It was… interesting talking to a few local Turks and hearing their loathing of their country.

Right of the bat, they all started off by saying, ”I’m Turkish, unfortunately…” Then, they proceeded to explain what they were doing at an expat social gathering (”I’m trying to improve my English” or ”I hate socializing with Turkish people and only want to meet foreigners,”).

And when there was a lull in the conversation, a common question seemed to be: ”So what do you think are the worse things about Istanbul/Turkey?” The conversations then all went along the lines of how they were trying to immigrate to greener pastures without much success, how the government was screwing everything up, and how much they couldn’t stand staying here.

It’s not that I’m completely oblivious about the issues and problems here, but that much disdain struck a chord with me. Do I sound like that when I’m talking about Singapore!? I sincerely hope not–though I have been overly critical and dismissive whenever I discuss Singapore back home. But never with outsiders, and certainly never that overtly.

Most of those who know me are aware I’ve been dissatisfied and wanted to leave Singapore. But in my defence, those people I commiserated with were all local Singaporeans. We shared the same woes–transportation breakdowns, rising costs, the ever-increasing number of immigrants, etc. We were all in this together.

I wasn’t much of a Singapore cheerleader but I don’t openly diss my country. I silently nod my head when someone says nice things about our fine city. I’ve even done my fair share of singing its praises these past few days to those who’re familiar with or curious about our success.

Obviously those individuals are most likely a minority here, and the nature of the event attracted those seeking something un-Turkish but it was still an eye-opener. I didn’t take in much from them last night, except to make sure I never become a bitter local telling anyone who’ll listen all the things that’s wrong with my country.