Singapore Vs Sweden Debate Continues
When a Swedish guy who lives in Singapore created videos extolling the virtues of Singapore and slamming his home country, many sat up and took notice. Read our story on how Singapore is better than Sweden.
But a Singaporean guy who has been living in Sweden for 5 years has a rejoinder to Stefan the Swede: Sweden is better than Singapore, he says in a lengthy article on his website.
However, just a cursory look at Mr Kai Teo’s website reveals the reason why Sweden is so great for him — he lives a lifestyle that can be politely described as “bohemian”.
Here’s a photo of him that can be found on his website:
As the saying goes: You can be weird in Singapore, but to be truly weird, live in Sweden.
Just kidding, we made that one up.
But really, Sweden may just be the place for those who do not conform to Singapore’s more judgmental and uptight way of life.
Is Sweden really better? Let’s do a quick comparison between the arguments of Mr Teo and Stefan:
Singapore’s OK (Stefan’s argument)
Sweden’s OK (Kai Teo’s argument)
|Housing||Housing is not cheap but is at least readily available.||The control of land leads to permanent shortage of units, denying people of their choice of where to live, as they are forced to take whatever they can get. However, housing is relatively more affordable, especially when considered relative to one’s wages.|
|Public Order/Safety||A lot more public order, as evidenced by the (almost) complete lack of graffiti. At least, people do not go out of the way to destroy property.||Sweden is not as safe as Singapore, but how safe you are depends on you. Basically, be street smart and you’ll be fine.|
|Taxes||Singapore has lower tax rates.||The higher tax rates are worth it if society in general believes in and works towards the concept of social responsibility. Essentially, he trusts that the money paid as tax would be used wisely, for the betterment of the people.|
|Transport||Transport is more orderly and the entire experience is safer. Private-hire car services make up for the occasional difficulty in securing a cab.||N.A.|
|Society||N.A.||There is more openness and equality. Diversity and the freedom of choice is celebrated, not judged or frowned upon. Examples include participation in demonstrations, having a non-mainstream sexual orientation, or even the simple choice of how to dress in public.|
|Environmental Friendliness||N.A.||There is more environmental awareness. It feels like everybody is making a real difference, according to Teo.|
|Cleanliness||N.A.||Not much dirtier than Singapore, and not dependent on cleaners.
Moreover, lack of laws to prevent littering makes for a less restrictive lifestyle. For example, eating on public transport is allowed.
It is apparent that Mr Teo is willing to trade Singapore’s slightly cleaner streets, safer and more efficient society for the freedom of expression and choice he gains in Sweden. That’s not to say we do not have these freedoms in Singapore — we do, but with restrictions, as the case of Amos Yee has repeatedly proven.
Even if you keep within the law, exercising certain freedoms may unfortunately make you the subject of Singaporeans’ scrutiny and judgement.
For someone who obviously deviates from the (narrow definition of) norm in Singapore, it’s not surprising that Mr Teo prefers the more open and accepting society of Sweden, where he says:
For the first time in my life, I’m able to wear nail polish if I think it’s pretty. I can put on lipstick if I like it. I can even wear a dress out if I feel like it.
Freedom To Do
Here are some things Mr Teo would probably like to have the freedom to do without being judged.
1. Pose Nude In The Snow
Admit it, majority of the Singapore population wouldn’t be open-minded enough to accept this way of exercising one’s freedom of choice.
Let’s just say if he posed for such a photo in Singapore, he confirm plus chop kena either Stomped, arrested or both. He would join the ranks of the nude in Singapore gang and his naked ass would be widely shared over social media.
2. Wear A Cosplay-like Outfit To The Supermarket
Given how some cosplayers get weird, judgemental stares from older aunties and uncles, an outfit like that would surely draw some flak at the neighbourhood FairPrice.
3. Pretend To Be A Skateshop Guru
Imagine this scene at your HDB void deck.
Yup, he posed as some mystical guru in front of a skateshop, complete with harem pants, face paint, beads, incense and pillows — and he quickly drew followers!
In the HDB void deck in Singapore, poor guy would have to endure a lot of side-stares, become the gossip of the town, and may even have to answer to the Town Council, who would say it’s a fire hazard and dismantle that setup in a heartbeat.
4. Confuse People Over Tinder
Though Mr Teo claims to be a man who’s interested in women, he sees fit to portray himself over dating app Tinder in this way:
We think he might actually appeal to people of all genders and sexual orientations in one way or another, actually.
Moral Of The Story
To sum everything up, the moral of the story is: To each his own.
Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with the way Mr Teo expresses himself. After all, he doesn’t seem to be hurting anybody — he would simply meet a lot of resistance in Singapore.
If you are like him and value having the freedom to do literally almost anything you want without getting too many stares, Sweden may be for you.
If not, you can stay on this safe but relatively boring Little Red Dot.
Featured Image from Buddha Mag