18 Dec 2005

Singapore is a third world country?

I couldn't find the original article (or, rather couldn't access ST as it has to be paid for) but only this blog post.

Not I say one. You think what? I will dare to contradict the title of this book. You have got to be kidding me. But this is the boldest that I have seen in The Straits Times in a long time.

Singaporean writer, Gerrie Lim had this to say in an interview with our esteemed newspaper today…

“Singapore is basically a country that likes to think of itself as a First World country. But it's not. It's really a Third World country that pretends to be a First World country”

That should warrant response by the highest echelons…. :) Talking about the education system here during the 1970s, he said,

“The school system here sucked. If you asked a question that was not part of what the teacher put on the board, she would say: 'It's not in the syllabus, you don't need to know.' How stupid is that?”

Ministry of Education, is this true? If not, surely we can have a rejoinder :)

"I didn't really want to do a degree here. I just couldn't see myself fitting into NUS. Yuck!"

He criticized NUS you know, a world Top 20 institution.

A point-for-point rebuttal expected, Singapore style :)


Anonymous said...

Do you have the link to the original blog post?

Anonymous said...

Homosexual writers are all children trapped in adult bodies stucked with sub-normal intellect. They also think and write about sex all the damn time, why am I not surprised and amused about this post?

Agagooga said...

Homophobia does funny things to one's cognitive skills.

Agagooga said...

'I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused'
Outspoken author Gerrie Lim says Singapore is a Third World country with First World pretensions

Gerrie Lim is not one to shy away from taboo topics or mince his words.

Which is why the 46-year-old pop culture critic, who writes on topics ranging from porn to rock music, is a publisher's dream.

His book about sex escorts in Asia, Invisible Trade, has shifted nearly 18,000 copies since it hit the shelves last year. He is planning a sex industry sequel next year.

This year, he launched Idol To Icon, which examines how celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez become mega brands. It was published by UK's Cyan Books.

The iconoclast says his independent-minded, questioning streak is a result of his disgust for the repressive environment he grew up in during the 1970s.

'The school system here sucked. If you asked a question that was not part of what the teacher put on the board, she would say: 'It's not in the syllabus, you don't need to know.' How stupid is that?' he vents.

In 1980, the former St Joseph's Institution and Catholic Junior College student went to Perth to study political philosophy at the University of Western Australia.

'I didn't really want to do a degree here. I just couldn't see myself fitting into NUS. Yuck! You can quote me on that!' he says.

The eldest of three children of middle-class Catholic parents, Mr Lim went on to attend journalism school at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

His brother is a bank executive and his sister is a school teacher in Canada.

It was in the City of Angels, capital of pop culture, that he felt at home for the first time.

He spent close to 15 years there, writing features and music reviews for magazines like Billboard, LA Weekly and Playboy from a Santa Monica rental flat, earning 'enough to get by'.

His first book, Inside The Outsider, featuring a series of interviews with rock stars like David Bowie and Patti Smith, was published here by Big O in 1997. It sold just 500 copies.

In 2001, he moved back to Singapore to be with his family and Chinese Singaporean girlfriend.

He is now part of a rare species in Singapore - the full-time writer.

'I'm famous but not rich,' quips the writer, who lives off his royalties, in a condominium in Holland Village with his girlfriend.

Quoting an Elvis Costello song, (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes, he says: 'I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.'

'Singapore is basically a country that likes to think of itself as a First World country. But it's not. It's really a Third World country that pretends to be a First World country,' he lambasts.

This Third World mentality, he charges, also permeates the publishing industry. Many publishers are queasy about what can or cannot be published.

'Even expats have told me: 'I'm surprised that your book can be published.' But why? Doesn't it say something?' he asks.

'Creativity doesn't grow on trees. How are you going to create an ecosystem of publishers and authors when everything seems to be done by government edict?'

He is scornful that publishers here churn out cheap-looking books for the local market, 'underestimating the intelligence of local readers'.

Part of the problem is that few publishers here are prepared to pay advances to authors, unlike in the US and Britain. He received undisclosed advances for his two books.

'It's very Third World thinking. How are you going to foster a publishing culture if you are going to treat writers like that?' he rants.

Invisible Trade and Idol To Icon are available at major bookstores at $18.95 and $32, respectively.

Anonymous said...

He lives with a friend who happens to be a girl yada yada...

The Legal Janitor said...

It seems very unlikely that Gerrie Lim is gay.

pleinelune said...

*scratches head* I don't even know how the gay thing got inside here. Someone forgot to take his intelligence pills.

Anonymous said...

By confessing he slept with men for money in his sex book? I quote his "YUcks". Or maybe he is "bi", his long term gf(not wife) might be a trans for all we know. dey you all read or not? At least know a little bit more about the subject you are talking about to begin with if not ppl will think you are ignorant.

Anonymous said...

His mind is really still stucked in the past, he thinks he's still living in the 1970s being a 14 year old atudent getting pissed off with his teachers. Hello? This is the 21st century, moving on already?

Everyone knows NUS has always been real telok, no need to publicise that for them, we all know.

And if no publisher wants to publish your damn book, get it self-published, design your stupid damn cover yourself, everything also want people to do it for you, want people to feed, sialan useless boh?

mister k said...

i guess it is something to scream about just because he is a singaporean and he wrote a book on sex escorts. with regard to gerrie's catholic upbringing from St Joseph's Institution and Catholic Junior College, perhaps it was only in uwa that he first experienced a non religion themed institution.

though i don't know him personally, i am rather put off by his mannerisms. it doesn't feel like he is uniquely different. it feels like he is trying to be different just to for the sake of being different.

why write and be snobbish? go do an annabel chong.

Samo said...

To the second anon: Gerrie Lim has a girlfriend ya dumb fuck. Please do not tarnish those you dislike by saying things you don't know. It is an insult to both gays, straight folks and also yourself.

Anonymous said...

I like the part about NUS. Yeah Top 20, so what? I'm not ashamed to say I got a pass for my Physics major from that esteemed institution because I memorised like hell. Till today I don't know what is going on in Thermodynamics.

Anonymous said...

samo is a peeping tom, he peeps at Gerrie and his "girlfriend" from an opposite apartment.

Anonymous said...

nice one Gerrie, looks like you got a good education, im an american educated in the US as well (UCSD) and have thought the same things..further verified an hour ago at a local bar when i asked the girl working there how long it takes for the earth to orbit around the sun...answered by a blank stare and an "I dont know"...let the truth be told...thanks Gerrie for the nice article...


Anonymous said...

you are right, singaporeans have a 3rd world thinking...but they think themselves are very high-class.

Anonymous said...

To the guy who asks the stupid question to piss off bargirls-

Have you ever wondered perhaps the bargirl was mocking your moron question?

Perhaps she was thinking, "This ugly gay loser is such a no-brainer piss on the face, I'm just gonna ignore his stupid questions for the rest of my shift!"

One bargirl to "verify" for an entire country? Well done! Wonder how you passed your statistics or maybe you never took the subject, or maybe you flunked it and got kicked out of college back to your shitty old Singapore haha

Anonymous said...

to the guy who thinks that :Have you ever wondered perhaps the bargirl was mocking your moron question?

well obviously, you have encountered this situation, no worries, ive lived here for 4 years as a foreigner(American, we basically run your tiny country) and am amazed every day as to the ignorance and stupidity of so called "educated singaporeans" as a foriegner it pretty much looks like ignorance....sorrry lah!

amit said...

Too many apologist for the PAP here....

After all PAP = Singapore Govt = Singapore State

I will not say anything more.

Anonymous said...

No I have never encountered this situation, only encountered morons with peabrain intelligence like you.

Yeah Americans run Singapore like Micheal Fay got whipped in the butt sure by all means carry on "running" Singapore!

And it all up to you to choose your own group of friends or bargirls, no matter how ignorant and stupid they might be. I guess there must be some commonalities linking you and the losers after all.

btw overseas angmohs are actually very dumb people, only the clever ones get employed in their own countries, the rest of the stupid ones go overseas to be reunite with "stupid" Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Oh very smart indeed. You mean like when some Americans pointed to Australia on an unmarked atlas when asked where they think Korea is? One even went: "I did not know that korea is that big!"

There are idiots in every country, and the more population a country has, the more idiots it can breed. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Well going by your flawed statistics *again* I can *verify* that America has much more number of idiots than "stupid little Singapore" and what a vast possibility of you falling into that idiot range.

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