When Singapore last played Japan in Saitama in the Group E World Cup qualifier in June, the match ended a 0-0 thanks to the insane saves of the Singapore goalkeeper. It is understandable that the Japanese were out for blood when they came to Singapore. And they avenged that perceived humiliation in emphatic style, winning 3-0 at Singapore’s National Stadium.
But that victory isn’t the only thing that made the news. What is more talked about is likely to be this video:
According to the reporter from Straits Times who filmed the video, it shows a young Japanese boy picking up litter at the National Stadium after the game. Of course, he wasn’t the only one picking up litter. From the video, we see at least one other lady picking up litter too.
A few questions come to mind. Is the boy picking up litter at the place where the Japanese spectators sat? Or where the Singaporean spectators sat? Did other Japanese spectators also pick up litter like the boy? What did the Singapore spectators do? Did they just leave?
I can’t find the answers to these questions online. But from what I know about the Japanese, there is a distinct possibility that the boy was picking up litter from the place where the Singaporean spectators sat. Because it is simply against the Japanese culture to leave litter behind.
In the comments on Facebook post by Straits Times, many people were praising the Japanese. They highlight that what this boy did is typical of what a Japanese would do. Many comments point out that this is the Japanese culture.
And so a young Japanese boy cared more about the cleanliness of Singapore’s National Stadium than Singaporeans. Yet we dare to be proud to proclaim that we are a clean city. No. We are not a clean city. We are a city full of cleaners, most of whom are from South Asia (i.e. Bangladesh and India), most of whom we look down upon. Are we not ashamed of ourselves?
And as if what the boy did isn’t sufficient to shame us, a Japanese commentator has to say this:
In contrast, we often rush to blow our own trumpets, patting ourselves on the back for the many “number one’s” that we have. But… as the well-known civil rights activist Albie Sachs said of Singapore, “Ah, you have everything, except a soul.”
How did we come to lose our soul? Very complicated question to answer. How do we get it back? Can be quite simple. Simple. But difficult. I suggest we start off by firing all the cleaners in our schools. Perhaps then our students will have a better chance of developing a greater sense of civic consciousness.
Will our educators dare to do something like that? Will our parents support such a move? I don’t know. I hope so.