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Thread: Singapore a Great Nation....

  1. #121

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    This is why I value true life experiences rather than reading from books and try to interpolate everythings from there.
    I too stayed with an Isreali, they are very determined and perseverance people.
    I asked him, ain't you afriad of the situation and do you really want to go back after your study?
    He told me, Yes, he is going back to the great land and he is not afraid becasue he is surrounded by many brave Isreali. That is when I know Isreal will not fall.
    The idea of greatness has to be defined, but in view of the lack of definition of that term in this thread, I'll follow my own view which is that

    Greatness goes beyond economic reasoning, and touches on human ideals. (ultimately money is a means to an end)

    This is why people love sports, sports is the closest thing we have in the modern day to ideals of honour and fair play and courage and strength and determination and skill.

    The nations that I feel are great give me that sense based on the spirit of the people of those country, like the hopeful determination of the Americans, the Israelis, the humanitarian spirit of the Norwegians,the geniality of the Thais, and a few other countries...great in different ways and aspects.

    So Singapore has alot of achievements but the sense of greatness is not something that is so easily quantifiable, and to me is more of a reflection of the overall sensibility of the general population rather than the achievements of a select group of people.

    That is why I do not see China as a great nation now, as it seems to lack the goodness of human spirit at this point.
    Singapore has a long way to go too but we're still young!
    Last edited by mattlock; 18th November 2008 at 12:52 AM.

  2. #122
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    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    if you ppl need another break, just let me know

  3. #123

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    The idea of greatness has to be defined, but in view of the lack of definition of that term in this thread, I'll follow my own view which is that

    Greatness goes beyond economic reasoning, and touches on human ideals. (ultimately money is a means to an end)

    This is why people love sports, sports is the closest thing we have in the modern day to ideals of honour and fair play and courage and strength and determination and skill.

    The nations that I feel are great give me that sense based on the spirit of the people of those country, like the hopeful determination of the Americans, the Israelis, the humanitarian spirit of the Norwegians,the geniality of the Thais, and a few other countries...great in different ways and aspects.

    So Singapore has alot of achievements but the sense of greatness is not something that is so easily quantifiable, and to me is more of a reflection of the overall sensibility of the general population rather than the achievements of a select group of people.

    That is why I do not see China as a great nation now, as it seems to lack the goodness of human spirit at this point.
    Singapore has a long way to go too but we're still young!

    Very good points.
    And that is why I say, Singapore in the early days was a great nation, although she is poor and has nothing at that time. A great nation is about the people, the poeple who made their dreams come true. And the irony is alot of them is collecting plates and cleaning tables in the hawer centres today.
    Last edited by Silence Sky; 18th November 2008 at 01:05 AM.

  4. #124

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    Very good points.
    And that is why I say, Singapore in the early days was a great nation, although she is poor and has nothing at that time. A great nation is about the people, the poeple who made their dreams come true. And the irony is alot of them is collecting plates and cleaning tables in the hawer centres today.
    Totally agree with you on this

  5. #125

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    The idea of greatness has to be defined, but in view of the lack of definition of that term in this thread, I'll follow my own view which is that

    Greatness goes beyond economic reasoning, and touches on human ideals. (ultimately money is a means to an end)

    This is why people love sports, sports is the closest thing we have in the modern day to ideals of honour and fair play and courage and strength and determination and skill.

    The nations that I feel are great give me that sense based on the spirit of the people of those country, like the hopeful determination of the Americans, the Israelis, the humanitarian spirit of the Norwegians,the geniality of the Thais, and a few other countries...great in different ways and aspects.

    So Singapore has alot of achievements but the sense of greatness is not something that is so easily quantifiable, and to me is more of a reflection of the overall sensibility of the general population rather than the achievements of a select group of people.

    That is why I do not see China as a great nation now, as it seems to lack the goodness of human spirit at this point.
    Singapore has a long way to go too but we're still young!
    IMHO, saying China lacks the goodness of the human spirit is perhaps an over-generalisation. Surely it is difficult to judge the overall sensibility of a country of more than 1.3b people? I feel the generalisation comes from personal experience (good or bad) with people you deal with in each country. For every schmuk that I've experienced dealing with in China, I can probably name an equivalent in say the US, S'pore or Europe.

    Just my 2cts.

  6. #126

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by knoxknocks View Post
    IMHO, saying China lacks the goodness of the human spirit is perhaps an over-generalisation. Surely it is difficult to judge the overall sensibility of a country of more than 1.3b people? I feel the generalisation comes from personal experience (good or bad) with people you deal with in each country. For every schmuk that I've experienced dealing with in China, I can probably name an equivalent in say the US, S'pore or Europe.

    Just my 2cts.
    Yup it is an over-generalisation. All opinions expressed are fully personal, and should not be taken as more than that.

    It's interesting for me to note that one of the times I felt really proud to be of Chinese heritage was watching Hero. that something so beautiful and Asian could be made by a Chinese made me very happy...

    Other times I'm proud to call myself a Singaporean first and foremost, with Chinese blood.
    Last edited by mattlock; 18th November 2008 at 01:26 AM.

  7. #127

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    Yup it is an over-generalisation. All opinions expressed are fully personal, and should not be taken as more than that.
    none taken

  8. #128

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    Yup it is an over-generalisation. All opinions expressed are fully personal, and should not be taken as more than that.

    It's interesting for me to note that one of the times I felt really proud to be of Chinese heritage was watching Hero. that something so beautiful and Asian could be made by a Chinese made me very happy...

    Other times I'm proud to call myself a Singaporean first and foremost, with Chinese blood.
    how about the olympics?

    i am always perturbed when people tend to bring up nothing other than tiananmen (not referring to you, btw) when they talk about china, if they are anti-china. certainly it's a stain, and a horrific event, but no (relatively) older nation doesn't have anything like that somewhere in the closet.

  9. #129

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    how about the olympics?

    i am always perturbed when people tend to bring up nothing other than tiananmen (not referring to you, btw) when they talk about china, if they are anti-china. certainly it's a stain, and a horrific event, but no (relatively) older nation doesn't have anything like that somewhere in the closet.
    I didn't think much of the Olympics. I think that large displays of government choreographed events never really hit home with me.Anyone with a ton of money can create something massive (and sterile).
    The very fact that they were preventing locals from going to watch the Olympics struck me as curiously disrespectful of their own people.
    Ironically it was staged by the same guy behind Hero, Zhang Yimou.

    I think one extremely important part of what makes a nation great is the cultural strength of a country.
    I used to do African dance and Haitian dance and have been always tremendously impressed by the deep respect the teachers and practitioners have for the culture and the tradition.

    China has a great history but Modern China destroyed a lot with the Cultural Revolution and has done itself no favours since then.
    When I think of China I think of intellectual piracy.heh.

  10. #130

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    I didn't think much of the Olympics. I think that large displays of government choreographed events never really hit home with me.Anyone with a ton of money can create something massive (and sterile).
    The very fact that they were preventing locals from going to watch the Olympics struck me as curiously disrespectful of their own people.
    Ironically it was staged by the same guy behind Hero, Zhang Yimou.

    I think one extremely important part of what makes a nation great is the cultural strength of a country.
    I used to do African dance and Haitian dance and have been always tremendously impressed by the deep respect the teachers and practitioners have for the culture and the tradition.

    China has a great history but Modern China destroyed a lot with the Cultural Revolution and has done itself no favours since then.
    When I think of China I think of intellectual piracy.heh.
    hee hee, yes, the displays were done by zhang yimou, which is why i brought it up.

    i think china in ancient times could be considered a great nation in many sense of the word.

    i think, personally, that as a 40+ year old nation, we are really trying too hard when we talk about culture, and identity and all that. in terms of nation age, we are literally babies - if you ask a baby who he is, can he tell you anything?

    also - what do you think of switzerland, would you call it great in any sense of the word?

  11. #131

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    hee hee, yes, the displays were done by zhang yimou, which is why i brought it up.

    i think china in ancient times could be considered a great nation in many sense of the word.

    i think, personally, that as a 40+ year old nation, we are really trying too hard when we talk about culture, and identity and all that. in terms of nation age, we are literally babies - if you ask a baby who he is, can he tell you anything?

    also - what do you think of switzerland, would you call it great in any sense of the word?
    everyone searches for their identity.
    There is nothing wrong in that, and we should encourage that. But rather than comparing to other countries we should try to see what's already existing that is worth celebrating.
    Thus people like Eric Khoo and Royston Tan are really wonderful for Singapore.

    I don't know enough about Switzerland to say anything about it.

    However like I mentioned before, by my own standards, I do not link how well a country's economy is to its "greatness".
    Same way how you judge a person not based on how much money he has, rather how much his character is worthy of admiration.

  12. #132

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    everyone searches for their identity.
    There is nothing wrong in that, and we should encourage that. But rather than comparing to other countries we should try to see what's already existing that is worth celebrating.
    Thus people like Eric Khoo and Royston Tan are really wonderful for Singapore.

    I don't know enough about Switzerland to say anything about it.

    However like I mentioned before, by my own standards, I do not link how well a country's economy is to its "greatness".
    Same way how you judge a person not based on how much money he has, rather how much his character is worthy of admiration.
    won't deny that - there are so many possible parameters in a person's mind to measure greatness. it is really a combination of many things, be it a country's historical past, strength of culture, unity, the odds it faces.. one's economy is but a faucet of the many things that constitute greatness.

    i personally prefer eric khoo to royston tan.

  13. #133

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Thank goodness azul has brought the thread back on track... It was a waste of time, not because no one defined "greatness", but because no one was willing to talk about greatness. It was just for arguing the same old issues of cpf, costs of living, etc. Those are perfectly fine topics to discuss, but are OT. So thank goodness it's less OT now.

    Thank goodness people are able to discuss nations- Israel, China, even Singapore if one wishes- in terms of their greatness or lack thereof.

    What makes a nation great? As mattlock said, not pure economic or military power. And I might add, not how many nobel peace prizes or olympic medals per se either.

    What makes a man great? It's not how much money he has, but what contributions he has made to his community, to society. It's about his generosity. It's about his ideas, how he changed the world with them, how he made a difference.

    Since a nation is nothing more than a collection of people living within a set of physical borders, I think we can measure the greatness of a nation in the same way. By the contributions they have made to the world, to mankind. And by their generosity, how their ideas have benefited the human race.

    Hence I brought up Israel. The greatness comes from their spirit. What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust, they bounced back. And even before the Holocaust, when they were persecuted in ancient history, they bounced back.

    They are survivors.

    But beyond just surviving, Israel is so creative, it's a holy land of technology, equal to Silicon Valley. Companies like ICQ came from Israel. And the influence of Jews in the world, in banking, in politics, is just amazing, considering how few of them there are. They certainly punch well above their weight, to use an expression of our former PM.

    Next, China. In history we learned of China's great inventions like gunpowder, we learned of how refined Chinese society and culture was during the Tang dynasty, etc. But I can't see any great contribution China made to the world, how it made the world a better place through its ideas. Perhaps the imperial examination system to select the best civil servants? But the reality is that political power remained under dynastic emperors, and it was always corruption or political intrigue that brought down the dynasties. Having the best and brightest ministers could not stop it.

    When I think of modern China, Mao basically returned China to the Dark Ages, and the current leadership is just old wine in new bottles. People are deprived of their freedoms, they can't read what they want, the great firewall of china shows that nothing has really changed. When I see how China bullies Taiwan, how China "liberated" Tibet, it makes me feel sad to be Chinese.

    Next, Great Britain. You know it's great because they are so convinced of their greatness they named their country so. But why is Britain great?

    Once it was a superpower, an empire upon which the sun never set. But that is no more. And anyway greatness is not about military power.

    I think Britain is great because of how it changed the world. The English language for one. It's what we use here, and it has made human communication much easier, made advances in science and technology much easier.

    Other things which make Britain great are regularly cited by our politicians. The English system of law and justice, not just the laws they left behind, but the principles themselves. Presumed innocence, right to a free and open trial, judicial independence.

    The political system itself-- the separation of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, even if it did not originate in Britain per se, is a legacy they left behind in the colonies, along with an honest and efficient civil service to support a country's progress.

    Next, the United States. I know America has a lot of enemies, and a lot of people hate America for what it has done (eg Iraq), hate its arrogance (eg lecturing other countries about human rights), etc.

    There are also people who point to America's problems- drugs, guns, crime, even the current financial crisis- as evidence of no-greatness or soon-to-be-lost greatness.

    But if you can look beyond these, I think you can see that America really lives up to its tagline as the "land of opportunity". Just last week a black man has been elected to the highest office in the land, something unimaginable as recently 40 years ago when there was still racial segregation. And we all know of the poor immigrants who have made it big in America, starting companies in their garages and then changing the world. While one should not belittle the ingenuity and hard work of these entrepreneurs, one should also realise it is the system which made it possible for them to succeed.

    America has also made great contributions to the world. Europe was a shattered land after WW2, America through the Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe.

    America did the same for Japan under the Occupation. Think about it! Rebuilding a country that had deceived and attacked you brutally at Pearl Harbor instead of asking for war reparations! Offering friendship and a security umbrella to an enemy. In fact, some Americans think the US was stupid to help Japan and create a competitor economy that threatened to overtake the US economy in the 70's.

    America has also been extremely generous apart from the huge amounts spent to reconstruct Europe and Japan after the war. Whenever there is any natural disaster, America always provides aid, from both government and non-governmental organisations. Americans are always one of the first on-site to provide disaster relief. And the Peace Corps and other such organisations are filled with Americans who really desire to help the world.

    The ideas that America stands for- freedom, liberty, human rights- have changed the world, and in my view, for the better. It's not wrong for people to aspire to be free, to have freedom of speech, religion, assembly and to enjoy free and fair elections.

    Americans' various scientific and business inventions and ideas, ranging from the telephone and the transistor, to business innovations such as MBO and Six Sigma, have revolutionised and changed the world. So too in the field of music, entertainment, sports, etc.

    America has made so much contributions to the world its greatness unquestioned. And I believe those who think its days of greatness are numbered due to the current financial crisis are ignoring how America has always bounced back. From the Depression. From the oil shocks and stagflation of the 70's. And even from its humiliation in the 80's in the wake of the Iranian hostage crisis, loss of influence and when it was the world's greatest debtor nation under threat of being overtaken by Japan as the world's largest economy.

    If a country has the right system and the right spirit, it will correct itself and bounce back, stronger and better than ever.

    As for Singapore, I will make no comments now, but I hope those who want to debate its greatness should look beyind erp or gst and truly evaluate whether singapore has done anything to be considered a great nation.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    everyone searches for their identity.
    There is nothing wrong in that, and we should encourage that. But rather than comparing to other countries we should try to see what's already existing that is worth celebrating.
    Thus people like Eric Khoo and Royston Tan are really wonderful for Singapore.

    I don't know enough about Switzerland to say anything about it.

    However like I mentioned before, by my own standards, I do not. link how well a country's economy is to its "greatness".
    Same way how you judge a person not based on how much money he has, rather how much his character is worthy of admiration.
    Last edited by waileong; 18th November 2008 at 11:00 AM.

  14. #134
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    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Thabk goodness azul has brought the thread back on track... It was a waste of time, not because no one defined "greatness", but because no one was willing to talk about greatness. It was just for arguing the same old issues of cpf, costs of living, etc. Those are perfectly fine topics to discuss, but are OT. So thank goodness it's less OT now.

    Thank goodness people are able to discuss nations- Israel, China, even Singapore if one wishes- in terms of their greatness or lack thereof.

    What makes a nation great? As mattlock said, not pure economic or military power. And I might add, not how many nobel peace prizes or olympic medals per se either.

    What makes a man great? It's not how much money he has, but what contributions he has made to his community, to society. It's about his generosity. It's about his ideas, how he changed the world with them, how he made a difference.

    Since a nation is nothing more than a collection of people living within a set of physical borders, I think we can measure the greatness of a nation in the same way. By the contributions they have made to the world, to mankind. And by their generosity, how their ideas have benefited the human race.

    Hence I brought up Israel. The greatness comes from their spirit. What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust. They bounced back. And even before the Holocaust. Even in ancient history, when they were persecuted. They bounced back.

    But beyond just surviving, Israel is so creative, it's a holy land of technology, equal to silicon valley. Companies like icq came from Israel. And the influence of Jews in the world, in politics, in banking, is just amazing, considering how few of them there are. They certainly punch well above their weight.

    Next, China. In history we learned of china's great inventions like gunpowder, we learned of how refined chinese society and culture was during the tang dynasty, etc. But I can't see any great contribution China made to the world, how it made the world a better place through its ideas. Perhaps the imperial examination system to select the best civil servants? But the reality is that political power remained under dynastic emperors, and it was always corruption or political intrigue that brought down the dynasties. Having the best and brightest ministers could not stop it.

    When I think of modern China, Mao basically returned China to the Dark Ages, and the current leadership is just old wine in new bottles. People are deprived of their freedoms, they can't read what they want, the great firewall of china shows that nothing has really changed. When I see how China bullies Taiwan, how China "liberated" Tibet, it makes me feel sad to be Chinese.

    Next, Great Britain. You know it's great because they are so convinced of their greatness they named their country so. But why is Britain great?

    Once it was a superpower, an empire upon which the sun never set. But that is no more. And anyway greatness is not about military power.

    I think Britain is great because of how it changed the world. The English language for one. It's what we use here, and it has made human communication much easier, made advances in science and technology much easier.

    Other things which make Britain great are regularly cited by our politicians. The system of law and justice, not just the laws they left behind, but the principles themselves. Presumed innocence, right to a free and open trial, judicial independence. And an honest and efficient civil service to support a country's progress.

    Next, the United States. I know America has a lot of enemies, and a lot of people hate America for what it has done (eg Iraq), hate its arrogance (eg lecturing other countries about human rights), etc.

    There are also people who point to america's problem- drugs, guns, crime, even the current financial crisis- as evidence of no-greatness.

    But if you can look beyond these, I think you can see that America really lives up to its tagline as the "land of opportunity". Just last week a black man has been elected to the highest office in the land, something unimaginable 40 years ago when there was still racial segregation. And we all know of the poor immigrants who have made it big in America, starting companies in their garages and then changing the world. While one should not belittle the ingenuity and hard work of these entrepreneurs, one should realise it is the system which made it possible for them to succeed.

    America has also made great contributions to the world. Europe was a shattered land after WW2, America through the Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe.

    America did the same for Japan under the Occupation. Think about it! Rebuilding a country that had deceived and attacked you brutally at Pearl Harbor instead of asking for war reparations! Offering friendship and a security umbrella to an enemy. In fact, some Americans think the US was stupid to help Japan and create a competitor economy that threatened to overcome the US economy in the 70's.

    America has also been extremely generous apart from the huge amounts spent to reconstruct Europe and Japan after the war. Whenevr there is any natural disaster, america always provides aid, both government and non-governmental organisations. Americans are always one of the first on-site to provide disaster relief. And the Peace Corps and other such organisations are filled with americans who really desire to help the world.

    The ideas that America stands for- freedom, liberty, human rights- have changed the world, and in my view, for the better. It's not wrong for people to aspire to be free, to have freedom of speech, religion, assembly and to enjoy free and fair elections.


    And the various scientific and business inventions and ideas, ranging from the telephone and the transistor, to business innovations such as mbo and six sigma, have revolutionised and changed the world.

    America has made so much contributions to the world its greatness unquestioned.

    As for Singapore, I will make no comments now, but I hope those who want to debate its greatness should look beyind erp or gst and truly evaluate whether singapore has done anything to be considered a great nation.
    A Salute to you waileong! One of the best thoughts on this thread.
    Lets go back and asked these questions.

    1. What is the chief concern of any government?

    2. Should the government be a servant to the people, putting his goals, needs and aims ahead of his own?

    3. Is it true that the government should be the Shepherd or the Father and Mother of the People?

    4. Is it necessary that the government should give the people his highest consideration and whenever possible, lighten the people's burdens and abide by the will of the majority?

    5. Shouldn't the government give special consideration to the poor, needy and destitute and provide them sufficient means of support at all times (whether to his people or to people of other unfortunate countries)?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "No individual is lost and no nation is refused prosperity and
    success if foundations of their thoughts and actions rest upon
    piety and godliness, and upon truth and justice."

    - Nahjul Balagha, Khutba


  15. #135

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    I can be cynical (or realistic) here.

    1. To stay in power.

    2. Yes it should, but it usually puts its own interests ahead of its peoples' interests.

    3. Of course not. Governments exist to govern, not to play father or mother. As for shepherd, I take it you mean they should be good leaders. I agree they should be.

    4. It's necessary that they abide (or are seen to abide) by the will of the majority so that they can win another term.

    5. I agree they should, but remember the adage about teaching a man to fish for life.




    Quote Originally Posted by forward View Post
    A Salute to you waileong! One of the best thoughts on this thread.
    Lets go back and asked these questions.

    1. What is the chief concern of any government?

    2. Should the government be a servant to the people, putting his goals, needs and aims ahead of his own?

    3. Is it true that the government should be the Shepherd or the Father and Mother of the People?

    4. Is it necessary that the government should give the people his highest consideration and whenever possible, lighten the people's burdens and abide by the will of the majority?

    5. Shouldn't the government give special consideration to the poor, needy and destitute and provide them sufficient means of support at all times (whether to his people or to people of other unfortunate countries)?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "No individual is lost and no nation is refused prosperity and
    success if foundations of their thoughts and actions rest upon
    piety and godliness, and upon truth and justice."

    - Nahjul Balagha, Khutba


  16. #136
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    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Interesting there are more questions to ponder over.

    America has just elected its 44th President to lead the country while our young nation is still a baby but most willing to learn from the elderly more experienced. The areas most concern by the people seem to fall under these...

    1. Is there such a thing call "Leadership by example?'

    2. What are the principles that a government is founded upon and will it be disclosed?

    3. This can vary from certain universal laws such as human rights, social duties etc.
    Is there a constitution venerated as a statement of the highest principles of government?

    4. Does the government recognized that certain human rights are inalienable and cannot be disregard because they come from a higher Law?

    5. Often in our modern world governments would prefer to establish their leadership along with all their supporters but can they step beyond what is human - elect for support of the Universal Laws?

    6. How do the people know that the government elected would stand by their promise that he will not go for fame, desire, boastfulness or any other ways only known to them?

    7. How do the people know that the government will operate impartially as well as integrity and justices whose leaders are well respected for their honesty, moral and virtuous?

    8. Can the people be assured that the leaders will not take brides or act corruptly and set a good example by giving care, concern and education for the growth of the people whether rich or poor?


  17. #137

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Thank goodness azul has brought the thread back on track... It was a waste of time, not because no one defined "greatness", but because no one was willing to talk about greatness. It was just for arguing the same old issues of cpf, costs of living, etc. Those are perfectly fine topics to discuss, but are OT. So thank goodness it's less OT now.

    Thank goodness people are able to discuss nations- Israel, China, even Singapore if one wishes- in terms of their greatness or lack thereof.

    What makes a nation great? As mattlock said, not pure economic or military power. And I might add, not how many nobel peace prizes or olympic medals per se either.

    What makes a man great? It's not how much money he has, but what contributions he has made to his community, to society. It's about his generosity. It's about his ideas, how he changed the world with them, how he made a difference.

    Since a nation is nothing more than a collection of people living within a set of physical borders, I think we can measure the greatness of a nation in the same way. By the contributions they have made to the world, to mankind. And by their generosity, how their ideas have benefited the human race.

    Hence I brought up Israel. The greatness comes from their spirit. What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust, they bounced back. And even before the Holocaust, when they were persecuted in ancient history, they bounced back.

    They are survivors.

    But beyond just surviving, Israel is so creative, it's a holy land of technology, equal to Silicon Valley. Companies like ICQ came from Israel. And the influence of Jews in the world, in banking, in politics, is just amazing, considering how few of them there are. They certainly punch well above their weight, to use an expression of our former PM.

    Next, China. In history we learned of China's great inventions like gunpowder, we learned of how refined Chinese society and culture was during the Tang dynasty, etc. But I can't see any great contribution China made to the world, how it made the world a better place through its ideas. Perhaps the imperial examination system to select the best civil servants? But the reality is that political power remained under dynastic emperors, and it was always corruption or political intrigue that brought down the dynasties. Having the best and brightest ministers could not stop it.

    When I think of modern China, Mao basically returned China to the Dark Ages, and the current leadership is just old wine in new bottles. People are deprived of their freedoms, they can't read what they want, the great firewall of china shows that nothing has really changed. When I see how China bullies Taiwan, how China "liberated" Tibet, it makes me feel sad to be Chinese.

    Next, Great Britain. You know it's great because they are so convinced of their greatness they named their country so. But why is Britain great?

    Once it was a superpower, an empire upon which the sun never set. But that is no more. And anyway greatness is not about military power.

    I think Britain is great because of how it changed the world. The English language for one. It's what we use here, and it has made human communication much easier, made advances in science and technology much easier.

    Other things which make Britain great are regularly cited by our politicians. The English system of law and justice, not just the laws they left behind, but the principles themselves. Presumed innocence, right to a free and open trial, judicial independence.

    The political system itself-- the separation of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, even if it did not originate in Britain per se, is a legacy they left behind in the colonies, along with an honest and efficient civil service to support a country's progress.

    Next, the United States. I know America has a lot of enemies, and a lot of people hate America for what it has done (eg Iraq), hate its arrogance (eg lecturing other countries about human rights), etc.

    There are also people who point to America's problems- drugs, guns, crime, even the current financial crisis- as evidence of no-greatness or soon-to-be-lost greatness.

    But if you can look beyond these, I think you can see that America really lives up to its tagline as the "land of opportunity". Just last week a black man has been elected to the highest office in the land, something unimaginable as recently 40 years ago when there was still racial segregation. And we all know of the poor immigrants who have made it big in America, starting companies in their garages and then changing the world. While one should not belittle the ingenuity and hard work of these entrepreneurs, one should also realise it is the system which made it possible for them to succeed.

    America has also made great contributions to the world. Europe was a shattered land after WW2, America through the Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe.

    America did the same for Japan under the Occupation. Think about it! Rebuilding a country that had deceived and attacked you brutally at Pearl Harbor instead of asking for war reparations! Offering friendship and a security umbrella to an enemy. In fact, some Americans think the US was stupid to help Japan and create a competitor economy that threatened to overtake the US economy in the 70's.

    America has also been extremely generous apart from the huge amounts spent to reconstruct Europe and Japan after the war. Whenever there is any natural disaster, America always provides aid, from both government and non-governmental organisations. Americans are always one of the first on-site to provide disaster relief. And the Peace Corps and other such organisations are filled with Americans who really desire to help the world.

    The ideas that America stands for- freedom, liberty, human rights- have changed the world, and in my view, for the better. It's not wrong for people to aspire to be free, to have freedom of speech, religion, assembly and to enjoy free and fair elections.

    Americans' various scientific and business inventions and ideas, ranging from the telephone and the transistor, to business innovations such as MBO and Six Sigma, have revolutionised and changed the world. So too in the field of music, entertainment, sports, etc.

    America has made so much contributions to the world its greatness unquestioned. And I believe those who think its days of greatness are numbered due to the current financial crisis are ignoring how America has always bounced back. From the Depression. From the oil shocks and stagflation of the 70's. And even from its humiliation in the 80's in the wake of the Iranian hostage crisis, loss of influence and when it was the world's greatest debtor nation under threat of being overtaken by Japan as the world's largest economy.

    If a country has the right system and the right spirit, it will correct itself and bounce back, stronger and better than ever.

    As for Singapore, I will make no comments now, but I hope those who want to debate its greatness should look beyind erp or gst and truly evaluate whether singapore has done anything to be considered a great nation.
    Bravo
    great writeup.
    You could have reduced this thread to 3 pages with such a succinct analysis

  18. #138
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    390

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Every nation needs the ideal man or woman to "govern", "lead" or "rule" its people.
    Other tasks to tackle are issues connecting with relationships with other countries,
    building financial setback, giving financial aids to the poor and needy and so on.

    Lets examine the words of one spiritual leader:

    "We are all looking for the ideal man or ideal woman.
    However, having looked at the people of the whole world,
    You will come to the conclusion that there is no person who
    can truly be the model for you.

    Ultimately speaking, however hard you try to find such a person
    you will not find one.

    You must finally decide that you had better find
    the perfect model for you in yourself.
    Then you have started in search
    of your original self."

    - Spiritual Growth - A Prophet Speaks Today -
    The Words of Sun Myung Moon

    We often hear of a person needing spiritual growth, so does a nation needs one?



  19. #139
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SGee
    Posts
    1,572

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    I didn't think much of the Olympics. I think that large displays of government choreographed events never really hit home with me.Anyone with a ton of money can create something massive (and sterile).
    The very fact that they were preventing locals from going to watch the Olympics struck me as curiously disrespectful of their own people.
    u reminded me of our first F1 Night Race...



    ... ups for Waileong!

    very well said.
    Last edited by sORe-EyEz; 19th November 2008 at 09:15 AM.

  20. #140

    Default Re: Singapore a Great Nation....

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    Very good points.
    And that is why I say, Singapore in the early days was a great nation, although she is poor and has nothing at that time. A great nation is about the people, the poeple who made their dreams come true. And the irony is alot of them is collecting plates and cleaning tables in the hawer centres today.
    1819.. Sir Stanford Raffle set foot on Singapore ....

    1965.. we were free...

    2008.. my boss once told me, Singapore is one of the very few countrie that you can walk safely in the middle of the night e.g. along Orchard Road.

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