Singaporean have it good but do we appreciate what we have? Here’s what we can learn from the people in Bangkok based on my 5 days 4-night trip there.
As humans, we often take what we have for granted and always yearn for better things or more things. Being in a first world country, this is one of the problems. In Singapore, we often complain about everything. We complain and make a big fuss out of a small issue, the internet is flooded with netizens expressing their own opinions. I don’t deny that it is good to voice out issues. But I do not agree with certain comments which people post inconsiderately. As a Singaporean, I realised we take a lot of things for granted, one of which is our multi-racial society. Now, I witness online people of different races fighting and being unable to agree with one another, I hear of people discriminating races. It’s not fair. Other things we actually take for granted of is our environment.
I was in Bangkok for a family holiday from the period of 17 June to 21 June 2016. It is a family habit to travel so as to experience the other lifestyles of people around the world. I went to several places, such as temples, the Grand Palaces, shopping areas, basically, many shopping places.
What are the differences between Singapore and Bangkok?
To start off, Bangkok is not as developed as Singapore. Although the city consists skyscrapers, some area still looks pretty run down. Electric cables still hang above the ground, the area is dirty and not as clean as Singapore. I have never been so happy to find a rubbish bin to dispose of my things until I went to Bangkok. Honestly, Bangkok can be a really nice place to be.
Because of the cultural differences, the people there are much more friendly, but some are rather shy as well. But usually, they are very approachable people. In Singapore, you might face very cold and hostile people. Maybe it’s because of the fast paced life we have, no one has time to be patient.
In Singapore, some very inconsiderate train or bus commuters would not move in for space, however, I noticed on the their “MRT” trains they would move in automatically. Buddhism is a highly respected religion in Thailand. In trains, they actually have reserved seats for monks. Whereas in Singapore, you would not see such priorities. I believe this is a simple culture and country differences. 93% of the citizens are Buddhist, that is perhaps the reason why they could set such priority for monks. In Singapore, we have a wide range of religions, such as Muslims, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Catholic and many other religion. We have different infrastructures for all these different religions. Whereas in Thailand, you would hardly see mosques, very little churches but a lot of Temples.
Another thing I would want to bring up is the drainage systems. The drainage systems back home are really good. Think about it, we have canals, good drainage systems so we won’t experience floods. In Thailand, when it rains, the roads would flood. Even in peak periods when traffic extremely busy, people don’t complain or jam up the area. Instead, they continue driving with care and ignore the flood. In Singapore, we complain and jam up the traffic. Orchard Road floods were made huge, so many complaints and unhappiness. To counter my statement, some may say it’s because things there are cheaper and more affordable, when the car is spoiled, they can get a new one. Yes, of course, living standards there might be cheap. But it only applies to us tourist going there. What they earn and what we earn cannot be compared. Some may say, of course, we’d make a big fuss, our cars and everything else are so expensive, that’s why they feel unhappy at the damages. But then again, our government would definitely do something about such problem as soon as possible. In Singapore, we could embrace certain road closures for awhile to solve the problem, however, in Bangkok, it is too busy for any closures at all. My driver shared that traffic jams can last up to hours! I would definitely not have the patience to wait for hours to get out of the jam.
Speaking of traffic, the traffic in Bangkok is very very chaotic. As a pedestrian, I have to muster lots of courage to cross the road. When I was there, the traffic was non-stop. To me, the traffic system was weird, sometimes at the red light, some lanes are still moving. Crossing the road there could probably give me anxiety because I honestly didn’t know how to get across without my family’s help. Maybe, I experience such difficulty because I’m a tourist. The people there would know how their road systems are like. But usually, I don’t feel safe crossing the road. However, back here in Singapore, I could cross the road with ease. Usually, I can use my phone while crossing the road (though it is still very dangerous) or I don’t have to get any panic attack before crossing the road. In Singapore, we cross with so much ease, and I’m grateful for that.
The children there are very hardworking as well, often, they would find their parents after school to help out at the stall or with their job. I feel that this is very sensible of them. And they should know that their parents are working really hard to provide them with education, and all basic life necessities. Look at our local kids, each of them has a smartphone or a tablet, all being so thoroughly pampered and some even play truant and not appreciate the things provided by their parents.
I find that people there are much easier going and are very adaptive to situations. They are people who know how to appreciate and respect as well. They are able to adapt to certain situations, move on with life. And the people there clearly knows how to appreciate what they have because of poverty. They are struggling to make a living every day, the stall vendors would keep thanking you and wish you well if you bought their goods. And they are people with respect because they really respect their culture a lot. I’m not implying that we as Singaporeans don’t possess any of such traits. But I feel that we should learn to be more appreciative and understanding. We wouldn’t know what we use to have until we lose it. Start appreciating before it’s too late. I believe most of our parents are working really hard to save up for us. They are doing their very best to give us what we want. So in return, we should be more filial and sensible. At the moment the only thing we can contribute is to be more understanding and study hard, give them the results they hope for after so much investments in us.
In conclusion, we can learn how to be more adaptive, appreciative and respectful. Never stop being thankful for what we have.