Last week, we had been on a holiday to Singapore and Malaysia, my first visit abroad. Also, it was my first flight journey. When the flight took off from the runway, my joy knew no boundaries. I kept looking down to ensure that I was in the sky literally. Moreover, the sight of sunrise made my journey more memorable. It was an exhilarating experience to witness the changeover from night to day.
THE CHANGEOVER AS CLICKED WITH MY CAMERA
As my experiences are plenty to share, I felt that they could be shared under different posts. In this post, I would like to reflect upon the people and culture of Singapore and Malaysia, as against India. Being an Indian, let me point out the facts that made me feel proud to be in India than elsewhere.
|. BANNED PUBLIC SMOKING : Ever since public smoking was banned in 2008, the chances of passive smoking was drastically reduced. Only when I inhaled second-hand smoke in Singapore and Malaysia, did I realize the boon of banned public smoking in India.
PICTURE COURTESY: wikipedia.org
||. VEGETARIAN DIET : Statistics have proven that consumption of fruits and vegetables are more healthier compared to a non-vegetarian diet. Health benefits of such a vegetarian diet are numerous. Being a person who cannot eat non-veg barring chicken and fish (if cooked properly), I found it difficult to find a veg item in the restaurants abroad. I was astonished to learn that India was the first country where Mc Donald's does not offer any beef or pork item and has developed a special menu with vegetarian selections to suite the Indian palate. The retail food giant has specially re-engineered it's operations to separate veg and non-veg food processing.
INDIAN VEGETARIAN DIET
PICTURE COURTESY : http://sbioak.org
Now, it's time to pinpoint the merits of Singapore and Malaysia over India.
|. CULTURAL DIVERSITY : India boasts itself to be a country of cultural diversity. We claim to be united despite our differences. However, the religious and cultural tolerances of people have come down significantly over the last few years. Various incidents have occurred to prove this statement. Singapore, on the other hand, as a country inhabited by migrants a few centuries back, has a rich and diverse population. Most importantly, every person respects the religious sentiments and beliefs of other citizens.
DIFFERENT RACES, ONE COUNTRY
PIC COURTESY: goingplaces.sg
The sight of Indian woman wearing gold jewellery with jeans or Malay Muslims wearing burqa with western wear is common there. Whereas in India, we ape western culture and consider clothing and language to be the only way of expressing modernity. Anyone wearing traditional attire or talking local language is never respected.
PICTURE COUTESY: voyage99.com
The Indian government also fails to recognize the importance of ethnic identity and tries to promote a single language, Hindi, despite the fact that some of the other languages are more primitive and considered classics. When Tamilnadu opposed Hindi in schools in the mid 1960s, the state was totally sidelined. I was unhappy when I moved to Bangalore and found it difficult to speak in Hindi. Today, I feel proud that my state helped me learn Tamil because of which my identity has not been disrupted totally. Other languages can be learnt anytime but it is important to know one's mother tongue.
In Singapore, the first language is English and the second language is one's mother tongue which is either Chinese, Malay or Tamil. When I heard Muniyandi,Nathan,Kalai,Velan, who had been Singaporeans/Malaysians for about three generations speak Tamil in an impeccable manner, I was surprised. They were happy to be Singaporeans and Malaysians, as well as Tamilians.
||. ADHERENCE TO RULES: Singapore is a country well known for its discipline. The people are punctual and 9am is always 8:55 am and never later than the prescribed time. Also, the traffic rules were strictly adhered to by the citizens. People had the patience to wait for their turn. Malaysia was truly Asia in this sense. I guess you got my point:) Yes, the traffic was similar to that of Bangalore.
CARS ON ROAD AT SINGAPORE
PICTURE COURTESY: traffictechnologytoday.com
Having discussed the differences, I am sure there is a strong need for us to inculcate self-esteem through our value systems without blindly following the west. If done so, there are chances for us to regain our lost self sufficiency and global competency in the coming years.