happy 49th, Singapore

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for national day today, i attended evening mass at st joseph’s, where we sang the national anthem before the recessional. the organ accompaniment took it at near half-time, which made it statelier than im used to.

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im decked out in red and white, and am slightly disappointed to see that not more people are doing so. not in church, not on the bus, not in the streets. (i chided my dad too.) it is but a symbolic show of patriotism, yet i can’t help but think people simply do not care enough for this city-state. it annoys me when people complain about the lack of a tangible culture locally, frequently comparing us to what happens in other countries, and when events like these roll around, a simple donning of a red tee is met with nonchalance, or worse, derision. do they not see that culture is sustained by the people, not an elected government, though surely they do play an important role?

yesterday, at work, there was a meaningful sharing about how we could all play a part to make Singapore a better home. we were given little white or red slips of paper to write concrete actions that we’d take in order to do our part. the leader shared his, which was to give way on the roads, and allow people to cut his lane. another shared that she would greet neighbours in the elevators. i am choosing to smile at the driver of every bus i board, and to migrant workers i walk past too, instead of averting my eyes and treating them as invisible beings. I’ve been trying to do this for some time, but it still doesn’t come naturally for me (or for them, who usually take a while to register that someone acknowledged them. sigh.)

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(my niece at the national day parade preview some weeks back)

here’s to a better home for all of us as we approach the golden jubilee of nationhood. happy national day, Singapore!

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