This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) had a segment reliving past NDPs from the 60s and 70s. Watch it here! A behind-the-scenes programme revealed that some retired elderly veterans were invited to don their uniforms and march once again with the contingent. They did so with much gusto. Talk about authenticity indeed!
One of them shared a brief but powerful reflection. I will attempt to translate from the Mandarin.
“You know, I sang four national anthems. During World War II, I sang the Japanese anthem. When the colonials came back after the war, I sang the British anthem. Then when we became a part of Malaysia, it was ‘Negaraku’. And finally, in 1966, we got to sing our anthem. I hope Singaporeans will sing ‘Majulah Singapura’ forever.”
At this point, a wave of emotion overwhelmed him, and our aged warrior wept.
What a perspective on citizenship indeed! Singing the anthem every morning sometimes feels like a chore, a part of a not-entirely-useful identity building ritual. It is not until now that I begin to realise that having a National Anthem that I can call my own and sing with pride is a privilege – one won by the hard work of the Old Guard and the Pioneer Generation who [loved Singapore deeply and] dedicated their lives to building our home.
I share here the now famous video of how Singaporeans continued singing our anthem when the PA system broke down at a victory ceremony of the recent 2015 SEA Games.
Majulah Singapura – Onward Singapore!