A City of Possibilities?

7 08 2007

As National Day draws nearer, I can’t help but question if we are truly a City of Possibilities (tag line of this year’s National Day slogan).

Are we truly a meritocratic society? As far as I can see, the government through various schemes and measures definitely tries to level the playing field, but I won’t go so far as to say we are a nation of equal opportunities. It is obvious that some people have less access to certain resources that pave the way to success (speaking of which, what is our definition of success here? Material wealth? Or the freedom to pursue our dreams and freedom to live how we’d like to? Or what other options?)

This tagline City of Possibilities is clearly not all-inclusive. Possibilities allude to the idea of freedom. BUT, how much freedom do we have to explore possibilities? Freedom of speech… hmm we have vague OB markers that limit our freedom of expression, oh ya, a gay forum had recently been cancelled because the permit was denied. The press is regulated by the government, and in turn, it regulates our way of life. Freedom to choose our way of life… not exactly. Freedom to pursue our dreams.. we are not quite there yet, though the situation is improving.

One example is that of Sun Ho. It seems that no matter what amount of breakthroughs she attains overseas, they are never celebrated back here. She is the first Asian artist to have made it into the Billboard charts in the US and UK, works with renowned big names like Wyclef Jean and Dianne Warren. But, we hardly hear the press talk about it here. Most of what we know about her through the press is hardly objective. She’s measured using a different yardstick presumably because she is a pastor’s wife. But the reality remains that she is an example of a Singaporean who has successfully broken into the international music scene – a feat which has not been accomplished by other Asians. Yet, that is never highlighted by the local press. What signal does this send to Singaporeans who aspire to making it internationally?  That yes, you can go ahead and try, but if you’re too good, or if you do not conform to our local, small-minded, conservative mindset, we won’t rejoice in your success nor recognize you as one of our own?  It is then not surprising that those who have made it internationally like Ashley Isham and Andrew Gn do not stay in Singapore. Yes, I know this is also cos the market here is tiny, but you get my drift. To be a city of possibilities, we need to be more accepting of what’s unconventional and different.

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3 responses

8 08 2007
iwashere

there is no place on earth where there are equal opportunities for all, because it is simply not possible. 🙂 Freedom of expression does not mean there can be ANY expression. Freedom of expression needs to be based on responsible expression. I believe people need to be responsible for what they say, and be able to back that up credibly. Too many people in this world say irresponsible things, and that’s why the world is so screwed up. 🙂

as for Sun Ho, it is difficult to justify whether or not the local media puts her in the limelight enough. It is not as simple a matter as whether she deserves it, but it’s extremely sensitive because of the fact that she’s the wife of the senior pastor of the biggest Christian church in Singapore. It doesn’t help that she has been the subject of controversy many times, both in dressing, words and even now her new MTV . No matter what one says, it is just not acceptable for a pastor’s wife to make an MTV like that, not because our minds are conservative, but because the Bible says it is important for a woman to be modest.

I remember I once attended City Harvest Church for a night session of Emerge 2004. In that session, the church proudly announced that her motive for going into pop music was that she could be an international star, so that she could reach people for Jesus in places where preachers could not go. Pastor Kong was really excited to be able to bring the gospel there, with Sun as a bridge to access.

I don’t know, but I’ve not seen that happen. Perhaps I am misinformed, but it does seem she is spending more time buying dresses than working for the Kingdom. Do enlighten me if I am wrong. I pray she will not become a hindrance to people coming to Christ, neither will she lose sight of her original goal.

As with many other issues, sometimes it isn’t about whether the thing itself is wrong, but how others think about it. I may not think eating food offered to idols is wrong, but if that stumbles someone else, I got to be careful that I don’t do something that stumbles others. Because we love God and we want Him to get all the glory. 🙂

PS. I know that you are a great fan of Sun, this comment isn’t meant as an attack. Do let me know if there are things I mentioned that are not true. But the issues are real, and we can’t run away from them. 🙂

9 08 2007
Ling

Hi iwashere,
Thank you for your honest comments. I recognize your perspective differs from mine.

For an accurate source of facts/information concerning Sun, you might like to refer to her blog (http://www.wretch.cc/blog/hellosun) in which she shares her personal thoughts regarding the controversy surrounding her. In it, you would also get a glimpse of how she has been helping different ones.

Thank you once again!

23 10 2007
Charis

I’ve been in Australia for 5 years, and I’m commited to a church centered on both Pentecostal and Evangelical beliefs. I used to defend Sun, because she was merely being a good influence. Her dresing was ‘edgy’, but it was still alright. A gray area. Most people were being mean and judgmental about things they didn’t know about.
However, I watched the new MTV that came out when a friend told me about it, though I HAVE gone to her blog to see her thoughts about it, I can’t say I agree with her “micro hot pants” being just normal. It may be alright to wear swim wear in a pool, but not in a shopping mall, walking around.
So hot pants in a gym might be alright[i stress MIGHT], but the setting is in the MTV is a dance club. Most of the dancers look like they are wearing underwear. There are girls touching her body up and down sensually. I really don’t see how this is modest. Most of my friends even in Australia[who are supposed to be more relaxed in dress sense] were quite shocked when they stumbled upon the video. I am praying for her though, that she’ll think twice before wearing minimal clothing, and portraying sensual images again.
Darlene Zschech is a worship leader who produces pop albums too. She dresses MOST conservatively. Sun doesn’t need to dress exactly like Darlene. But she might benefit from taking the ‘above reproach’ path more often.

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