Living in a gun-free country

Megan Tee
Megan Tee
Sep 3, 2019 · 3 min read
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Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

I live in a gun-free society. One where guns are banned and are at most used by the police, but it is very very rare to actually see it in Singapore. Also, I haven’t even seen a gun in real life.

What I do l know about guns are all from books, television, or my own research. In fact, my friend once commented that when a local TV show showed someone getting a gun, it didn’t make any sense because of how she was going to get it. The police or cross the straits in Malaysia where they are allowed.

The question wasn’t answered in the way that was satisfactory and became a logical loophole in the entire show itself. In which I only happened to know that Malaysia permits guns because I was researching it for a story idea.

I generally feel quite safe, and mass shootings remain a mere distant horror for me, something I read about, but it is unlikely to actually happen here.

But despite how much of it is a safe haven, there are still crimes committed in our country. With a rather grisly murder taking place near my neighborhood, around two years ago but it is only being prosecuted now. And I only learned about it through the news. Otherwise, I won’t really be any wiser.

However, despite the safety, I still have fear. It isn’t really about armed serial killers, because that itself is rather unlikely in Singapore. For me, that would actually be pandemics or terrorist attacks.

In Singapore, 7909 people live in the same kilometer. And if we were to have another outbreak, it is a fairly easy game to really overpower us. I grew up through two major outbreaks: SARS (2003) and H1N1 (2009). Not a wonder, and why even till now this remains the top of everything else. And yet for me, I also rather fear it.

Since it can spread quickly, as well as bring it out to other countries. Due to how we are also a global trading hub, with flights coming in and out. As well as how both pandemics were also brought in from other countries, as compared to being local.

I do fear it, and plagues have an excellent way of unnerving me even more than anything else. Because I think I know just how vulnerable I will be if it happens again.

Terrorist attacks, I fear them because it is the easiest to strike my nation at the core. As well as being a massive blow to our economy, as we are trusted and known for our safety. If we can’t, it will shake the confidence of many people.

But it isn’t entirely unfounded since we did have a close call once.

It was a scouter who came to Singapore around October 2001, which filmed Yishun MRT station for its ability to not only incite fear but because it was also the location where military servicemen were dropped off. The video is down below.

As such, I do fear it even as it is one which is subsided compared to pandemics because nowadays there isn’t any global terrorist group really taking the headlines, but if there was, this would be a fear which would resurface.

So, given Singapore’s entire history within the last 20 years, I do feel somewhat justified about my fears. Since the odds are still rather high, even with all sorts of interventions by the government to mitigate that. In the former, we weren’t nearly as lucky, and in the latter, we indeed were.

But we just have one less thing to worry about, and one less thing which can divide, or distract us. And instead, our focus is only on the things we honestly can’t control, which is diseases or extremists.

By the way, thank you Cheney Meaghan for giving me this great idea.


Personal essays by Megan Tee

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