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What I don’t miss… (part 1)

When talking to my friends or even just inside my own head, there tends to be a focus on things I miss about the US.  Recently I was thoroughly irritated to find out that “Eat Pray Love” with Julia Roberts won’t be released in Singapore until October, although it released in the US a few weeks ago.  Ravi and I could talk for hours about the food we miss from home. I often think about how much I miss our car and the simplicity of deciding to go somewhere, loading us up in the car and leaving on my own terms, driving and playing my favorite tunes while the road lulled E to sleep.

What I don’t often think to talk about are things I don’t miss about living in Boston, or the US in general.  So in the first of what I’m sure will be a series of evolving posts, I present to you three things I don’t miss about life in the US.

1-Safety concerns.  While I’ve never subscribed to the “constant vigilance/ worst scenario” mentality that the US media is trying to shove down our throats, I have always practiced urban smartness–I try to keep to well-lit areas, don’t go into parks (esp Central Park/ The Boston Common etc) after dark, and am generally aware of my surroundings and my belongings.  While Singapore doesn’t have a zero crime rate, it’s still far lower than what I’m used to.  You don’t hear a daily litany of crimes, murders, etc.  I don’t feel like I need to have the same level of concern here, and, as I said in my post about the Botanic Gardens-that is a public park that is safe well past sunset.

2-Stroller unfriendly subways/light rail.  While busses here are certainly hit or miss, the MRT is a thing of wonder that is 100% stroller friendly.  As a mom without a car, my life in Boston, New York, London, San Francisco or Chicago would be far more complicated in terms of getting around via public transit than it is here.  I also love that Singapore is constantly expanding service.  There are many new stations and a new line scheduled to open over the next year or two and then they’ll start yet another line.

3-The religion wars–although we hail from (relatively) progressive Massachusetts, it’s impossible at home to escape the current religious/societal culture war.  Here you hear the occasional thing about it, but unless I read American papers, I don’t hear about all the hate crime (the recent Masjid arson in TN, for example).  I genuinely wonder if the US will either splinter under the strain in my lifetime or, if the Tea Party brand of hatred and idiocy spreads-another civil war will break out.  Perhaps this marks me as a pessimist.  But while SG is largely secular, there is far more religious tolerance and far more laws enforcing tolerance than in the US.

EDITED TO ADD–A friend just posted a link to shirts at the Glenn Beck Rally…I think that falls solidly under #3 and gave me more reasons not to be homesick.

However, let’s be real here…at heart, I am an American through and through.  I miss the US deeply and can’t wait to visit home in November.  But rather than let myself wallow in sadness, it’s good to remind myself the US isn’t all widely available peanut butter cups, gay pride parades, and Fall TV starting in a few weeks.

4 Responses

  1. Love the post, and I love the blog!
    (can we group Rush Limbaugh in with no. 3?)

  2. I remember being confused by the shock and distress about a rapist that was on the news in Italy, by the women we were visiting.

    In the US, it’s much more frequent and we get into a state of ‘what else is new’ mentality when we hear or see it on the news. In Italy, vicious crimes are low (unlike purse-snatching/slitting) and when it happens, it sends it’s countrymen into a state of shock.

    In other words, I agree with your statement about not missing the need for safety and caution in the United States.

  3. Regarding your third point, my understanding is that Singapore explicitly bans speech that could be used to foment religious intolerance. While I can see the rationale for such a law, I can’t say that I like the idea of state censorship. As an American, freedom of speech is near-sacrosanct to me. While this freedom does mean you have to take the bad with the good, I personally feel the value of free expression is worth the negative consequences. A Singaporean would probably disagree with me, though.

    • There are speech bans in place. I’m generally of two minds, but I am starting to see some of the positive aspects, especially when I look at the US.

      However, it SHOULD be illegal to claim that the building is on fire when it is not. I am starting to think that claiming all Muslims are terrorists or such things is the religious equivalent of claiming the building is on fire when it is not.

      Freedom of speech has brought us to where Fox News is considered legitimate…perhaps there *is* such a thing as too much freedom?

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