Sunday 3 April 2011

So you think you can be a Singapore citizen

Dear would-be Singapore citizen,

Thank you for applying to be a Singapore citizen despite Seth Rogen describing Singapore as a “very frightening” place. You are indeed the bravest of souls.

Your timing couldn’t be better because the TV and Radio Licensing Fee was just abolished and people have stopped saying “boomz” as a joke.

But before you get your pink Identity Card, you’re now required to complete an orientation programme called the Singapore Citizenship Journey, which includes visits to the National Museum of Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s City Gallery and Singapore Parliament House.

Wait, before you cancel your citizenship application, those places aren’t as boring as they sound. Okay, maybe they are, but worst comes to worst, the tour takes only half a day.

Surely, it’s worth half of your day just to be able to count Gong Li, Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat’s wife as your fellow countrymen.

You will also have to take an online course as part of your “journey”. At the end of each section of the course, there will be a online quiz.

Don’t worry if you can’t answer all the questions correctly because many who are Singaporean by birth can't too.

The following are examples of questions that won't be in the quiz:

1. Singapore is in the Guinness Book of World Records for which pointless record-breaking feat?
A. Most people playing sudoku simultaneously.
B. Most people sitting on one chair.
C. Most couples on a blind date in 12 hours.
D. Longest queue for overpriced bubble tea.

2. Who are the heartlanders who should stay out of Holland Village?
A. Anyone who is uncultured with no manners.
B. Anyone in shorts and slippers, and like, weird coloured hair.
C. Vincent Ng, Aaron Aziz and any member of the cast of the cancelled local TV series Heartlanders.
D. Anyone who is not from the Netherlands.

3. What is currently the biggest threat to Singapores defence?
A. Myopia.
B. Failing your Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
C. Japanese food.
D. Maids.

4. What will be the top issue in the upcoming election?
A. Rising cost of living.
B. You (as in “foreign talent”).
C. Netizens too mean to new People's Action Party candidate and foot-stamping hat model Tin Pei Ling.
D. Too many polls asking people what the top issue in the upcoming election will be.

So how did you do?

As a prospective member of the “world’s second coolest nationality” (according to CNNGo), you're expected to be geeky enough to find the answers yourself on the Internet.

Congratulations! You’re almost a citizen of the 189th (or is it 191st?) largest country in the world by land area.

Just don’t forget to take your Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty like that Japanese guy.

- Published in The New Paper, 3 April 2011