新加坡最幸福吗?Direct translation. Is Singapore happiest?

从新加坡留学回来,最常见的一个问题是:为什么不留在新加坡?其实从这个问题本身就可以看出大家对新加坡的尊崇,因为他们觉得这地方是华人天堂,有钱、洋气、说英文,甚至还出过孙燕姿这样的歌手。所以你既然可以去留学,为什么不尝试留在新加坡?

After returning home from studying in Singapore, the most common question I was asked is this: Why are you not staying in Singapore? This question reflects the amount of respect people in China have for Singapore. They believe Singapore is a heaven for Chinese, and the Chinese Singaporeans are rich, westernized, speak English and even produced a star like Sun Yan Zi. They asked why am I not staying in Singapore since I have already studied there.

In the recent survey conducted for Chinese in China, Hongkong, Taiwan and Singapore, everyone including Singaporean Chinese themselves perceive Singaporeans to be the happiest Chinese among the 4 places. So is Singapore really the utopia for Chinese?

近日的调查也显示,在大陆、香港、台湾以及新加坡四地的调查显示,新加坡被公认为华人圈里最幸福的地方,甚至连新加坡人自己也觉得自己比其他地方的华人幸福的多。那么新加坡是不是就是众望所归的华人天堂呢?

新加坡最幸福吗?

对于第一个问题,是很个人化的。我除了置气的时候像广告里装逼的说过“混不好我就不回来了”以外,我从来也没想过要留在新加坡。从我个人角度,除了还不错的新鲜空气,新加坡并没有太多让我觉得高人一等的地方。甚至我觉得不错的空气,在我离开新加坡之后,被一场邻国的大火搞得雾霾月余。大家对新加坡的完美印象其实来自于无知或者是认知不全,很多人从来没去过,只不过觉得人家人均GDP好高啊,又是花园城市;还有的人在新马泰旅游的时候去过半个白天,觉得鱼尾狮好有特点,街道好干净。其实很少有人真正的去判断这种短暂视觉冲击的真实性。要知道,除却新鲜感,能吐水的鱼尾狮石雕,跟乐山大佛比起来,又算个屁啊。

The first question is very personalized. Aside from the occasional grumblings, I have never thought of staying in Singapore. From my point of view, the air here is clean and Singaporeans are just average folks like people in China. Of course the clean air was overshadowed by the haze problem about the time I left Singapore. Everyone’s rose-tinted perception of Singapore is largely due to ignorance or incomplete understanding. Many people have never been to Singapore, they just know that Singapore has a very high GDP and is a garden city. There are tourists who are just in Singapore for half a day, thinking the merlion is unique and the streets are clean. In actual fact, very few people assess the validity of these first impressions. The merlion is actually just a “fart” compared to China’s Le Shan’s Buddha.

新加坡人确实比较富裕,但应该不如国人想象的那般殷实。并不是我们想象的那样到处都是血管里都流着钞票的资本家。在这个贫富差距极大的国家里,你目之所及的人过着的生活,未必有中国一线城市的普通白领质量更高。在国内,都是我有两套房子,我出租其中一套。在新加坡更为常见的是,我有一套房子,我出租其中两间,而我只住其中一间。这种现象极为普遍,因为这种陌生人之间过分的近距离接触,而导致了很多纠纷。我在新加坡留学期间租房,和几个房东都出现过纠纷。归根结底的原因是,一开始他求着你来住到他家里去,但是一旦你住进去了,他就觉得在我家你必须按照我的方式过活,而你又不会愿意一边花这钱一边受着气,结果双方撕破合同,发生冲突。

Singaporeans are indeed richer, but not as people think they are. They do not bleed cash. In this country with a great income gap, the quality of life here is not higher than the one from a top China city. Back in China, I have two properties of which I rent one out. In Singapore, most people have only one property and they rent 2 rooms out while they stay in 1 room. This is very common, and the daily living with strangers resulted in a lot of conflicts. For the period I am studying here, I have quite a number of disputes with several owners. It also begins with owners welcoming you to rent from them, then they started making house rules, and you started feeling unworthy for the money you are paying then the quarrels start.

新加坡人也并不洋气,从我未必正确的审美来讲,大多数人都并不好看。尽管各种国际品牌很多,但因为全年只有夏季,所以再怎么穿也穿不出花样来。通常新加坡人的日常生活就是T恤短裤外加一双人字拖,上班族就是一套笔挺的西装。所以中国女人在新加坡很吃香,很多中国的女留学生就留在新加坡嫁人,原因也许很多,从我肤浅的认识上来看,中国女人长得总归要更漂亮些。

Singaporeans are not westernized. From my point of view, most of them dress ugly. There are many international brands here, but as the weather is hot all year round, there isn’t any change in fashion. The common dressing is a T-shirt, shorts and a pair of sandals, or the office wear. Many overseas China students want to marry a Singaporeans for different reasons. But I think they need to be prettier.

而说到英文,新加坡当地的口音之重,程度与印度相当。如果你未曾谙熟这种口音,第一次见面甚至无法分辨他说的竟然是英文。而最让我无法接受的一点,就算我听不懂英文,可以归结为我英文水平不过硬。但是他们很多华人所说中文的口音也让人摸不着头脑。我有一个新加坡的华裔朋友,他每次说话,我首先不是听不听得懂的问题,而是我很难搞清楚他究竟是在说中文还是英文。以至于我说着比较僵硬的东北口音的英语都会有一种莫名的优越感。

For the standard of English, Singapore’s English is similar to India. You will not understand their English. What I could not accept is that even if my English standard is poor, most of these Chinese Singaporeans’ English are not understandable by others as well. I have a Chinese Singaporean friend, every time he speaks, I don’t know whether if he speaking in Chinese or English. My China’s Dong Bei(North East) accent of English is even more superior.

新加坡这么弹丸的国家,总归是有些无聊的。他没有中国满街的网吧、足疗、洗浴中心,也没有那么繁多的饭店、KTV和台球厅。所以他们的生活更接近一种安逸的个人生活,而并非热闹的集体活动。而如果你无法习惯这种简单平淡,你就要尝试融入到当地的生活习惯。而对于一个中国人而言,我一直无法找到他们的笑点,无论是中文还是英文。他们总是在我觉得还没开始的时候,已经高潮到前仰后合了。

Singapore is a very small country, everywhere is boring. Unlike China, it doesn’t have many LAN shops, massage shops, hotels, KTV or billiard shops. Their life is quieter, and not filled with entertaining activities. You have to be accustomed to this quiet way of life. For a China national like me, I don’t understand them at all. Be it English or Chinese, they always leave me befuddled.

我并非要贬低新加坡,也并非以贬低新加坡来达到给我们自己大唱赞歌的目的。而是我并不相信幸福本身可以如此粗暴的衡量。我们总以为,自己不爽,看别人都觉得爽到爆。其实不然。幸福是一种很私有的感受,他并不是别人看过来很好,也绝不能靠投票决定。

I am not trying to debase Singapore, nor am I trying to levitate my status by criticizing them. It is just that happiness should not be measured this way. We will always believe if we are unhappy in China, other places will be happier. This is not true, happiness is a self-determined sentiment, not decided relatively nor via votes in a survey.

至于新加坡人自己都觉得自己比别人幸福,更大程度上源自于他们对于两岸三地的无知。大多数新加坡游走于东南亚甚至欧美,而没去过中国,他们听到的都是拼死要留在新加坡的大陆人的抱怨,就自以为自己最幸福。其实未必。新加坡的自我膨胀,源自于他们对外界的不了解。就像新加坡的所谓美食,在中餐面前一无是处;而新加坡有名的夜景克拉克码头,在上海的外滩和香港的维多利亚湾面前,显得如此苍白乏味。

Singaporeans believe they are happier than others, and this is largely because they are ignorant of life in other countries. Most Singaporeans have been to South East Asia countries and even Europe and US, but they have never been to China. All they know about China is those grumblings by unhappy overseas China nationals living in Singapore, and as a result, they believe they are happier than the China Chinese. Singapore likes to boast because they are ignorant of other countries. Like the Singapore food here, compare them with China Chinese cuisine, these are nothing. Like the night scene in Clark Quay, compare them with Shanghai and Hongkong’s Victoria Bay, these are nothing.

所以这个投票结果,更多的是建立在我们的一部分妄自菲薄和新加坡人一定程度妄自尊大的基础之上。所谓幸福,正是这种眼界不够开阔的感受。我倒是觉得当你觉得自己不那么幸福的时候,也许是一件好事。最起码你看得到别人的好,也不羞于自己的坏。还能抱怨,就坏不到哪里去。

The survey result is largely attributed to overseas Chinese thinking they are inferior and Singaporeans thinking they are superior. Happiness is a result of these incomplete perceptions. I believe not being so happy is a good thing after all because it makes me see others’ weaknesses, not over dabble in my own weaknesses and makes me grumble less.

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