Singapore dream turned sour: How upgrading and a culture of getting ahead became corrosive

Instead of talking about upgrading one’s home, education and job, let’s focus on progressing together

Singapore is at a juncture when the internal contradictions of its hyper-competitive system are becoming apparent. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
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The culture of materialistic aspiration – that narrative about working hard in school, getting good grades so one can get a good job that opens the door to a good life – has come home to roost, and the results are not pretty.

After all, embedded in the idea of the so-called Singapore Dream is intense interpersonal competition. Be the top student in school. Outbid other buyers for that home or car. Be No. 1 in your job. Such notions are inbred in Singaporeans. 

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