No sorry, I’m not referring to the super hawwwt actor from Grey’s Anatomy. I am referring to the 5Cs. The conventional 5Cs – namely cash, credit cards, car, condominium and country club membership – and the newly recasted 5Cs recommended by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong – career, comfort, children, consideration and charity. the latter is indeed significant as it aims to highlight the importance of a holistic way of life that is not exclusively focussed material well-being. Yet, after some reflection over the National Day weekend, I couldn’t help but think that the 5Cs – both old and new – in some respects, remain a dream… correction, a McDream. Here’s reasons why…
McDream because, like a corporation, these are targets that Singaporeans have been set to achieve. You snooze, you lose.
McDream because it is very much in line with great marketing. 5Cs sound rather catchy and are easy to remember.
McDream because image is everything. Your image as a successful Singaporean seems to be dependent on these markers (the conventional 5Cs). You’re a good citizen if you work towards a holistic lifestyle and have kids (recasted 5Cs).
Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and would love to have a family of my own in the future, Insha Allah. But I empathize with friends, who choose to be single or choose not to have/can’t have kids. A Catholic girlfriend of mine who falls in this category said she agreed with only 4 out of 5 of the recasted Cs. Would she be less of a Singaporean for not having kids, despite given her commitment to charity through helping out at Church?
Another reason why it’s like a McDream, because like McDonalds food, it seems a little artificial. Do we really need to be told about what to aspire for? Naive as this may sound, I would have already thought that consideration and charity are principles that we would have already been brought up with? Quality acts of charity and consideration, I think, would also happen organically. Indeed, we cannot deny that given the cut-throat rat-race that we often find ourselves caught it, these reminders of social values are important. But normally, I get these reminders from my family.
In any case, 5Cs or no 5Cs, home is where the heart is. And Singapore, despite all the gripes, is still and always home.
Selamat Hari Jadi, Singapura!