Friday, 24 August 2012

In Chinese Singapore is just a kampong!

Po Xian - this is how Singapore is called by some Chinese netizens in the social media. Po is Singapore and Xian is a county. Or in a longer version, Xin Jia Po Xian (新加 Singapore county) and in short Po Xian 坡县.

Do remember the next time you search for Singapore in the Chinese social media or internet, you can use the word Po Xian too. When you see Po Xian, it is Singapore and not a county or small city in China. 

We are a global city with high Gini coefficient and we are aiming and moving towards to be a Mega city by importing even more people. How come our little red dot (still remain a small county and) suddenly becomes a county? As more and more Chinese people knowing Singapore, they need to use a short term or nickname for Singapore. Hence, the birth of Po Xian comes into picture.

In Chinese communications, it is too common to use a special name or term for a city or a group of people. Like Shanghai, it is called 申城. Perhaps we should ask them to rename Singapore as 坡城,not Po Xian. But we are not as big as Shanghai, so there is a reason for it. We are lucky we can be considered as Po Xian Ren坡县人 or in short 坡人.  Not like the Japanese or the Westerners, they have been named 鬼子 (sons of devils) or 老外 (old western people) respectively.

Should we be angry or humbly accept the fact? We are after all a small city in terms of land area and even with the inflated population.

In 2050 as forecasted many of the top 100 cities are from China and maybe India.  With urbanization in these 2 countries, more and more big cities are emerging and more and more today big cities in the West will become small cities or even counties in future.

There is no way Singapore can be a global big city by population and by land area in future.  Big cities are now using the word "bigger" to describe their cities; for example, Bigger New York, Bigger London, Bigger Tokyo, Bigger Beijing, Bigger Shanghai, Bigger Manila, Bigger Jakarta .... 

We are too small to have the capacity to add the "bigger" in front of Singapore.  Bigger means also nearby areas and population.

A bigger Singapore in theory should include South Johor and Batam/Bintan - a concept of growth triangle.  This, of course, cannot put in practice politically.  It is even difficult to put in practice economically.  Since the launch of the concept of growth triangle in the 1980s, there is no big breakthrough so far.  What we see are some independent developments in these 3 areas?  
Look at the case of Hong Kong, a Bigger Hong Kong should include South Guangdong cities but Shenzhen wants to be a Bigger Shenzhen.  With or without Hong Kong, Shenzhen wants to go big.  So, it is even difficult to operate under 1 country 2 systems. Not to mention, the growth triangle involves 3 countries 3 systems.  

This is how the Chinese are thinking. They think of big space, big population, big consumption, big money, big corruption, big business, big guanxi and of course big political power. Some children in their writings write about their ambition that is to be a big corrupted official.  

Not only in terms of area and population, our hungry (attitude as mentioned by PAP government), our spending power, our political drama, our corruption cases, our beauties, and many other aspects are really small. 小巫见大巫 can best describe the case of Singapore as a small county against a giant country - China.

When we are called Po Xian, we have to understand the rational, the reasons behind this, there is no bad or good intention and just their side of story. 

A village life can be better than a city life in Singapore.  This is why we call for kampong spirit and we don’t mind having the kampong life and humanity back again! But can we achieve that under the administration of the money-minded PAP government? 


  1. exactly, I am quite amazing that Singaporeans are so fussing about the term Po Xian?
    It is a funny name called by few Chinese who live in Singapore.
    Most of the mainland Chinese even do not know where is Singapore.
    Who cares about so tiny a country who support Japan to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council?

  2. Since you know some Chinese character. I want to ask you a question : how Singaporean Chinese locate themselves as a nation if they gradually loose the ability of speaking Chinese. I spent a few weeks in Singapore and found that these Singaporean Chinese (SC) children do not speak Chinese with each other and a local people told me that some SC consider Chinese language as a piece of shit. And I also know that it is also very difficult for a SC to merge into the local life of GB and US, since white people will always consider them as Chinese. On the other hand, really Chinese will not consider a person who do not speak Chinese as a Chinese.

    You can feel shame of been a Chinese, but you can not take off your Chinese skin. What kind of nation are your people? A nation loose history and tradition is like a person come out from air. It is really quite strange.