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<time datetime="2004-08-14T00:00:00-07:00" pubdate><span class='month'>Aug</span> <span class='day'>14</span> <span class='year'>2004</span></time>
<h1 class="entry-title"><a href="/the-sounds-of-silence.html"> The Sounds Of Silence</a></h1>
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<div class="entry-content"><p>I live in a private housing apartment (which has much better lifts, swimming pool and a gym) right next to the MRT. But I need to pass through a narror lane not unlike the short cut that Argon takes in LOTR. Only in this case, Housing Development Board (HDB) Buildings surround the lane. As you walk through that lane you can hear the only raucous sounds of birds you can ever hear in Singapore (other than the &#8220;official&#8221; bird park). Its the cackles of the birds inside the bird cages that the house owners keep outside the windows. Some of the cages cant even be seen (the HDB unit also has several floors, though not as many as the Condominiums).</p>
<p>Today as I got my Permanent Residence (which means I can stay in Singapore for as long as I want), I was giving more thought to these birds than ever. How, I wondered, are the residents of Singapore really different from those birds? Like them, we watch the world go by and relax contentedly in our own coops. We hardly know the next door neighbour and don&#8217;t even bother knowing our security guard. Elections churn out no psephologists and National Days are celebrated in a Stadium (I suspect, the same one every year), each year not at all different from the previous years. The participants sing the same songs, remixing and corrupting the songs as the years go by, until all you can hear is trance music. People remember National Day by the discounts offered in different shops. (This being the 39th year of independence, shops are offering 39% discounts or goods for S$39. We have a new Prime Minister now. And people are wondering how creative the mandarins will be with the title of the cabinet position that the Founder of Singapore holds (from Prime Minister to Senior Minister to the Minister Mentor) and whether the succession of his son as the Third Prime Minister implies the beginning of a dynasty. (Btw, Singapore has had three Prime Ministers in 39 years of her existence). A place where we are sure of our future like the birds in cages, but is that what we want? Are our voices shrieks of happiness or cries of missed opportunities?</p>
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<p><img class="avatar" src="/assets/divya.png" height=50> <a href="http://twitter.com/divya">Divya Manian</a> is a Web Developer in Seattle. <a href="/about.html">More about me ❭</a></p>
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