"Look yourself in the mirror and ask, am I a 'stayer' or a 'quitter'? Am I a fair-weather Singaporean or an all-weather Singaporean?"

    - 2002 National Day Rally Address by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong"

    I am a quitter.

    I am a quitter like my grandfather before me, who abandoned his wife, family and the political and economic storm of China in search of a fuller life.

    I am a quitter because I envy China-born talent and Indian-born and British-born talent who have found a sanctuary for their lives and escaped the gravity of their origins.

    I am a quitter, having lived elsewhere and felt more at home in the quiet shiver of spring rain, the white chill of winter, than I ever have in our cloyed heat.

    I am a quitter because there are other places which have succoured my heart without asking for it in payment, and I have given it freely.

    I am a quitter because I do not know how to love the country of my birth in the prescribed fashion.

    I am a quitter because I watch the stopclock of my country tick down and no amount of shouting will make it cease.

    I am a quitter because they have paid for me to learn to speak and yet they do not listen.

    I am a quitter because rhetoric is stronger than reason, and formulas stronger than faith.

    I am a quitter because I have squandered my dreams on a country that does not need me beyond the produce of my limbs and loins and the neural tickings of a copy machine.

    I do not play badminton. I do not play golf.

    I am a quitter because Labour and Capital are different factors of production.

    I am a quitter because when I am elsewhere all I think of is the dread of returning.

    I am a quitter because I am not indigineous enough to truly belong here, or anywhere.

    I am a quitter because how could anyone possibly want to.

    I am a quitter because I cannot leave what I have left.

21 August 2002   09:04 hours
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