pointing south.
Like sports and the table-tennis tournament, citizenship and nationality is fast becoming a choice, not an involuntary birthright.

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