It is past midnight in Paris, and I'm staring out of my hotel window over the quiet Rue Cambon while writing this letter. The TV is on with relentless news coverage of China's stock market crash, Greece's debt crisis, and the French pushing through controversial reforms in an attempt to revitalise their sluggish economy, reduce unemployment, and ease France's ballooning budget deficit.
I look for news of Singapore online, and the day's headlines are commuters inconvenienced by the MRT breakdown, lower COE premiums, and…otters on Sentosa suspected of having feasted on ornamental koi worth more than $80,000.
It is common knowledge that in the news business, bad news is good news. A foreign journalist I met years ago once said to me: “It must not be easy being a journalist in Singapore. How often do scandals or really bad news happen?”
Industry jokes aside, as a Singaporean, I take that comment as a compliment.
Yes, it's a fact that we do have it good. Despite our occasional first-world complaints (from transport woes to late-night drinking curbs), most of us know deep down that we have much to be grateful for, and plenty on our little island to love and celebrate (from safe streets, clean government and a stable economy, to quality education and healthcare).
And what a year it has been for Singaporeans. In March, we mourned the loss of our founding father as a nation, showing strength as we grieved, and displaying unprecedented solidarity and national spirit. At the recent Southeast Asian Games, we celebrated the courage of our athletes, who proved their mettle and made history by achieving the near-impossible — a record-breaking medal haul of 84 gold. And this month, we unite as a country once again, to celebrate our golden jubilee and how far we've come.
They say 50 is the new 30. So guess what, we're only just getting started.
Happy birthday, Singapore.
Genevieve Jiang | MANAGING EDITOR
Magazine edition: 201508
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