Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Just who (and what) is a first-generation Singaporean?

ST, March 30
Where was the starting point, that is, how are "pre-first generation whatever (can't call them Singaporeans, right?) determined? Was my late father (born 1914, died 1983) a "pre-whatever" or a "first-generational"? I suppose one marker is some sort of citizenship paper, even if that person died a subject of British colonial Singapore, say, someone like the late war hero Lim Bo Seng.

Now for the absurd part!

We are told (remember, Just Follow, Lor?) that the Pioneer Generation are first-generation Singaporeans. Again, we are not told just who are in that first batch of Pioneer Generation "pioneers". But we are told that the cut-off is Dec 31, 1949. So someone born on Jan 1, 1950 is not a Pioneer Generation alumnus.

But guess what? In my 1960s school class cohort, the oldest guys were born in late 1948 or early 1949 and the youngest were born in late 1950. Amazing, how -- by official fiat -- one is deemed to be neatly and precisely in or not in a "generation". Reminds me of the Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs' song, "(I'm in with) The out crowd".

But, hey, that's pragmatism for you... a favourite word so often bandied about in Singapore:

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