I would like to start off by wishing Singapore a happy 49th birthday! Yes, it’s her 49th birthday, almost 50 but no, not her 50th birthday yet.
On this very special day, most people will be feeling patriotic and watch NDP on the television or are at least excited by the prospects of seeing fireworks near the floating platform.
What about on an average day? Do Singaporeans really love their country or demonstrate this love? It is like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Do we only show how much we love our country on this one day?
As we watch the remixes of past NDP songs that arouse that sense of patriotism, I wonder how much Singaporeans love their country. We remember how Singapore used to be in the past, with each generation’s memories varying slightly. Our parents remember how food used to be cheap and they enjoyed balls of ice as kids. For us who grew up in the 90s, we remember playing games such as marbles, skipping rope, block catching, five stones and many more. Do our memories of Singapore contribute to how much we love her?
Growing up in Singapore , we have become familiar with her, the transport system, the way of ordering food in hawker centers, the availability of wi-fi. This is a place where we will find comfort in, where our family resides in. Is this why we love her? A sense of belonging?
People say that we should be proud of her achievements. From a fishing port in the past, Singapore has climbed up the ladder and is now recognized internationally for many things and one of that is our airport. Foreigners remember our country for her cleanliness, her strict laws and high cost of living.
Singaporeans are very fast at defending Singapore and Singaporeans. Ever seen how fast we respond to defend our NSmen when they were stomped for sitting on the seats in MRTs?
We are also fast to condemn foreigners and some say we are xenophobic. We complain a lot and words such as ‘kiasu’ and ‘kiasi’ are very apt in describing us.
We can find countless number of reasons that we aren’t happy with Singapore. With a low local population and high influx of foreigners, we complain that it is difficult to find jobs and with every generation of kids, their tests and exams become so much more difficult that parents have to send them for tuition. The high cost of living and the poor work-life balance are things we struggle to deal with, as our men have to find the time to stay fit.
As much as Singaporeans complain about almost everything, there are also Singaporeans who are thankful for what Singapore has become. Compared to other countries, she is a safe country, one that provides education to those who are deserving and we can easily identify with each other using Singlish.
It all depends on our perspective, which side of the coin we prefer to look at. Singapore is not the perfect country but it is where we grew up and there will be no other place that we will feel as attached to.
There are Singaporeans out there who show their love for the country through their participation in NDP, their remixes of previous NDP songs, the initiatives they take to make the country a better place like The Gentlemen Movement.
What about you? Do you as a Singaporean love your country? Share with us why.
Featured image from http://sliceofcake.deviantart.com
Writer: Samuel Low